Sunday, January 29, 2012

Surgery, Two Trips Ahead and Icelandic Road Conditions!

At last it is upon me, tomorrow is surgery day!  I am very excited at the prospect of no further pain.  However due to what this surgery involves I am some what trepidacious about the whole thing.  There is always some risk in the easiest of surgeries but this surgery won't be one of the easiest.  The fact that it is performed by a neurosurgeon instead of a regular orthopedic surgeon is telling.  Oh well - there isn't much I can do about that so as always I just need to suck it up and deal with it.

The details of the surgery are that it is scheduled for 9:00AM Monday morning at Littleton Hospital.  Unfortunately it is not an outpatient surgery and I will be stuck in the hospital until Tuesday.  There is a chance it could be longer than Tuesday, but I am hoping not. If the surgeon finds evidence that there is spinal fluid in the area surrounding the herniated disc, then I will be required to stay in the hospital for at least 3 days with two of those days spent on my stomach without me moving.  Hopefully that won't be the case as I think I would go crazy under those circumstances.

Well enough about that!  It is time to move to a more enjoyable subject.  One of the things that I forgot to discuss in my plan to get out of my rut is travel!  Over the next 6 months Zack and I have two international trips planned.  The first is occurring the last week in March and will take us to Costa Rica.  We will be traveling to Costa Rica to see a bunch of different areas of the country.  My good friend Ruben lives there and he will be tour guiding Zack and me around the country.  We will be doing a variety of different things from hitting the beach, to seeing the volcanoes, to visiting the rain forest, to experiencing San Jose (the capital) to experiencing some of Costa Rica's other cultural hotspots.  We are going to try and see it all!  We will leave Denver on March 24 and return on April 1.  I have already purchased tickets for this trip and we are quite excited to go!  It will be great to see Ruben again and I am sure Zack is going to love the experience!  The only possible down side is if my recovery from surgery takes longer than expected.  It could derail this trip - thankfully I bought travel insurance with my airline tickets.

In June we will be heading to Iceland for at least 10 days.  As of now I haven't purchased our tickets yet, but I hope to purchase them by the middle of February.  We are planning to leave Denver around June 18 as this will allow us to get to Iceland for the celebration of the summer solstice.  This year the summer solstice takes place at 12:09AM, June 21 local time in Iceland.  One of the best things about being in Iceland for the summer solstice are all the parties and fun events that happen!  Since darkness really doesn't come that day, most young people in Iceland stay up all day and night and just party their brains out.  I am not sure that we will get to do that given Zack's age - but we will participate in many of the festivals and celebrations that take place that day and through the following weekend.

The plan for the trip to Iceland is still evolving as I am continuing to read about where we should go and what we should see.  The overall plan is to rent a jeep and spend most of the time touring around Iceland on what is called the ring road.  The ring road is a road, and that might be a loose term for it, that circles the whole way around Iceland.  I say road might be a loose term for the ring road as from what I have read there are long sections that are just gravel or even dirty roads.  In a country of only 318,000 there isn't the need for a lot of paved highways.  The conditions of the road system is one of the reasons that we would be renting a jeep as you need 4 wheel drive to make it through a lot of the landscape.

The following are some examples of road conditions in Iceland that I pulled off the web.  In general when you head out on a long distance trip in Iceland you have to be prepared as you might face all kinds of conditions.  Furthermore, once you are out in the middle of no where, you are kind of on your own!)

(A good section of road in Iceland, but then you have to deal with other issues...  Like the gigantic ash plume from a volcano that is obstructing the road ahead.  It is not advisable to drive through ash plumes!!)

(Another common Icelandic road hazard - a sheep on the road.  Sheep in Iceland outnumber the people by a substantial margin.  Hopefully the sheep never decide to rise up and overthrow the humans as the people are outnumbered!)

(An example of roads in Iceland that are in less than stellar shape.  I won't have wanted to try and ride that rode on a motorcycle.  It looks very painful to me!)

(Another example of the dirt roads of Iceland.  Notice the washboard effect on this road.)

I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to these trips.  Zack seems to be excited about them too.  But for him they still seem so far away that he isn't thinking too seriously about them yet.  Though I have been to Costa Rice before I am really looking forward to that trip as it will allow me to explore so much that I didn't get the chance to see when I was there before.  And as for Iceland - this has been a place that is number two on my all time list of interesting places that I want to go.  Number 1 on that list is Mongolia and we will get there eventually, but given Icelandic Air is starting direct flights from Denver to Reykjavik (the capitol of Iceland) in May of this year, it something that we just have to do.

There is not much to say about our day today.   We got up relatively early this morning and I made a special breakfast for Zack - a cinnamon butter braid.  I had to take it out of the freezer last night and let it defrost and rise, but wow was it worth it, as it tasted so yummy!  Early this afternoon we went out to the movies and saw "The Adventures of TinTin".  It was a pretty decent movie - but the most important thing was that Zack liked it.  The rest of the day has been spent here at home working to make sure everything is ready for tomorrow.

I am not totally sure how tomorrow will play out as Nancy was supposed to come here and watch Zack on Monday afternoon/night.  She is not feeling well today so we might have to go with a fall back plan that Zack and the pups go over to my brother and sister-in-law's house for Monday night.  Not sure how that is going to play out, but I should know by later this evening if Nancy will feel up to leaving Cranbrook tomorrow.

I guess that is about it for the day.  To all the friends who called, texted or e-mailed me today to wish me the best tomorrow - thank you!  Your thoughts and concerns are greatly appreciated.

The next part is harder to write...  Shelly all I can say is that I wish you were going to be at my side tomorrow, but I know that is not part of our lives right now.  I wish it was the last time I was having surgery - made things won't be like they are now if we relived that time again.

I hope everyone has had a great weekend and is looking forward to the week ahead!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.


Elasti-Girl said...

I canNOT wait to see the photos from your trips! They both sound incredible!!!!
Thinking of/praying for you and your surgery tomorrow. I hope it all goes smoothly & healing is quick. Also praying for Z and any feelings he may have for you & your surgery too.

Anonymous said...

Good luck tomorrow! Sending prayers from NJ.

Sunna Reyr said...

Hi there, I was blog hopping when I came up on your blog. I hope you had a successful surgery and will have a quick recovery.

I just wanted to mention that the Icelandic "ring road" is all paved except for few short parts in the East Fjords.

Now if you would take the extra ring around the West Fjords you would hit really rotten roads in the Southern part of the Fjords, but the roads on the Northern part (where I live) are all paved. Hmmm, the main roads that is.

When I moved here 29 years ago it took us 10 hours to drive to the city (Reykjavik). Now, on paved road all the way, it's measly 5 hours.

I hope you will have wonderful time on your travels with your son and please remember that fathers are really, really important to their children (lost mine in an accident when I was 20).

Shirley Morse said...

Hope today went well, I thought of you several times.
Also, the Iceland trip sounds amazing. Costa Rica does too, but Iceland is definitely on my top 10. I saw pictures that a Facebook friend took recently and am even more enamored by the idea of traveling there.
I can't wait to see your pictures and hear your review.
But, for that to happen, you have to get home and get healed. I hope that happens quickly for you!

HDlove said...

Please check out my blog

i'll be praying for your healing.
God is always good.

Jerry Kromer said...

Sunna - Thanks for your feedback on the roads of Iceland. As a Icelander, do you have good suggestions of places that we should see that might be a little bit off the beaten track? I am reading everything I can concerning Iceland but would love to hear of some places that locals know about that aren't written up in the tour guides. Thanks so much! - Jerry