Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To knee or not to knee...

My knee. He is a curious little bugger. I am looking ahead to another surgery in hopes of relieving the chronic pain I am in. A little history. I believe my initial cartilage damage was due to over exertion during my younger years. Making some bad choices like “bad karate”. Never the less in Jan of 2005 I went in for arthroscopic surgery were they performed a microfracture surgery to try and repair the damaged cartilage. In microfracture the surgeon uses a small pointed tool called an awl to make very small holes called microfractures (tiny breaks) in the bone near the damaged cartilage. The holes the surgeon makes in your bone release the cells in your bones that build new cartilage. Your body then builds a new type of fake cartilage to replace the damaged cartilage. While in there my Dr. also biopsied chondrocytes cartilage in case I would need a further surgery.

Well the microfracture did not work so it was on to step 2. In Sept of 2005 I went into Surgery and had a Autologus chrondocyte implant. This was a new way to help restore the structural makeup of the articular cartilage My cells had already been growing in a lab so now it was just having them implanted. During this surgery the surgeon implants the newly grown cartilage into the lesion and covers it with a small flap of tissue taken from the shin bone. The cover holds the cells in place while they attach themselves to the surrounding cartilage and begin to heal.

So 6 years later .. epic fail. Third time is a charm. I am onto the next procedure. Osteochondral allograft transplantation. In this procedure, bone and the attached cartilage from an organ donor is transplanted to repair cartilage damage. The osteochondral allograft procedure is mostly used after other surgeries have failed. One of the problems with this kind of procedure is the limited supply of donor tissue. Even though there are technical difficulties with this type of surgery, the success rate is generally high. This procedure usually involves placing rather large pieces of cartilage and bone in the joint. The allograft is usually held in place with metal screws or pins.

Sounds like a good time! So now I wait. I wait for the call that they have found a donor for me. I then have ten days to have my surgery. Just doesn’t seem fair for the donor or for me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Part Deux! New York or Bust!

We woke up on Sunday morning and checked our tickets for the 911 museum showing. Umm the tickets said our tour would begin at 11:00am on SATURDAY! We missed it. I was so bummed. I knew the company did not do exchanges and I was so upset. I decided to go ahead and make a call to the museum and see if by chance they could do anything. I got on the phone with a gentleman who went way out of his way to accommodate us on the 2:00pm tour and we only had to pay a $8 reschedule fee. I was relieved. As I was getting off the phone I asked the person who helped me for his name. He said "Gary Susson" I was shocked that I was speaking to the creator of the museum. The photographer who actually took all the photos and collected all the artifacts and remains that we would be seeing later that day.
 We decided to start our morning off looking for Strawberry Fields in Central Park. We walked and walked and walked some more and finally found it.

We stopped for a bit watching people lay on top of the circle and basically being asses. Then we went across the street to the Dakota where John Lennon was shot. It was pretty interesting to see a place of modern history. It hasn’t changed and I wonder what Oko thinks each time she leaves the hotel, walking through the same arch that her husband was shot in.

 We were tired of walking so we jumped in a cab and went on our way to Wall Street. We walked around a bit and checked out the NY stock exchange building. There was a photo shot of some sort happening so we got to see a real live NY model standing ontop of some historic building. Real NY models look just like real LA models.

We had a pretzel, wasn’t that great actually. I loved the mustard more than the pretzel. We walked towards the twin towers location and stood across from the construction that is being done in the location of where the building fell. At that point we hailed a cab and headed up to the Meat packing district were the 911 museum was located.

We had about a hour to kill so we walked around an Apple store and had lunch at a bar/restaurant named Gaslight. The pasta was so good, a seafood pasta with red sauce. Chad ordered pizza, I thought it was ok but Chad seemed to enjoy it. We both had a bloody mary and it was very different, super thin tasting.. if thin tasted.

After lunch we met up with our 911 tour and were escorted in a very small room. I was surprised at how small the space was and sort of felt like we had been duped a bit. I was so wrong. We were given a set of headphones and a small audio device. As we walked around the room we were able to hear details and information on the artifacts and pictures in the museum. It was very moving. It felt like you really got a chance to see what it was like down at Ground Zero. Some amazing things do come in small packages. Gary Susson was the only photographer allowed at ground zero during the recovery process. He was able to collect items like shoes, pieces of window, steel and desk objects. It was a very moving display.
I have a few photos of the displays to share with you. Gary was able to collect the Calendar that was found in a subway control room. Left is his display: Right is the original location

Switched this time: Clock found in a breakroom I believe.

After we left the museum we stopped in at an Alexander McQueen store. I was not going to be able to get to the Museum to see his showing so this was as close as I could get. Lets just say the doorman was in the restroom because if he had been at the front he would not have let us in. The dresses were amazing with equally amazing price tags. I took a few pictures before I got my hand slapped for being a tourist.


We left the store and grabbed a taxi to go back to the hotel. We prepared for our last night eat fest. We started off with a walk to the Hala Hala cart and enjoyed a split of chicken and lamb over rice. Amazing!!! We stopped on a park bench and ate outside of Rockefeller Center were we would be going up to the Top of the Rock. Oh the food was good. Soooo good. We finished up going Hasselhoff all over the bench and took our trip to the top of the rock. Good times! It’s like a million stories high. Talk about a view. Chad saw the Statue of Liberty and all of the main big buildings. We stayed there for a bit and then decided to start our hunt for cupcakes.

On the hunt for cupcakes we headed back towards Time Square and found my cupcake store. We bought a 6 pack to go. Then we stopped off at the Stage deli and had a pastrami sandwich. It was pretty good. The heat tasted so fresh and it wasn’t greasy or oily. I guess I am so use to the Hat pastrami heart attack. I had been searching for Oyster Rockefeller the whole trip only to find out that they are served most famously in New Orleans, duh!!! We did see an Oyster Bar however and they had a version of Rockefeller so we stopped in and sat at the bar. One of the greatest experiences in New York. This place specialized in raw oyster with different varieties. I went for it. The hostess/bartender/server was hooking me up with different types of oysters and drinks and sauces. I was in heaven. We stumbled out of the Oyster bar so full and very satisfied and into a Pub. Had a drink and decided we needed to head home. 5:00am was going to come soon.

(Pictures eventually)

On our way back to the hotel we stopped in at a Bakery and picked up some cheesecake and canolis. Once we got back to the hotel and after Chad did some iron board vaulting we had a dessert feast and promptly passed out in our mess. Well almost in our mess.

The rest of the story is we went home the next morning.
So to wrap up. My last trip back in 2002 was sad and melancholy. 9/11 was still very fresh for a lot of people. I was toured around with a New York native and it seemed I got a different view of life in New York. This time I felt like visiting was so light and fun. Good weather, good people and good food. I also think having Chad as a traveling companion didn’t hurt. So all my pre-planning ended up working out and we have the memories to prove it. Thank you New York for giving us some great memories. We love you!