It Has Been a Very Interesting Week…Not

Interesting…well, no. Crappy…yeah…that about covers it.

Let’s catch up first since my last post.

We had a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary on 8/23…and it turned out to be a complete bust. We saw exactly 2…count em… 2…birds. A hawk of some sort about 200 yards away right at dawn to our east so it was silhouetted and unrecognizable. Then a Pileated Woodpecker flew by…he was a bit closer at only 100 yards our or so…but then he/she landed on the opposite side of the tree so we never saw it again.

We saw 2 squirrels but they weren’t worth it. The sanctuary was deathly quiet…far quieter than we’ve ever heard it and we been going there off and on for going on 50 years. No song birds, no taunting birds we couldn’t see, no waders, no hawks, no floaters…nuttin. Connie got a few shots of the lettuce for which Lettuce Lake is named and if I can get Neil to process them I’ll add them eventually but basically they’re just swamp pants.

We went and voted in the primary after the fruitless swamp trip.

And…that’s about it for catching up…until last Saturday.

Starting Saturday…well, actually Friday evening…Neil started seeing some flashes like lighting up at the top of his right eye…he figured it might be his vitreous separating (a normal aging thing) and they looked actually like it looked in 2019 when his left eye did it so he wasn’t all that worried about it. This continued on Saturday and then on Sunday he got a lot more of them out on his bike ride and also a bunch of eye floaters in that eye…so he figured it was worth checking out. He left an email for them eye doctor on Sunday afternoon and figured we would hear from them Monday.

Meanwhile…Connie started having intestinal issues on Saturday and by Monday AM it had settled down to a localized pain on her lower right side. She figured it might be another case of diverticulitis…she’s had it 5 or 6 times over the last 20something years…but only once before (the first time) on the right, it’s usually on the lower left side. By Monday AM she was feeling worse and also running a slight fever but when we got the call from the eye doctor we decided to wait until Tuesday to do anything about her issues. The eye doctor called, said it might be the start of a retina detachment, and that he should get in the car and come down there…like now.

So…he did, the optometrist examined him and said it wasn’t the vitreous but she thought there were a couple of minor tears in the right retina…but retinas are out of her area of expertise so she quickly transferred him to the retina specialist (an MD opthamologist) and she quickly confirmed that there were a couple of retina tears. She was in surgery that afternoon doing LASIX but said she would meet him at the office with the laser tool in the afternoon…and that he should be there. She was concerned enough that it could result in the retina detachment that she went out of her way at the end of her day to come and fix him.

Strangely enough…between Connie and Neil we’ve now seen about 6 or 8 retina specialists…and all but one of them have been women. Nothing wrong with that but he was wondering whether it was just the luck of the draw or if women particularly chose that speciality. Turns out they tend to choose it because of family life, retina specialists have relatively normal schedules. Nothing wrong with that either way but it was interesting.

Anyway…what they do for retina tears is take a laser and essentially weld them back down…then scar tissue forms which doesn’t affect vision in the long run and it fixes the tear. Here’s a shot of him as he was going into the procedure.

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Essentially they put the same numbing drop and dilation drop in your eye that is used on your everyday eye exam. Then they come back and put some super dilation drops in to increase the pupil opening…normally it’s just a drop but in his case they came back and put more in 3 or 4 more times after he took this selfie so that they pupil is completely fills the iris…this allows the laser to get in better.

Then you sit down at the instrument…it’s very similar to the blue light thing that they use to measure the inside your eyeball pressure except with a laser instead…put this jelly stuff an a really thick…like 1/4 inch thick…contact lens on and focus the laser aiming point on the tear and then use this short duration but very, very, very bright yellow (or sometimes red but in his case yellow) laser pulse over and over again until it’s sealed. The whole process from sitting down in the chair to done takes maybe 6 minutes…then the doctor says you’re done, go home. She had to run to do mom duties for her 5 and 7 year old kids so the staff rinsed all the goop out of his eye and sent him on his way.

Within about 10 minutes or so his vision was good enough to drive home…he had taken Connie with him just in case but since she felt bad he drove and she helped watch out for him as they proceeded on home.

So…on to Tuesday. She called her gastroenterologist and told them her symptoms…their response was “you have a regular appointment in 3 weeks, just come in then”…she decided and he agreed that with 100.3 degree temp and pain that wasn’t a good idea. The two of them had did a bit of research and decided it was either right side diverticulitis or appendicitis but not being doctors they decided they really couldn’t tell.

So…off to the urgent clinic we go and after an hour or so we’re done. The PA there said she thought it was probably diverticulitis but because it was right side it could be appendicitis so sent her for a stat CT scan. Got to the CT scan place, they did the scan…and the radiologist said it was all inflamed and he could not tell if it was appendicitis or a diverticulitis access…so they sent her to the ER. We headed over to Gulf Coast Hospital…our preferred location in the Lee Health System and headed into the ER. They reviewed the CT scan…again…and the ER doctor said it was either the abscess or appendicitis but couldn’t tell for sure…so they admitted her and called for a surgery consult.

We got her into the room and they plugged her up with 3 different IV antibiotics…which they would do regardless of the eventual diagnosis…and we waited for the surgeon. An hour or so later…the nurse said it would probably be tomorrow (it was 1830 by this time) as the surgeon had 24 hours to respond on a consult. Luckily…Dr. Bass showed up about 3 minutes after that and said that after looking at her CT 5 or 6 times and getting another radiologist to review it with them…they were able to clearly see her appendix and it was completely normal…so it was essentially a left side diverticulitis infection. Neil waited until the end of visiting hours at 2000 and then headed home to eat dinner…long day so he just had a burger on the way home. 

They pumped her with mucho different antibiotics last night and all day today and by 1500 or so her pain was remarkably reduced, no fever, and she was feeling pretty good. The surgeon came back in about 1600 and told her that as far as he was concerned she could go home and continue oral antibiotics since the pain was almost gone but deferred to the internist from our primary care doctor…who had said the night before they would defer to whatever the surgeon thought.

He headed home about 1700 to cook…he had taken out some pork yesterday so it either needed to be cooked or tossed…he made carne asada and it was pretty good. While he was eating Connie texted him and said that the nurse said they would most likely release her in the AM tomorrow (Thursday). 

So…long story short…his eye is better and although it is still dilated a little more than the left eye that’s a normal side effect of the super duper dilation drops and she’s improving as well. Her scan and colonoscopy have showed she has lots of diverticuli which is just the way it is…she’ll just have periodic bouts of diverticulitis and this is only the 2nd time in 20something years she needed IV antibiotics to take care of it. Usually she just gets oral ones…and they want to give her Flagyl which really tears up her stomach and intestine…she says the cure is almost worse than the disease as she’s nauseous for 2 weeks. They gave her Flagyl but IV and it hasn’t really bothered her…Neil asked the nurse and she said that was because the IV one is absorbed differently.

*** We interrupt this blog post for late breaking news. Our reporter on the scene…that would be Neil…reporting live at 1104 Thursday morning. Connie has been uthorized to move bout the country by the doctors, her remaining oral antibiotic prescription is being filled at Walgreens, and we’re waiting on the hospital people to bring whatever she needs to go home. We now return you to your irregularly scheduled blog post.***

Anyways…you’re all caught up now…except for the photos below. None of them are really what we could call ‘keepers’ but it is what it is.

I might not have talked about it here before…but their best friend from college is named Joe Claxton…he was Neil’s roommate and went to high school with him…we always called him Jodi. Back in college…he invented this color combination named sky blue pink which is what you see near sunset.

So as Neil was driving home last night he saw the most spectacular version of sky blue pink he’s ever seen and he grabbed some iPhone photos. 

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The black stuff on upper right is the glare thing on the windshield top center.

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Yeah…I know they’re crappy shots taken through the windshield with a phone…but don’t worry, he was stoped at a traffic light when he got the three above so he was safe…he don’t mess with the phone while he’s driving.

Once he pulled into our neighborhood he stopped and got out to get a wide pano of the whole sky. This is about a 200 degree panorama shot from south at left through north on the right. It’s also about 5 minutes later than the ones before so the effect wasn’t quite as dramatic…too bad there was no place to pull over when he got the shot above so he could get a pano without the traffic light in it.

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Anyway…that’s about all the news fit to print I guess.

Interesting things found on the net.

Husband with a death wish.



Cat job perks.


This is an example of kirie which is a Japanese art of cutting a single piece of paper into art. Just wow.


And finally.



About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to It Has Been a Very Interesting Week…Not

  1. Cat White says:

    Hope both of you are recovering rapidly and good job on finding very good doctors. Yeah, Flagyl, orally at least, is awful. It’s like extending to problem another week. One has to wait until finishing the prescription to figure out if it worked. LOL Keep writing kids, I really enjoy it.

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      Yeah…we are doing good. She was on IV Flagul in the hospital and it made her a bit queasy but none of the race to the bathroom every 10 minutes…and so far the oral Flagyl they gave her for 5 days hasn’t caused it either, just queasy. The nurse said it was because IV was absorbed differently and that the oral probably would not be as bad since body was used to it. She got out Thursday about 1100 and is happier now, working slowly to real food but almost there as of today.

      Headed to Daytona for a Ladies of Elks thing later this month then up to see kid and family and to go to her 50th reunion.


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