Getting there!

It’s been a hectic week, last Monday, Marcela was able to get me a private appointment with the Vertigo Therapist I saw last year, for the following day, and also because there seem to be no appointments to see the Family Doctor, we by-passed him, and managed to get an appointment to see an Internist, that will be next Saturday, hopefully he can establish what is causing the pain between my shoulder blades, and if there is a connection between that and the vertigo. Later on it was confirmed that Pacho, Jorges brother, would be coming Tuesday, to refelt our roof, fortunately we already had the materials.

Tuesday came, and so did Pacho, along with a Labourer, and they wasted no time starting to strip the roof.

I left Marcela to supervise, and I went off for my vertigo appointment. In one way, that was disappointing, because try as she might, Yessika, could not induce the vertigo, on the other hand maybe it was a good sign, any way she gave me a series of exercises, and sent me on my way, with an appointment to return in a weeks time, which she said, if the exercises work, may be the last I need.

Back home, I was not amused to find that they were stripping the whole roof on day one, instead of doing it in three sections, as we had thought, they knew as well as we did, that every afternoon the rain arrived, and it rained most of the night, but he assured me that the old felt was watertight, we already knew it wasn’t!

Thankfully, I woke at 3am, as the storm arrived, and started checking the house, only to find rain coming in, in the kitchen, and in the guest bedroom, above the bunkbed, if I hadn’t got up, the mattress would have been soaked. As it was I had to wake Marcela to help place plastic bags and towells. We couldn’t get out to retrieve the buckets, because with no tiles, the rain was falling between the roof and the gutter, like a waterfall, we were trapped!

By morning the rain had stopped, and when Pacho arrived, looking somewhat sheepish, I let it be known, that I wasn’t happy.

The work took a while longer that anticipated, in the end it took four full days, and I had to go and buy more roofing tiles, which I knew would happen, as I had said I wanted all damaged tiles replaced, thank goodness we have the Toyota Prado, I was able to load them all in the back, it probably didn’t do much for the suspension, but it’s a good workhorse.

Hopefully, now we have a fully waterproof roof, and our worries are in the past. I’ve seen all the felt in situ, so know it is in complete strips and not patchwork. The end product was good workmanship, just a shame about the first glitch.

Yesterday, we spent cleaning, mopping, and moving everything to ensure dropped cement, cement dust and anything else was cleaned up, so nothing was damaged.

Today, is a glorious day, it almost feels like summer, I’m not counting my chickens, just yet!

I decided that I wanted to cut the grass, it’s the first time I have been able to do the work myself, since before my surgery in January, and it felt good. I am starting to get control over my own life again!

I think that just about brings me up to date, and since I’ve been called for lunch, that seems as good a place as any to call it a day.

The Good and the Bad!

It’s been a busy week, with more Medical appointments along the way.

On a bright note, my knee is now pain free, which is great, on a more worrying note, the pain in my hip, following the rough treatment by the knee Doc, continues, it certainly isn’t as bad as before the surgery, but the hip was pain free, prior to the knee nerve block, now I would score it as a permanent 3/10, I can live with it if I have to, but I rather not.

I had my pelvis X-rays yesterday, ready for my next hip revision in August (hopefully), it looks as if the metal pin in my hip has shifted, but it could just be the angle of the x-ray, I won’t worry about it until the Experts have evaluated it. Yes… You are given all your test results to lug around between Doctors, because their computer systems don’t speak to each other!

I have been trying to get an appointment to see my ‘family’ Doctor, in January 2021, I went to see him because I was suffering with vertigo, but at the same time consulted him regarding a seering pain I had between my shoulder blades, this came on after I tried to move my nearly built Bunkbeds on my own, we both came to the conclusion it was probably muscular and would resolve itself, which it seemed to do, with the odd flare up.

However, recently the pain between the shoulder blades has been excruciating, like a knife being thrust into my back, and then the last couple of days, I have been having minor episodes of vertigo again, you can’t help wondering if there is a connection, But every time Marcela phones, they say, no appointments available, I think that, because I pay extra for a rapid service, a complaint will be on the cards shortly.

On a brighter note, I have finished the installation of the balcony decking, I say installation, because I still have to clean it all off and varnish it, that again will take time, I am just contemplating whether to go ahead with that now, or wait until Jaime has taken out the window, and installed the door, in case damage is caused, and it could be, however carefully I cover it all up with sheets of MDF, and dust covers, at least then I could sand it down, and re-burn it… Yes, I think, I have just answered my own question, thanks for your help ha! ha!

Anyway, here are a series of photos of the installation:

I am pleased with how it’s turned out, although I say it myself, I was able to pull the warped boards straight with trailer straps, the biggest cost was in drill and screwdriver bits, attaching the deck to the metal frame, 50 boards, 8 screws per board, 400 screws, but it was worth it, although I’m not sure my knees would agree.

Today, I’m changing the bathroom door handles, the Carpenter who fitted them, used privacy lock handles with push button locks, which because the bath/shower rooms are only small, keep hitting on the wall, and self locking, so you are desparate for the loo, and can’t get in! yesterday I bought twist button locks, I looked this morning and the existing holes in the door need a very minor alteration, and the new ones will fit, but I’ll wait until Marcela has woken up before getting the drill out!

I’m not Sorry!

I came on to the site, and saw the last date of Posting, and immediately went to apologise…Again!!! and thought, no I’m fed up of apologising, it’s just been a hectic three weeks, with computer problems as well, I’m afraid the Blog took second place.

Firstly the Balcony, Oscar and his crew took a break over Easter returning the week after to finish erecting the frame and roof to the Balcony.

We were really happy with the work, and made sure Oscar was paid. Jaime appeared, and arranged to come back with someone else, to redirect the guttering, in the mean time we had no option but for the gutter water to run straight down the balcony roof, and hope it didnt back up to the house wall.

Two days later, Jaime came back, and we cornered him, we wanted to know exactly where we stand with him, and as a result it turns out that he has committed himself to one Client, and when he calls, Jaime runs, but he has said he will complete the balcony, his part is to open up the house wall, insert the new doors and make good afterwards, we are hesitant, because if he disappears mid job we are stuck, a hole into the house, and we cant go any where, but I think we have decided that we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, and just hope he doesn’t leave us in the lurch.

I have already decided that we are not relying on Jaime to re-felt the roof, that is just one step too far, and we have already contracted someone else to do that, when the weather is better, he has worked for us before, and is reliable…or he was!

The other job Jaime was supposed to be doing was laying the wooden decking on the balcony, but I decided I just didn’t trust him, so once all the wood was burned, in the same method as when I built the bunkbeds

It was then time to start installation,

After three mornings, I am half way, then medical necessities took over!

Last Thursday I had a double skin cancer biopsy, so that screwed the day up, as the appointment was late morning, then we had to take the sample over to the Laboratory on the other side of town, before going for a late lunch.

Marcela then received a call stating my Nerve block into the Knee joint would be 11am on Friday, that meant resting up for a week afterwards…

Marcela was due for an appoinment of her own at 1.30pm in the same Clinic, so it was working out well, until late Thursday the Clinic rang and changed Marcela’s appointment to 7am, normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but I couldn’t eat or drink anything until after my injection, so as we had to be up at 4am, it was going to be a long time until ‘breakfast’.

However, when we arrived at the Clinic, Marcela explained the issue, and they said they would see what they could do. Marcela went in for her appointment on time, and came out fifteen minutes later, immediately there was a call for me, and they said I was the only one to have arrived, so I was first up.

I went through, was prepped, and then as usual waited on a trolley, in the cold, for over an hour, at least they had bought some warmer blankets. I was then taken through to a new area for me, obviously they had learned that a minor process, didn’t need a full operating theatre, the Doctor arrived, I informed him that I had had the hip surgery and had a relatively new prosthesis, he went ahead, starting to inject in my upper leg, I stopped him, as I thought it was only into the knee joint, but he said he was doing both, and did the first injection.

He then told one of the male Nurses to flex my knee for the second, nothing gentle about it, the pain in my hip nearly made me cry. Then all was finished, and 9.15am I walked into the canteen for breakfast.

My worry now is the pain in my hip, is it temporary, or has he done permaent damage to what was a successful operation? with no hip pain in recent weeks, only time will tell.

Yesterday, we were invited to the Neighbour’s for lunch, they had invited the Mayor and his entourage, to be honest I wasn’t keen, but Marcela wanted to go, so we went, had our lunch, and waited, and waited, eventually the Mayor arrived, so we hung on for a chat, and then the skies started going black, so I came home, when the booze came out, the dogs were glad to see me, they could see us, but not being able to be with us was driving them nuts.

Shortly after I came home, the rain started, Marcela appeared, and then the heavens opened, I don’t think I have ever seen so much rain, and it wasn’t long before it was coming through the roof and through the window frames as well, we had four buckets as well as towels and the mop, it was horizontal, the roof might as well not have been on the balcony, all the timbers, those laid, and the pile waiting, were all soaked, I had to rescue my tool bag by hooking it with my walking stick, fishing out the elctric drill, and then tying the bag with the other tools onto the security window bars, with one of Marcela’s belts.

This morning we were up at 5.30am, because Marcela was going to her Mother’s for Mother’s Day, and coming back tomorrow, after the storms, we had no internet of cellphone signal, so I could see it being an interesting time ahead. I had promised I wouldn’t work up on the balcony whilst here alone, so decided that hedge trimming was OK, the sun was coming out, and I quite enjoyed it

Marcela wasn’t too happy when she saw another photo with the ladder in it, but as I said, I was only on the second rung.

8.30am the internet came back, so when I had finished, I packed up and headed into the Office. I mentioned, computer problems, well my ‘old’ desktop is five years old, which everyone tells me is ancient, despite it still having current sounding hardware, the versions were early and it was slowing down to the point that I was typing faster than it was appearing on the screen, which is slow!

I bought a new computer, but when it arrived, it wasn’t the one I had ordered so it went back, the latest one arrived this week, so I now have to get everything I need up and running. I emphasise, software I need, not the never ending additions I kept buying previously. So with two hard drives, a 250GB SSD for the Operating System and Program files, and a 1TB HDD for storage, I am hoping this one will last.

That I think, brings me up to date, hopefully I wont be so long before before posting again, in the mean time, stay safe!

Semana Santa / Easter

I think stressful is the current appropriate term to describe life here! We discovered a couple of weeks ago that to all intents and purposes Jaime has gone AWOL, apparently he has personal problems due to an addiction, it came as a big surprise to us.

He had worked his socks off for us when we moved in, as those of you who have been following the Blog will know. We never had any cause to criticise his work, any problems were resolved immediately, and I was of the opinion that he and his family had become good friends. However having talked to those closer to him, it appears that in the past year he has developed a problem (not drugs), which is effecting both work and family life, on the few occasions we have seen him, he never showed any signs, but I know from experience that it can be hidden for short spells, and he did a good job of it.

Unfortunately this is effecting the work on our balcony, he hasn’t been to supervise or consult, and I have had to take over that work, but he still has a wad of our cash, which we handed over for materials, part being for an oak doors from the house to the balcony, we don’t even know if work on fabricating the door has started, or if the Carpinter even exists, because Jaime is doing his best to avoid us.

The timber for the deck and roof arrived earlier this week, and it’s atrocious quality, the deck boards I can rescue, we waited six weeks supposedly for the Company to dry the timber, it arrived soaking wet, when we contacted the Supplier they said it was preservative, that doesn’t alter the fact that it’s still wet.

I have decided that I am going to burn the deck boards, like I did for the bunkbeds, that way they will last longer, and save me having to sand each board, because they are rough, and you wouldn’t be able to walk out onto the deck as they are, without getting a foot full of splinters.

The timber bought to screw to the deck roof under the polycarbonate, for shade, are already twisted and split, and I don’t think there would be enough to fit to provide shade, if not, I will put them in my wood pile for other projects and buy a ‘Shade Sail’ like the one we have out on the patio. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.

Oscar and his team were here again last Saturday and Sunday, more welding, I think my electric bill is going to go through the roof! Most of the parts are now ready for assembly, hopefully tomorrow, whether they will finish their part I have no idea, we’ll see. They can only work Saturday, because Sunday, we are going to take my Mother-in-law home, and my Father-in-law to catch his bus back home to Caucasia.

Oscar is worried about getting paid, as he is contracted to Jaime, so I have said as I haven’t paid Jaime for any labour yet, if there is a problem I will pay him out of those funds. We are also worried, because we still need a door from the house to the balcony, it’s going in an existing window opening, that needs enlarging, but the thought of the wall being cut open, and then leaving us with an unsupported, insecure opening fills us with dread, I might have to look for another Contractor. I am already cutting the amount I am going to pay, because I am doing the deck work, and will also have to re-route the gutter pipes, because the balcony roof it blocking the original route, Jaime countermanded my instructions to the Welding Team on the matter, I didn’t find out until it was too late.

One good thing from last week-end, the Welders, gave me a hand, and lifted the concrete top back onto my Water filter housing, so thats done and completed

Now the filters will be easy to change, I don’t know why I didn’t take the time to do it right initially!

About a week ago, Marcela was walking the dogs, and came across a Team from one of the main Phone Companies putting up cables down our road…finally… at last, we will be able to have a landline phone, and decent internet, we have already signed up, the whole package also includes TV, but we are not interested in that. The thought of having 100Mb internet insteade of 6Mb is quite exciting, little things please little minds. It will be about another three weeks before the system is ready to connect us, in the mean time, we continue, as is!

Monday, I have an appointment with the Pain Specialist, hopefully she can come up with a solution even if temporary for my knee, so realistically other than tomorrow, if the weather allows, no more work here until Tuesday!

Ups and Downs…Again!

It’s been a weird couple of weeks, I went to see my Orthopaedic Surgeon , and she was happy with the progress I have made with my new hip, as we had been instructed by my Health Service Provider, we asked her if she would make a decision on my right knee, but as she explained she only had my last MRI to go on, and that was from last May, going off that, she stated that the knee wasn’t yet ready for surgery, but she would refer me back to the original Orthopaedic Surgeon, with a view, to probably having an injection directly into the knee joint. I freely admit, I came away utterly deflated, having thought everything would be resolved by year end.

Back home we immediately started the process to see Dr.Sanin, and received an appointment for June 2nd, which didn’t seem too far off at the time, but the following day, March 31st, my knee ruptured, I thought someone had driven a knife into it, fortunately I was in the bedroom at the time, and Marcela was nearby, between, TENS, icepacks, and heat, the pain subsided, but I couldn’t put any weight on my right knee, as a resulkt the zimmer frame had to come out of storage prematurely.

It was like going back to square one, all work stopped, and even when the pain subsided, and I was able to limp around, I had to do so with a stick, as I had no confidence in the knee, which has given way three or four times since. Marcela is trying to get me either an earlier appointment, or a cancellation, we’ll just have to see what happens.

Jaime made contact and last Saturday, his brother-in-law Oscar came with his men, and started cutting and welding the metalwork to start the balcony.

They then came back and worked a full day on Sunday, which wasn’t ideal as it was Marcela’s Birthday, and we were going out to lunch with her family, fortunately they were coming to Marinilla, and then back to the house, so we weren’t away long

The meal was lovely, and the Birthday Girl says she had a great day!

The workmen also got a lot done, the base is tacked together

They have also tacked together, what will be the roof frame, and are coming back next Saturday to hopefully finish the welding work.

My Mother-in-law stayed on after the Birthday Bash, and will be here until after Semana Santa / Easter, she is good company, especially for Marcela.

I decided that as a result of my knee problems, it was time to change the Water Filter housing

It was just too close to the ground, I had to kneel to remove the filters, and worse still, lie down to get them back on again. So I bought some matching blocks, removed the concrete top, along with the bits of block that made up the top layer, I then cut the new blocks to make up another three courses, and two days ago, built up the wall, leaving it to dry out naturally.

This morning, I bit the bullet, turned off the water, cut the pipes either side of the system, and raised it, inserting new pipe into the cut sections…So far so good, no leaks!

Now I can change the filters standing up, the only thing I haven’t been able to do, is lift the concrete lid back on, I will ask Jaime and one of the Welding Team when they come at the week-end, if they could give me a hand!

Day by day, my knee, is allowing me to do a little more, I am hoping that next week, if it doesn’t give way again, I will be able to start using my Brushcutter again, if not, I’ll have to ask Marcela’s business associate, if he can do it for me, paid of course, nothing is for free over here.

That just about brings me back up to date…I think!

Getting back to Normal!

To quote an old phrase, ‘Normal is, as normal does’, so I guess it will never be like the old normal! However I am certainly now getting more things done, more on my hip later.

Last week the first materials for the new Balcony arrived


That’s as far as we have got so far, not that we are complaining, we have been busy ourselves, and not been here. We have been informed that if we want dry timber for the flooring it will be six weeks (five now) until we have it, otherwise they can only supply green, which we don’t want.

We had to call Jaime out, as we have been having storms at night, resulting in rain pouring into the lounge, through the roof, so he came out and stripped part of the roof, to find yet again bad workmanship, they used roll ends, and second-hand roofing felt under the tiles, so he has done a temporary repair, I have asked Jaime to strip the roof and replace all the roofing felt, which he says will take two to three days, so another job on the list.

I had asked my Physiotherapist, if I could start exercises on our static bicycle, he took one look at it and said ‘No’, because the handlebars are too low, and risk me popping my hip. We have donated the static bike to my Mother-in-law who wanted one, and I have been looking for an old road bike, that we can also put on a stand, and use as a static bike. Again Jaime came up trumps, on both counts.

Unfortunately I still cant get on it as my hip hasn’t got the range of motion, but it will be used in the future.

Another thing that has been a constant problem here, is telephone service, Phone Companies have no interest in installing landlines outside towns, it isn’t financially worth their while, Cellphone service isn’t brilliant, unless you live alongside a tower, which we don’t! Marcela is lucky she got two to three bars in the kitchen, but I only got one, the neighbours have it even worse, they have to go in the garden to get a signal. I decided that it was time to do something about it, so I bought a signal booster kit, I installed an aerial outside, like a mini TV antenna, cabled it into the house, connected it to a booster and an indoor aerial fixed to the ceiling, and we now have five bar reception!



I’ve just got to tidy up the cabling.

We have had another visitor in the house, keeping the insects at bay

He was doing quite a of blending in, but unfortunately not good enough, Pepé found him, and he is no more!

I am trying to do as much exercise as possible, I have been working in the garden, up and down the ladder, cutting the boundary shrubbery, and also going on walks, until recently only two or three hundred metres in each direction, but I over stepped the mark a couple of days ago

It was lovely, unfortunately I kept going, I have arrowed the roof of our house

I struggled to get home, and got told off! I have done the same walk again since, but this time with Marcela and the dogs, and I will stretch it by a few metres each day.

Marcela had her first crop ofr the year, her Associate came and cleared the Avocados that were ready, Marcela was pleased with the result, which was 25% higher than the whole of last year

So hopefully that increase will continue.

That about brings me up to date, and the sad thing is I think it is also the last entry on this computer, it’s four years old, and appears to have come to the end of it’s life, I have to keep pausing every ten words for it to catch up. So my next investment will be another Desk top, but this time not an AIO. In the mean time I will use the new Laptop I bought prior to my surgery!

Normality?

Normality, or whatever comes close to that, I am finally getting there, I have started to catch up on all those niggly jobs that have been piling up, whilkst I have been out of action, and a few more besides. I have tol watch how I move, sit and climb, but in the main they are all doable!

Our furry friends have not given up, one gave Marcela a fright the other evenikng, she went to the bin, and there was a possum walking across our patio polycarbonate roof, I found out last week that these animals are protected by law, I’m not sure why, and when I mentioned it to my neighbour, he couldn’t understand it either, as he said everyone around here dispatches them. Suffice it to say, not only have I ordered electric fencing, but also laid bait for the ‘Rats’ in the area!

The other day, I was resiting one of my solar lights, when I had a good view across my solar panels, the possums have been using them as their toilet!

Disgusting creatures, must be the warmth from the panels, so this morning whilst Marcela held the ladder, I cleaned them off with a broom and the hosepipe.

Unfortunately I then noticed that the solar panel we had crazing on, has also changed shape, whether it’s still working at full capacity is beyond me, but it certainly isn’t right (the panel at the top of the above picture).

We have been taking advice from other Solar Companies in the area, and it appears that NATAM Colombia, the company who installed the system, doesn’t exist, it’s a bogus Company, which is still advertising, the advise we were given was rubbish, the system installed will never save us money, because it will always draw current from the Grid, but on the good side, as long as it works, it will fulfill the reason we had it installed in the first placed, it will supply us with electric when there is a power cut.

We were also informed, that we could never get the system legalised by the Public Service Company, because they don’t recognise the invertor that was installed, so there is no point continuing that route, it just means that unused power will not go back out into the Grid. We have three options, stay as we are, as I say that will give us power, when there is a powercut, to all except the showers, which had to bypass the solar system because of the power needed, secondly, replace the invertor with one with a bigger capacity, and have the system legalised, or thirdly, replace the invertor, add panels and batteries and go totally off-grid. We have decided that we don’t want to spend any more, so will stay as we are for now, although we might have to replace the damaged panel at some point.

Another problem we had encountered was that because we are an all cold water system here, with the exception of the electric showers, when things are washed, such as pillow cases, they are clean, but leave the grease marks from hair, so after a bit if internet research, I have my own hand powered washing machine.

It works on the principle of the old dolly system, I bought a toilet plunger (yes, a new one!) and drilled holes around it, I also bought a 5 gallon bucket with lid, and drilled a central hole for the plunger handle.

You fill the bucket with cold water, add Aerial washing liquid, which is stronger than our normal soap, also colour restorer, which is the same as Vanish under a different name, them hand plunge the material for a few minutes, leave it soaking for 10-20 minutes, plunge again, then put in the washing machine with the rest of the wash, hey bingo! it comes out clean!

Yesterday, we had a new car alarm system fitted, I think the current system has been there since new in 2008, and the remotes were giving up the ghost. The Lad came to the house to fit it, and did a great job, now we just have to remeber not to leave the keys in the car and shut the door, because it self locks after 20 seconds, I wonder which of us will be the first to be locked out!

We have also made a decision to have some more work done by Jaime, we are having a balcony built on to the back of the house, which will give us 10m2, it will be accessed from the Dining Room, and when the sun goes off the covered patio, we will be able to sit for another hour or two, and have the benefit of the views down the valley. We’ll confirm it tomorrow, but I think work is starting next week!

Again, that just about brings us up to date, now we will have to see what else I can find to do.

Getting There!

Without trying to sound big-headed, I am pretty pleased with myself, I am not yet five weeks after my hip surgery, and I have gone from the zimmer frame, to a walking stick and for the last week, no stick, as long as I am on a flat surface.

I have made a point of doing my exercises daily, and they have changed every two or three days, depending on my virtual Physio appointment. I have had a total of ten Physio sessions, eight virtual, and two face to face at the house. I had my last session yesterday, and that comprised of, telling me what I can, and can’t do until I see the Surgeon again at the end of March.

I can now bend, as long as I extend my operated hip behind me, I can sit in lower seats, as long as I do it in a certain manner. I can climb ladders and steps, as long as I ensure they are secured, but I do that anyway… well, most of the time! Surprisingly, I can use my Brushcutter, because I swing that side to side, I thought that would be a no,no, but apparently not.

Some things, like having to get on the floor to change my house water filters, I can do, it is going to take a lot more time to get down, and back up again, he showed me how to get down, and to have someone to help me, but it is doable, so that’s a job for this week sometime.

Hopefully this week, I will be able to drive again, but I will have to see how putting pressure on my operated leg, goes, when managing the pedals. Once that’s OK, I have to make an appointment to go for my Driving Licence Medical, it expires in May, after ten years, and because I am over 60, it now only lasts five years, until I am 80, then yearly. However I was talking with Marcela, we both agree that depending on my health, I will either hang up my keys at 74, or 79 years, I am not someone who thinks I have to keep driving until I drop dead, I rather bow out with a relatively clean driving record, than cause an accident, and believe it or not, Marcela isn’t a bad driver…for a Colombian, ha! ha!. I have already decided that this time, I am not applying to renew my motorcycle licence, I will not ride again, and risk my prosthetic hip.

I am over the moon at all the things, albeit small in nature, that I am now able to do again, because, that reduces the list of things Marcela has to do. I thought she would be happy about it, but initially she wasnt. I think she felt she was showing her worth, not that she needs to do that, I couldn’t manage without her, new hip or not, she is, and has always been my rock! As I reminded her, if I have a knee done later this year, she needs to make the most of the time, as this will all start again!

Our problem with Possums is starting again, I had erected temporary floodlights, which we switched on at night, and off in the morning, and that kept them off the house roof, but in a bid to cut costs, I bought some more solar security lamps, unfortunately they are not as powerful, and only stay on for 20 seconds, then reset, I think the possums worked this out, as a result they are back, waking us, and the dogs at 3am, running around on the roof.
This morning I had had enough, I went out at 3am, when they arrived, lit him or her up on the roof, and fired a shot from my pistol into the air, and it bolted… into the gutter, which as I suspected, they are using to get around the house. Nothing more was heard from them overnight.

This morning, I have removed the solar lights, and hardwired one of the ‘temporary’ floodlights into our patio light circuit, it means those lights have to stay on overnight, but it’s added security, so I’m not bothered, and the roof will be well lit nightly…job done!

Now to go and see what other jobs I can find to do.

Phase Two

To be honest unless you want to know what exercises I have been doing there is not a lot to tell. I have been making steady progress, the exercises change every two or three days, when I have contact with the Physio.

I went to see the Surgeon on the 4th, and she was pleased with progress, all being well I should be able to drive in another couple of weeks. I was given the disk with the X-ray of my implant, she has done an excellent job.

I had my first outing last week, we went to our favourite Shopping Mall in Rionegro, intentionally because it’s all on the flat, and there is a lift between floors. I walked for a while, then Marcela went to Customer Services, and borrowed a wheelchair for the rest of the the ‘tour’ it was just nice to get out!

I am now on a walking stick, and think that is the best I will get for now, my Physio asked to see my MRI on my knees, I sent him a copy, and he showed them to another Surgeon, who confirmed that they are both shot, and if I want quality life, they will both have to be replaced, one after the other, I did ask if there was the possibility of a double replacement, but was told, only if I wanted to spend months in Hospital, which I dont, so it looks like another eighteen months before I become the ‘Bionic Man’!

It’s nice to be able to shower, without worrying about getting the dressing wet, the last on came off last week, the scar is about 7-8″ long, I wont show the photo, it doesn’t exactly look beautiful, but the Surgeon did a tidy job.

The Physio, Sebastian, has provided me with a TENS machine, which I have bought off him, not for the hip, which is more or less pain free now, but for my knees, whilst doing the hip exercises, and its doing a great job, the inflammation of my knee has gone down, I have had my own machines in the past, I haven’t a clue where they disappeared, I probably lost them in divorce custody battles!

Changing the subject, we have more possum problems, Jaime came out, with a couple of Labourers to move my wood pile from alongside the workshop, down to the store in the orchard, but there was no sign of possums, after the last one I dispatched. That night we, and Pepe heard them on the roof running around, not something we want, albeit, thanks to Jaime’s work, they are now on top of the house tiles, but living under my workshop roof tiles, and running between buildings, so my first job was to set up the wildlife camera.

Within 30 seconds of me uploading the video to Facebook, Jaime was on the phone to Marcela, suggesting that he install and electric barrier around my workshop roof, as we all think, they are climbing the perimeter metal fencing and using the elctric and camera cables to cross to my workshop roof.


I say ‘they’ because my sharp eyed Mother-in-law noticed in the last clip of the video, as the Possum passed, there were a pair of eyes from another in the background, and they are not small.

We have asked Jaime to arrange it when he has time. In the meantime I have installed temporary spotlights to illuminate the house roof from dusk until dawn, I haven’t got any spare solar lights with movement sensors, so we plug them in before going to bed and unplug in the morning, and so far, no more possums at night, but we suspect they are keeping to the workshop roof, because Pepe is still showing a great interest in the workshop area.

Today we say good-bye to my Mother-in law, Maria Elena, she has been with us since before my surgery, to take the workload off Marcela, and she has been a godsend, bless her, but she has her own commitments, so for now she is returning home, with our thanks. Fortunately I can now do a lot more for myself, so hopefully Marcela will accept that, and let me take the pressure off her shoulders.

Another benefit of the last month is that, Maria Elena and I have got on great, and if as we suspect the time will come that she can no longer live alone, the Apartment / Cabaña is hers, if she so chooses!

I think that brings me back up to date, so other than a catastrophic mishap, Hip recovery is exceeding expectations.

Phase one completed!

Monday came, after another message from the Clinic, we were up at 3am, arriving at 5.15am for a 6.30 start.

It’s certainly a different process to what I was used to in the UK, you are not assigned a room until after your surgery, I presume in case you don’t make it, and they end up cleaning the room unnecessarily!

We waited in the waiting room until called to a changing room, where I had to strip off, Marcela took my clothes, given an operating gown, and I was taken through another door onto a mobile bed, then wheeled away to the operating queue. Like in all Clinics, it was freezing, so they gave me an extra blanket.

I was then taken to the operating theatre, which although clean, was not as sterile as those in the UK.

I was transferred onto the operating table, where I received the anaesthetic in my spinal column. A team of ten entered, and I was picked up like a baby, placed in the position required, screened from the surgery site, and they got going. It was like listening to work on a construction site, as they drilled, hammered and chiselled. Eventually it was done, and I was taken to Recovery.

Slowly, I regained movement first in my toes, then, slowly throughout my body, after which I was taken up to my room No. 720, where Marcela was waiting, she has been sent there about 15 minutes earlier.

I’m no good at Selfies, I guarantee that is my thumb!

The room was more than adequate, there was obviously my bed, a large sofa for Marcela, and with the sleeping bag we had taken, she said it was fine

There was also an ensuite bathroom, and a flat screen TV, fortunately we had our smart phones, as someone had swiped the TV remote!

The food was great for hospital food, we weren’t sure that food would be provided, so Marcela had nipped out and bought some, but even though they insist on a Carer or Family member with every patient 24/7, they don’t even give the Carer a cup of tea, so we shared what we had, and it was fine, each patient was given three courses at each meal, so there was plenty to go around.

By late afternoon, my smile had disappeared, along with most of the drugs in my body, the operated leg, I couldn’t move, and the pain level was climbing rapidly, so they started plying me with intravenous pain killers.

I dont think either of us got much sleep that night, early the next day the Surgeon arrived, she said she had viewed the X-rays taken when I was in recovery, and she was happy with the result, the Physio would be by later to give me the exercises, then I would receive my discharge papers, and prescription for Meds.

As promised the Physio arrived, by which time I had had a shower and dressed, ready for the Ambulance.

After which, I was discharged, when the Ambulance arrived, I was loaded up, they waited for Marcela to get the car from the car park, then I had the most horrendous journey home, honestly I would have been better in the car! I was thrown all over the place, which increased the pain in my hip, and I felt more than a little nauseas.

Back home, we got organised, or rather, I did as I was told, and Marcela gave the orders, with the assistance of her Mother.

I say that in the nicest way, because I know I couldn’t manage without her, I have just made sure, I have done more than the quota of exercises, and keep getting up to walk around. Marcela has been an absolute Angel.

Now it’s a case of just keep repeating the exercise regime, until I see the Surgeon again on February 4th. The only deviation, is that we have decided not to use the provided Physiotherapy provided by the Health Provider, I have not had good experiences with them in the past, I am going to pay one of the Clinic Physios for private treatment, some at the house, others by video calls.

Unless something extraordinary happens, I won’t post now until I’ve seen the Surgeon, as there should be nothing to write about!