Caveat: Less Uncivilized Than You’d Think

Arthur’s recovery continues. He is still struggling with ongoing vertigo.

After getting things sorted out with the VA (since what we are doing is “out of network” with respect to the VA), we made and went to a follow-up appointment at the Alicia Roberts Clinic in Klawock, where we’d gone for the emergency room visit on Saturday.

We saw an actual doctor. It turns out that the clinic has a brand new CT Scanner, recently arrived on the island. That’s significant – it changed what would have been a med-evac to Ketchikan into a 20 minute jaunt down the hallway. I was impressed with the level of medical technology present at this small clinic out in the woods on an isolated island. Of course it’s often said, there is nothing technically wrong with healthcare in the US – the problems lie in the administration and distribution of it.

So the doctor got to look at Art’s brain. No evidence of bleeding (i.e. stroke). But it doesn’t completely rule things out, either. Anyway, it’s something in the arsenal of diagnostic materials available.

This is Art’s brain.

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We got a renewal on prescriptions. There are anti-nausea meds (critically necessary and evidently working well) and anti-vertigo meds (maybe not even actually working).

Arthur is eating well enough, and is definitely improving in terms of balance, compared to Friday/Saturday, even though he complains he’s not. There are ZERO cognitive deficits with this incident, in contrast to the situation last summer. He did quite well on the doctor’s little cognitive tests – including short-term memory, processing, etc. I was impressed, because I’d seen him doing similar things last summer, too. Even after this recent issue, he’s much sharper than he was last summer.

So now we are in R&R mode, for a while, hopefully.

Caveat: Tree #165

Arthur seems to be recovering apace. He ate oatmeal for breakfast, tomato soup for lunch, and a bit of a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. Considering he hadn’t eaten for a day and a half before this, that’s a very good sign.

I wish he could find a way to be optimistic – or at the least. pretend to be optimistic. In fact, even just pretending to be optimistic has positive psychological effects – almost as many positive effects as actual optimism. I speak from experience.

Here is a tree, with a largish stump next door.

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[daily log: walking, 2.5km]

Caveat: POW, emergency

Prince of Wales Island (called by most locals by the initialism simply “P.O.W.”) has exactly one emergency room, as far as I can figure out. It’s in the clinic at Klawock – it’s not really a full blown ER, the staff is on call (meaning they drive there and meet the ambulance or whoever wants to go there, rather than sitting around inside the ER on shifts).

Yesterday Arthur went to the ER. He is experiencing severe, debilitating vertigo, leading to uncontrolled nausea and inability to even walk. My paranoid, hypochondrical side wants to believe that this is related to his brain injury from last year, but medical personnel can’t point to cause-effect, and will only say, “it’s possible.” Meanwhile, it’s simply labelled “benign positional vertigo,” where the word “benign” doesn’t mean what you want it to mean, because really it seems to be medical slang for “we can’t find the cause.” It’s hardly benign. It’s utterly debilitating.

We spent about 4 hours at the ER. He got fluids via IV (replace lost to vomiting). He got some medications. Hours later, it’s not clear they’re that useful to control the underlying vertigo, but at least they seem to prevent the vomiting.

You know you’re in a rural Southeast Alaska ER because the view out the doors (where I spent a lot of time standing and pacing and feeling useless) includes a shipping container and a lot of trees.

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Caveat: Tree #162

I walked along the road, and saw a tree.

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I also saw a piece of rusted scrap metal – maybe the rusted out floorboard of a truck or trailer. I propped the scrap on rock and took a picture – I like the composition, lights and darks.

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[daily log: walking, 4km]

Caveat: Boat Goes to Boat Doctor

Arthur and I took the boat to the boat doctor today. Meaning, it’s at the mechanic. We’ve had some troubling engine symptoms, and so this is what it’s come to. Hopefully the boat shop will make it right.

I experienced a great deal of anxiety over this adventure, prior to it happening. It involved both Arthur and I being competent, which is questionable, for each of us, for our separate reasons. Arthur has experience hauling his boat out of the water, and has done it many times, and is generally competent at such things anyway. But he had his head injury last summer, and he’s often forgetful or absent-minded, in ways that can be quite worrisome. Meanwhile, I haven’t got that forgetfulness problem, but I have never hauled any boat out of any water anywhere, ever. So we had a case of “the blind leading the deaf.”

Arthur took the boat into town, alone. Here is a picture of him departing the dock.

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I drove the truck into town with the boat trailer attached. We arrived at the Craig municipal boat ramp, at the north edge of town, at about the same time, waited our turn (it’s a busy place) and then backed the truck with trailer down to the water, pulled the boat onto the trailer, strapped it down, and drove up off the ramp. Here we are, checking the tie-downs.

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Then we drove into town and parked the trailer with boat at the boat doctor.

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In the end, it was a successful venture. Arthur was very tired, however. He pushed himself at his current limit for longer than he really had it in himself.