Sunday, March 30, 2014

We Took A Long Drive

We decided to drive to the coast and spend a few days in Capitola before Roger's minor surgery for that small squamous cell carcinoma bump next to his eye. Interestingly, Roger is more anxious about this surgery than he was about his colon cancer surgery. Here's why: He is not going to have a general anesthetic, just a local right there next to his eye. And then… he is going to be awake the whole time the surgery is happening right there next to his eye. See? It's a little claustrophic with surgeon hands, and an assistant, and Roger's eye. So he's anxious. He called the surgeon and asked for a prescription for Atavan, and the doc prescribed Valium. Good enough. He'll relax with some Valium. Right? Well, he went to pick up the prescription and the pharmacist handed it to him and said, "Here's your one valium. That'll be 33 cents!" Seriously one valium for Roger? That's crazy. Roger is a fainter. His GP once had to lance an abscess on his shin while Roger was lying on the floor.

So we came to the coast to relax before the surgery on April 9th.
A pelican among the gulls

A good storm is supposed to blow in Monday and Tuesday so we walked down to the wharf right away to get some sunshine and view of the calming blue-green waters.
Otter dining al fresco
Sometimes when the timing is just right we are reminded of these lines from the song Southern Cross that Stephen Stills wrote for Crosby Stills and Nash:
When you see the Southern Cross for the first time,
you understand now why you came this way…
You looking at me?
That's how we feel when we see an otter eating or looking back at us.

That's how we feel when we see a Snowy Egret walking the surf line looking for food.

We understand now why we came this way.


  1. Beautiful captures and I love the otters and the Egret!! II will be holding good thoughts for Rogers surgery!! I'd be feeling exactly the same way! Take care!

  2. Oh, such a great idea to go that way! How gorgeous!

    Roger should bring some music, and plan to close his eyes. Even for the local! (The local will totally work! you just don't really want to see it.) If that plus the valium isn't enough, it is really OK to say so. xoxoxo

  3. I saw the Southern Cross just a couple of weeks ago! Honestly, I'd rather see otters playing. If I were Roger, I'd ask the doc straight out for a reasonable dose of Valium. I've also read that marijuana has an anti-anxiety effect, so I might also ask the doc if that's an option. I'm grateful I'm not a fainter because Valium makes me sleep and pot makes me paranoid. I had lower abdominal laser surgery twenty years ago with only an epidural, against the surgeon's advice. I could smell my flesh burning and I could feel pressure, but there was no pain, and there was no passing out! I will send to Roger all of the calm well-being vibes I can muster on the 9th!!

  4. Wishing Roger the best result from this surgery.

    He might want to ask his doctor to explain his pre-surgery routine . No surgeon wants a jumpy patient. They have good happy-making drugs.

    I know it's a different operation, but for both cataract surgeries I was given very relaxing juice via IV before being transported into the surgery suite with additional jolts before and during the procedure. Had the surgeon removed my head I would have smiled in gentle interest all the while.

    Here's to sedation!

    In the meantime, you're already getting some good medicine.

  5. Sounds like a lovely pre-surgery escape! Hope all goes well on the 9th...

  6. Sometimes I wonder if doctors are such glorified mechanics and macho workaholics that they just don't get it about anxiety. Your valium story makes want to slug the guy (girl?). But I like the photos a lot.

  7. I like the suggestions above; Roger can ask for more meds and explanations. And, can he bring in headphones to play music? Does the surgeon provide that? I'll loan him my ipod if you all don't have music on a small device.

    So glad you went to the coast. Bravo to you! Your photos make me want to be there as well. Sigh.

  8. There is healing power at the ocean. Good for you for taking the time to drive there before the surgery.

  9. Such beautiful pictures, I can almost feel the sea air. Thank you.

    All the best for Roger. Some time ago I was invited to observe (minor) brain surgery where the patient is (must) be awake - once the surface has been opened there is no pain - and it was actually a very uplifting experience for all incl. the patient. I was initially quite afraid of this and expected to faint etc. but in the end I was totally lost in observation and admiration for the way our body works and the understanding that the surgeons brought to their task.
    All will be well.

  10. I just did 2 surgeries with no other anesthesia but local shots in the area. mine had to be boosted to keep everything dead until they finished (about an hour), but the shots did not hurt. here was my valium protocol for these 2 surgeries; (i had the same protocol for other surgeries you'll remember in which i was put under general anesthesia, but this helped me deal with the IVs being placed and my general anxiety prior to them being able to administer something via the IV: 2 tabs (5 mg. each, one hour before surgery. 1 tab (5 mg., 15 mins before arrival for surgery. i am NEVER early so that is literal!). it worked great for me, i was not too goofy to walk or talk or make sense but the edge was gone. i kept my eyes shut during the no IV surgeries since those surgeries were bone grafts, etc., and i didn't want to see instruments, etc. i have an idea they may tape an eye patch for him to keep the area sterile *eyelashes have matter on them), and he will be home free! he can even ask for one if they don't offer. he won't see anything, and he won't feel anything beyond the possible sting from the beginning of the local. it'll be over in a flash. most surgeons are fine with the pre-op valium so a phone call ought to take care of this. glad you guys had a nice visit to the coast. wish we'd had one! so ready for sunshine and warmth and a visit to that healing sea. great pics.

  11. If Roger is a fainter, then I can understand why he got out of the pirate business.

  12. i'm making a playlist in iTunes, which will go on the iPod, to soothe iroger during isurgery. hey there! blogger just auto capitalized iTunes and iPod. messing with my style. anyway. thanks for all the good wishes. i'm sure i'll be ok.

  13. Sylvia-- Glad you liked the pics. We were so happy to see the otters. Such a treat. Thank you for your good thoughts.

    Kathya-- We are just learning how to leave the house and take trips without having to arrange for cat care. It's an amazing new freedom. Roger has started putting together a play list on the iPod for the surgery. We're thinking that may help.

    Zilla-- How cool that you saw the Southern Cross. I have always loved that song, and particularly the sentiment about knowing why he traveled that far. Roger may ask for more Valium, and he does have other options as well. We were just so surprised by that ridiculous dose. We are still laughing!

    Minnie-- Your comment reminds me of the one time I was in a hospital after a car accident. I was given some drug and was being wheeled down the corridor, and I remember thinking they could just wheel me right out the window and I wouldn't mind at all. And yes, we are already getting good medicine here by the bay.

    Linda-- We feel very lucky that we have this calming option to be here by the water. Thank you for your good thoughts.

    Banjo52-- Some doctors really don't get their patients' anxiety levels. They could definitely use some sensitivity training. Glad you like the photos! Thank you.

    Tara-- We have an iPod, and Roger has been putting together a play list for the surgery. He's going to work on the list while we're here too. Some time we are going to have to coordinate our trips to Santa Cruz, so we can have some play time together here.

    am-- The ocean is such a great place to come for peace and calm. We're so grateful we have this old house on the bay.

    Annie-- Thank you. We're feeling it!

    Sky-- Thank you for all your insights and information. I like the idea of the eye being covered. That makes so much sense. I think that would really help in this particular situation. We hope the surgeon works that way. One of the reasons we are planning on selling our house and moving back to the coast is to be next to that healing sea again.

    Pablo-- I'm pretty sure Roger could be a very good fainting pirate, matey. He could make it work to his advantage. That's what the best pirates do! (He just said, "I don't faint at the sight of other people's blood.") LOL!

  14. I would definitely not want to be awake for a surgical procedure in the corner of my eye. But it probably won't be as bad as in my imagination.

  15. Robin, hear you about how a beloved cat now gone means all these routines are not now needed. xoxo

    Great suggestion about covering that eye! Personally, I think I'd be uncomfortable with both eyes covered -- sometimes I want to peek, even though I am a white-knuckle patient. (For dental, oral, other skin removal at more distant places than the corner of the eye.)

    Yeah, I think some docs (a lot) really do not understand the anxiety part.

    Oh -- they'll probably have you leaning back in a chair, and a neck pillow always helps me. All my muscles are tight, you're supposed to keep still, and that little pillow makes a lot of difference. (In my dental/oral surgery experience.)

  16. Sure hope that lovely day and ride helped settle Roger. I don't blame him. I dread possible future cataract surgery for the same reason. You would think they could knock him out briefly.
    Hopefully that Valium is extra strong.

  17. Mark-- It's true, it's probably won't be as bad as his imagination. That's a very good thing.

    Kathy a-- Good advice about the neck pillow. I use one at the dentist office, and it really does make a difference.

    Arkansas Patti-- We're spending a few days here at the coast. Today it is blustery and chilly. We went out for a walk on the wharf anyway. There is something about the ocean that really calms us down, even on a stormy windy day. We'll have to look at the strength of that puny little pill. Maybe it will be stronger than we think!

  18. Sending a smooth procedure and healing vibs your way Roger!

  19. Dave-- Glad you liked the photos and thank you for your good wishes.

    karmanot-- Thank you. We appreciate your vibes!

  20. I'm catching up on your posts in reverse order.
    A trip to the coast is always a good thing. At first glance, it always takes my breath away (and I live very close to it). Your mention of Crosby, Stills and Nash, made me smile...

  21. Pat-- Glad you liked that CSN reference. I often think of those lines when I see something that totally knocks me out.