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Author Topic: I'm taking a forced break from my bus and the forum for a little while  (Read 4036 times)
Paladin
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« on: May 13, 2011, 10:29:29 AM »

Sadly I won't be working on my bus this summer and won't even be able to lurk on here anymore for at least a little while. I'm going in on Monday for a long over due fusion of my L4-L5-S1. Doc says I just can't wait any longer unless I want the nerve damage to be permanent.

I know others here must have had this, what should I expect?

So long everyone.....for a little while at least.  
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2011, 11:04:26 AM »

Pain, I am sad to say.  You are correct that pushing a key would be too much.  Take all your pain meds and ask for more if need be but get AWAY from that stuff as soon as humanly possible.  They have a whole host of really bad side affects that you want to avoid.  All this is common advice.  Grit your teeth and do what you are told in PT.  You will be fine and those nerves that die never come back.  I lost 40% of the muscles in my right arm and I could not push myself to a sitting position if I woke up on my right side.  Rolled over to my left.....the weaker side, you know.  Weighed 185 at 6' and was in good shape.

I think you will come out just fine and better than before.  And, if I can be optomistic....anybody can.

Good luck Paladin....you will be missed and thought of often.  Prayers are in the mail as we speak.

John
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2011, 12:09:03 PM »

Good Luck...Hurry back...Cable
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Sofar Sogood
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2011, 04:01:08 PM »

A speedy recovery Wink All the best to you Wink Good Luck!
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 05:01:27 PM »

Don has had two spine surgeries.  Fused five vertebrae in his neck and then three in his lower back. Take your pain meds.  He tried to tuff it out.  This is a mistake.  He still has pain.  The doctor he has now explained why.  When you overload the pain receptors,  you grow more.  Then you have even more pain.  Every minor thing is then translated as pain.  Control the pain as much as possible and you will be better off later.  You might also ask for a prescription of Lidoderm patches.  They are non narcotic, you use them with your pain meds and they work really well on the spine.  It's the same stuff the dentist uses on your gums before giving you the shot.  I don't know why doctors don't think about them,  we heard about them from a user also.  Good luck.

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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2011, 05:17:31 PM »

I had 3 fused in my neck. Spent the night in the hospital, went home the next day. Something I agreed to while on a morphine drip. I guess the insurance company was trying to save some bucks. The first week wasn't too bad, but the next several weeks were literally unbearable. That was due to no post-op care, and poor pain management. Could not eat enough tylenol/codeine to help. Probably came close to destroying my liver. The actual surgery worked though, and solved my problems.

So, good surgeon, good post-op care, and proper pain management, and you should do well.

Good luck.
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2011, 07:08:30 PM »

I have had back surgery on L4 and L5. I'm not sure how bad the fusion would be, mine was just herniated severely. Just take you meds and don't do anything until you are ready. You'll be back before you know it.
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2011, 09:10:32 PM »

You have some pretty good advice here.  FWIW, I am the nurse that wakes you up every few hours to see if you can still wiggle your toes.  Unfortunately, lami surgeries are all different.  Your post op experience will depend on how/what type damage has been done.  First off, you WILL have pain after surgery.  If the doc tells you different, you are being lied to.  Use analgesics  appropriately but understand that even with morphine, dilaudid, oxycotton/oxycodeine, etc you may still have pain.  Secondly, you may still have numbness and tingling that was there before surgery.  This may not go away.  Usually, the pain and numbness/tingling peak around 3 days post op and then decreases from there.  Don't lie in bed when you need to get up.  We try to get people up the night of surgery or the next morning.  Getting up may just be getting out of bed and pivoting to a bedside commode and a walk may just be to the bathroom.  It is just baby steps for the first few days.  Consider using analgesics prior to going to pt.  You will be more comfortable.  Finally, don't try to be a "tough guy" to the nurse/doc.  If you hurt tell someone.  If something changes in your ability to move or feel things tell someone.  It usually is not a bad surgery.  Most of our lamis are in and out in about 3-5 days.  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.
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Dennis Watson
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2011, 09:18:15 PM »

You guys are putting the "scare" into future surgery patients..   I have to get C4-5 6-7 fused.   Being a small business owner makes thing worse.   

I have constant numbness in my fingers, pain up the shoulder.    All the years being a wrestling coach and turning the wrench for a living  has trashed my neck > a high speed rearend crash doesn't help things..

This is a good thread..   My Doc told me that hes going to call the Sheriff to get me in!

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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2011, 09:38:38 PM »

I'm not trying to scare anyone.  I've just seen too many people that have been told they would be "pain free after surgery."  If you stop and think about it, a surgeon has had to cut through several layers of muscle just to access the area and then nerve tissue is manipulated, areas of stenosis are opened up, hardware is installed, maybe rods, screws, cages, etc.  Surgery is not what you see on TV, it is much more involved and often more physical.  Hopefully, your surgeon has suggested other approaches like therapy before actually cutting on you.   You shouldn't be afraid of surgery, those guys do it every day.  Ask questions.  Find out how long it will be before your return to normal.  If you are  not comfortable with your doc, find a different one.  Good luck.
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Dennis Watson
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2011, 09:46:23 PM »

Zero,

This is a good thread....especially for you.  All the guess work is gradually falling away.  Did you get the part about "whatever was numb before you had the surgery will stay that way forever."  If you are numb or tingling anywhere you have impinged nerves.  You are loosing the ability to function in some way....motor or sense.  Get in there and "get'er done".  You snooze, you loose.  As a business man you have to appreciate that being out for a specified time is a better deal than doing it when driven and needing even more time to recover.  Then there is the wait till paralysis solves the problem for you and you can never get back in tghe saddle.

Sound like I am preaching?  I am.  Remember I said I lost 40% in my right arm?  Well, that injury occurred while I was on travel to Nashua, NH.  Horrific pain....simply devastating.  Dr. Piper gave me pain m,eds and a neck stretcher and told me the pain would resolve in 3 days.  OOOOOh good you might say.  Wrong O Buckeroo.  That God forsaken creep wasn't telling me that the nerve would be dead and my symptoms of paralysis would be permanent and the pain would transition to numbness in most of my arm.  When I got back to SD I saw my Orthjo and he gave me the bad news.....after 72 hours of depression the nerves are irrevocably DEAD and your symptoms are permanent.  He also told me that the operation is a very very common one with almost zero danger and 99% full success.  Ever see a guy with a surgery scar on the center of the back of his neck and he had a raspy voice?  Vocal cords got nicked during surgery.  I might also suggest that you talk to the PT nurses and ask which DR. has the fastest recovery rate and fewest complications.  No matter what others say those PT types deal with the results and they KNOW better than anyone who is top dog.

Be well and be nice to you.

John
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Paladin
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2011, 09:50:30 PM »

Thanks for the info and words everyone. I've waited for a long longtime to do anything and possibly too long but we'll see what returns.
I began with the basic back aches. Took a two story fall back in '77 and compressed my spine. Two motorcycle accidents in '88 or '89 that were pretty bad. I don't recall the year...or several years before or after due to the head trauma so I only know it was '88 or '89. Aside from that I've had the same life as 99% of anyone else here, lifting lot's of steel, engines, working on cars and the bus.
The sciatica came in years ago beginning in the butt and then mid thigh and then several years ago one morning after working on the bus and lifting a lot of iron I woke to a numb foot. It slowly got better but came right back after any work.
Fast forward to last summer I suddenly got excruciating nerve pain and constant numbness but the neurologist I went to told me that I was fine. I went to several other docs since and they told me that I'm anything but fine. Meanwhile I began also getting the numbness and pain in the other leg.

Soo, here I am. I'm actually rather excited for the surgery or rather, the healing. I'm terrified of the days immediately following surgery. The pain, having to stay in the hospital etc.   I'm really looking forward to getting back to work and I know that some of the issues will linger. You just don't get 100% back and especially over 40. At this point though i know that I just can't put it off any longer without serious issues.

Thanks again everyone!
 
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 10:10:04 PM »

Dennis, Ed,  Thanks..   The first thing that I do when I wake up is grip my hand to gauge the numbness.   It is not 100% so I do have "hope"   

Ed you mention the rear surgical approach.   The path of entry for my surgery is thru the front.  I get the nice plate screwed in place along with the bone graph..   

Paladin,  I Thank you for the thread.   In '95 with the car accident I fractured L5..   It has healed, but I still have pain.   I'm sure that I'll be following you a few years down the road.
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2011, 04:51:22 AM »

Best wishes and prayers for fast recovery.  As others have said, don't try to tough it out without the pain killers.  I know several people (mostly men) that have done without or minimized the use of post op pain killers and in each case it put them through hell and recovery took longer than it should have.
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2011, 05:01:12 AM »

I think the ones around you will later tell you: You have a better attitude now!  I didn't realize how grumpy I was before when there was pain all the time. Was 5 ft10 at 20yrs old now 5ft 6 at 65 - all from loss of pads.Now- Pain free standing tall:according to Judy(the wife) in a better mood.  Look to the bright side----   Bob
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2011, 05:22:07 AM »

My dad had the L surgery about 20 years ago.  The change was miraculous.  A couple of day in the hospital and out.  And the quacks say that the procedures have improved since then.  You'll be fine, just take care of yourself.
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2011, 07:22:44 AM »


I began with the basic back aches. Took a two story fall back in '77 and compressed my spine. Two motorcycle accidents in '88 or '89 that were pretty bad. I don't recall the year... Aside from that I've had the same life as 99% of anyone else here, lifting lot's of steel, engines, working on cars and the bus.
The sciatica came in years ago beginning in the butt and then mid thigh and then several years ago one morning after working on the bus and lifting a lot of iron I woke to a numb foot. It slowly got better but came right back after any work.

  Oh you would have to say all of that, lol.

  I jumped off a 20 foot roof when I was 11 into what I thought was a snow bank, landed on my feet on blacktop, and fell over. Rest of your story reads like my life; iron, cars, engines, hours bent in half. I actually started getting sciatica when I was in my mid 20's. So at 52 yrs old, you can imagine what reading all this is making me feel.

  Fifteen years ago I got a crick in my back that brought tears to my eyes and made me a virtual cripple until it settled down and I ended up in PT. I dont stick at it like I should, but excercize, or should I say, the "right" excercize, actually changed my life. How long I can hold out is a matter for God, but for now im doing well.

  I hope its not to long till we see you posting again, and more Bus stories. Good luck.

 
 
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2011, 09:24:36 AM »

Im sending prayers for a speedy recovery so you can get on with your life and be free of pain!
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Paladin
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2011, 11:15:29 AM »

Well, to my amazement they allowed me to leave after only an overnight stay, said I was doing very very well. Pain is pretty serious at times but the meds help me keep that manageable until I do things like sit here and type.
I noticed immediately that I regained the lost sensation in my left foot and lower leg that was missing for the past three years so already in my book it's a success although I hope for even more.
I did however lose all sensation in my left thigh while my right thigh turned hyper sensitive to all sensations. The doc said that should smooth out over time and already it's back to about 70% normal.

Thanks again for the thoughts and words.  Be back as time permits.
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« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2011, 12:10:15 PM »

Congrats..That is good to hear..Keep up the good work...Cable
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« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2011, 02:20:40 PM »

A quick update if anyone cares.

I'm now roughly 3 months post op on a bi-level back fusion (L4-S1). It's been the roughest thing that I've ever undertaken in my life! There is no way that anyone can be properly prepared for a fusion in my opinion. I'm well over 500 Percocets now which means that I'll have to take more time tapering down to get off of them, something we're going to do soon.

I'm not real sure how successful the surgery has been yet. I still have lot's of pain, some of it old and some new but I think it's somewhat better. They say I'll need to be around a year out to know for sure.

The doc says that I don't need physical therapy since I'm well ahead of what I'd be doing there. He says I need to be hobbled instead. Foolishly I was out trying to change the brakes on my car a week out of surgery. I was working on my car hauling trailer and long story short ended up in the E.R because I triggered a pain cycle that the Percocet couldn't safely handle so I had to get two injections of Dilauded to break the cycle.
I've slowed way down since then but still have been doing more and more as I feel I'm able, just can't seem to sit or walk far yet. I've even gone back to working on the bus. I made up a bunch of wires for the battery array and began building a battery rack but had to take a break, it got too much for me and I got afraid of another E.R visit. I can only work in 1-2 hour sessions of relatively light work before I'm back down needing a rest.
They let me out of my back brace except for if and when I feel the need and I no longer need a cane to stand or walk unless it's very far to walk. I still spend most of my days on my back which drives me nuts. 

I bought an early MGB MK 1 as a project for my own physical therapy with the doctors blessing. I'll work on it slowly ramping up the work load as I heal further. The doc thinks bus work may be a little too much for me and dangerous for quite a while longer so the little car will keep me busy more safely. He knows I can't just sit, 3 months of bed rest is driving me nuts!!
I'm going to also work on the bus though as I'm able, smaller things that always need doing. I'd like to get out and take out the old roof escape hatch and patch over it as soon as I can though I'm not sure when that will be. Not sure I'm ready to get up on the roof yet.

Now that I can sit a little longer I'll start lurking here a little more too.

-Dave


P.S
I seem to recall a few people having had or currently having MGB's in here. If anyone is into them and wants to chat please feel free to message me. Always good to talk about other cars as well as bus.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 02:28:28 PM by Paladin » Logged

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« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2011, 05:27:54 PM »

Glad to hear the update Dave.  A lot of ups and downs there, but it is good that you are having days that you feel enough better that you are tempted to overdo it, and that you are progressing better than physical therapy could do.  Just be careful and do what you can to follow the doctor's orders.
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« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2011, 05:47:09 PM »

Glad to hear things are shaping up.  My wife has a completely fused spine with a Harrington rod - unlike the horror stories hers is doing her very well.  but six months lying on your back with a fully body cast at age 16 had to be a challenge of immense proportions...

I have a 1979 MGB Limited Edition, and a 1961 MG Midget, earliest surviving LH drive Midget.  Built in the month before production officially started.  I know some about MGB's but it's been 20 years since I restored it, probably forget more than I know by know!

Brian
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« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2011, 10:50:11 PM »

Uncle Ned has a bunch of MG's !
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2011, 11:03:38 PM »

  Dont know how much you can handle, but walking is actually one of the best things you can do for your back, much much better than bending over working on silly mechanical things.

  I had an MGB-GT when I was 17, and 36 years later I want another one, though a straight roadster this time around. For all the complaints some have about them, it was actually one of the most reliable cars ive owned once I sorted out the booger work other ham fists had created. Or a Spitfire. I never had a Spitfire but they always looked fun too.
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Paladin
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« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2011, 12:55:38 AM »

Thanks for the comments everyone! Yep, increasing my walking is on the agenda and in fact began again tonight. The bears (my dogs) really need to get out too after hanging out with me while I've been down. It's also the hardest though, walking very far but very important. Just gotta go in stages and work into it.


I've owned two MG's in the past, a '76 and a '77, both were owned at the same time. It was nice to walk out in the morning and just pick which color I felt like driving that day.
My new one is a '67 MK I steel bumper, I've always wanted a steel bumper and have been wanting another 'B' for a long time now. Once you own one they just seem to get into your blood. This one is still setup from the factory for dual 6 volt battery positive ground system but I'm changing that.

For all of the whining that everyone has done over the years I've found that with proper maintenance the cars were quite reliable, mine were daily drivers and I never once got stranded anywhere though my '76 could overheat some in the summer. I'd drive anywhere and any time with total faith.
There is the crack of doom on the later 'B's and various other issues common to MG but they are really great cars. The sills are always bad so it's a given that they need to be replaced now. I never even had issues with dual carbs. I did have a bad ring gear that caused me to sell the '77 which my favorite and I've always regretted that but swore someday another MG and this time a steel bumper car.

I knew the owner of an import parts store and have heard of a few cars that just plain had bad factory wiring issues, everyone blames Lucas but I personally thought it was more of an issue at the plant and poor workmanship on some cars. Maybe common to one plant?? 90% of the rest seems to always go back to not maintaining the car properly.

I've heard and seen that Triumphs were VERY rust prone due to poor water drainage ports etc. I once heard of one literally breaking in half just behind the seats while sitting at a red light. Supposedly a guy that I knew also knew the owner but I never believed that story. I also heard that the Lucas wiring in the Triumphs were even worse than the MG's though I also doubt that. Lucas was Lucas and the car made no difference.
My biggest problems were people always getting closer to the car than I cared for. I once had a guy steal all the knobs off the stereo of my Fiat Spyder.  In my '68 Firebird 'vert I put one of those motion sensor thingies the add to the alarm system which went off and paged me if anyone reached into the car. I plan on one for the MG and might put one of them in the bus aimed at the door area. Dunno, maybe a lame idea.

The Fiat Spyders by the way were very advanced for the class of car and years made. Dual overhead cam, 5 speed (if memory serves), very adjustable seats, intermittent wipers, wood trim dash, I think mine had air conditioning too though it didn't work and I didn't need it in a 'vert and at my young age. With dual Webers mine was pretty zippy for being what it was. I just never liked the look as much as the MG.  

Anyway, I look forward to working on this new project as well as the bus - finances allowing and hope to be zipping around next season with new paint, parts etc. I may even add the aftermarket air conditioning kit someday after the bus is further along since I'll likely keep this car for a very long time this time.

Hey, maybe the 'B' would make a decent toad?? This new one came with a tow bar attached.

Photo attached is of my old '77. Dual carbs, roll bar and a non factory paint job by me (I did the '76 totally factory):


« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 01:19:00 AM by Paladin » Logged

'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2011, 01:11:30 AM »

Mods, feel free to move this to off topic if it continues along the car thread too long.  Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2011, 06:22:08 AM »

Had a 59 Bugeye Sprite for the wife back in the mic 80's. Then a 79 or 80 MGB, then a 81 Alfa Romao Spyder, then a 79 TR6. For the last 16 years or so i have had a 62 TR4 with a 289 and C4 out of a 67 mustang. Only get to play with it in the winter as it is now in storage in Yuma. Grin
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« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2011, 06:43:11 AM »

Glad you are doing good I have dodged that for years but thought last month I might have to go forward with it but got lucky and the the chiropractor got me up and going again don't know for how long.
I looked at my age vs the surgery and the age won out lol I do my walking every morning and roll around on the dumb rubber ball so far so good 

good luck
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« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2011, 08:55:20 AM »

Hang in there, it will get better as time moves along!

I've had a '60 Bugeyed Sprite and a Spitfire. Both a lot of fun, but the Bugeye was my favorite. Lucas, "Prince of Darkness" was used a lot back then. Never really had to many problems, just never went out at night!  Roll Eyes

Donald Healey rode with me once and told me to get a bigger car, then winked. That was his favorite creation.
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Becky and Paul Lawry, On The Road
Travel Blog - http://dreamscapetravels.wordpress.com/
Bus Blog - http://dreamscapesilvereagle.wordpress.com/
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Our coach was originally owned by the Dixie Echoes.
luvrbus
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« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2011, 09:10:20 AM »

Sonja has a Spitfire she has had for years 63,000 total miles and the thing cost a fortune to keep up for the 63,000 miles lol.
Now to the back I am surprised you still are having pain the way they described it to me the pain would be gone instantly I thought in the back of my mind hey this guy is not telling me the truth


good luck
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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2011, 09:13:03 AM »

Congrats on the successful surgery and welcome back.  It sounds like you are doing very well.  Unfortunately, pain (and sometimes lots of it) is a normal part of spinal surgery.  Everything is "baby steps" for you.  You  need to walk as this helps to strengthen your back muscles.  No one expects you to walk 5 miles.  You can do you distances in short segments (remember baby steps right?) several times daily.  Keep up the good work.
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Dennis Watson
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1966 MCI MC5A
8V71
Spicer 4 Speed Manual
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Dave Knight
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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2011, 12:17:57 PM »

Sort of funny story: I began walking up and down the street the first week. I got cocky and thought I could handle more than I could and decided to go all the way around the block.

Well, I had my bumblebee suit on (back brace resembles a bumblebee suit) and my cane and had a little meds in me though not much. I wanted to make sure I could walk. Well, I got just about exactly halfway which makes it the middle of the next block when the spasms and pain kicked in. I realized I had left my phone at home so I couldn't call for help, I was about to call a cab! I just put one foot in front of the other staring straight ahead until I finally was back in my bed.....in agony. I walk still but I'm actually still afraid to walk that far alone though it should be a piece of cake now. I still have fits of pain sometimes. I walk laps on my own block now so if something happens and I'm found face down in the sidewalk my neighbors know which house to drag my carcass back to. They actually watch out for me when they see me and cheer me on now.

Yup, baby steps and I'm always pushing it. I need to realize that 3 mos out isn't all that long.


Congrats on the successful surgery and welcome back.  It sounds like you are doing very well.  Unfortunately, pain (and sometimes lots of it) is a normal part of spinal surgery.  Everything is "baby steps" for you.  You  need to walk as this helps to strengthen your back muscles.  No one expects you to walk 5 miles.  You can do you distances in short segments (remember baby steps right?) several times daily.  Keep up the good work.
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2011, 12:19:47 PM »

Jeez Ed, you think you got enough power for a TR4? I'd love to see that beast!


Had a 59 Bugeye Sprite for the wife back in the mic 80's. Then a 79 or 80 MGB, then a 81 Alfa Romao Spyder, then a 79 TR6. For the last 16 years or so i have had a 62 TR4 with a 289 and C4 out of a 67 mustang. Only get to play with it in the winter as it is now in storage in Yuma. Grin
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'75 MC-8   'Event Horizon'
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Salt Lake City, Utah

"Have bus will travel read the card of the man, a Knight without armor in a savage land...."
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« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2011, 01:52:27 PM »

  A 77 Jag XJS came in after an engine fire due to fuel leaks after some bone head replaced all the fuel lines under the hood. Cooked the hood, burned all the wiring back to the firewall, cooked the solder out of the radiator and buckled the front fenders. Should have been totaled. 

  Thankfully all the dummy mechanics were gutting Jag V-12's they didnt know how to fix, and swapping in crude Chevy mills. So a used motor with a harness was cheap, couple hundred bucks IIRC. a month later I had all that evil prince of darkness electrical working, the car was painted, had another motor and radiator in it, and drove it out of the shop. Ran like new.

  The Lucas stuff isnt junk so much as too many morons that call themselves mechanics and blame the machine instead of their ability. Kind of like a lot of the guys working on Buses by the looks of it. Ferrari's too, by the way. You almost dont want anyone to work on one of those.
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« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2011, 09:40:23 PM »

 Dave, i met a guy a couple of years ago that has a 64 TR4 and races it. I think that he said that he had a 383 stoker motor in it? Said he was thinking about moving up into the next class but he would have to put a wing on the back and if he did that everyone on the street would know that he was no longer a stock TR. Of course if you were looking close enough his dual tail pipes would give it away. Most people don't notice mine either Smiley  He did extensive mods to get the car to where it is, said he had about $100,000 in it. When i first saw the car before i found him to talk to, i could tell that he had done some things to the body, but they were very subtle. Once he told me what he had done and showed me a few things it was more obvious.  I think that the most i would ever do to mine would maybe be a 351 Windsor. Grin
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1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission.  Western USA
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