Sunday, February 10, 2013

Back on my feet. Figueroa Mountain Lookout.

The Doctor told me I was mostly out of the woods, which I thought was ironic.

It's taken a couple few weeks but I am definitely on the mend. I wanted to say thank you to those that wished me well during this painful and scary episode. It has been humbling, and I truly appreciate your expressions of concern. I've tested negative for a wide array of hematologic and autoimmune disorders and the pain from my kidney is subsiding. The random fevers and aches have largely gone away. In the coming days I'll be seeing a doctor who specializes in rare diseases and I anticipate being tested for Lyme, Valley Fever, and Spirochettes Disease. I expect that I will be negative for those ailments as well. I think something really friggin' weird happened to me and ultimately nobody will ever be able to adequately explain the blood clot which killed a third of one kidney. Nor whatever bug it was that crushed a fit and healthy 40 year old man for over a week. In the mean time I've been a real grown up about giving myself the Lovenox injections and taking the Coumadin (basically coumadin is rat poison, which I seem to be resistant to). Must take the meds, don't want an embolic stroke now, do we? As for my prognosis, I have been told I'll be back to work by the 18th (or so) and I am A-OK with that. The hematologist thinks I may be able to safely discontinue the anticoagulants in as little as six months. I relearned that I do not enjoy receiving medical attention, but I am grateful for those people, like myself, who provide care with an empathy for those in less fortunate circumstances. Frankly, it sucks to be on the receiving end.

So it is with sincere gratitude and renewed purpose that I return to the high places. In small first.

Finally I was feeling consistently good enough to take a short walk. To this end I opted for a silent and snowy stroll up two mild miles of fire road to the Figueroa Mountain Lookout above Los Olivos and the Santa Ynez Valley. It was a beautifully grey day with outstanding views of fog and cloud just yards away. And a pleasant little stroll up 1,000 feet over two miles sounded just fine. It took me less than an hour to get there.

The original lookout structure at this site was erected in 1923. Originally used as a fire watch tower, the site took on additional civil defense duties during WWII as part of a larger network of observer towers along the coast. Though today's Lookout bears little resemblance to the original structure (link to image) it still retains some active function as a communications site. The tower and it's outbuilding are of cinder block and tightly shuttered. A tall and barb-wired fence prevents access to the buildings but as a consolation to those weary and disappointed hikers wishing for more, there is also a nice picnic area and vista point. 

Lookout! Low clouds and fog with intermittent snow showers will remain with us throughout the day

Enjoying the views from the Figueroa Mountain summit.

The snow picked up on the walk down.

30 degrees at 1PM.

After walking around up there for a bit I noticed that the temps were dropping so I started heading back down. Not long after the snow really picked up and it dropped to around 30 degrees. Stillness and silence everywhere I turned. The world muffled in a fresh blanket of white. I had a very nice time out there, who needs views anyway? It's just good to be out and not have some horrible diagnosis looming over me. See Y'all, and thanks again.

The Perseverance and the trailhead for Figueroa Mtn Lookout.

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