Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Introducing the Newest Grillo: Natalie Jane

The Grillo Family has a new member! Natalie Jane. Natalie because we liked it (and it has Italian roots), and Jane after my grandmother. 6lbs 13oz, and incredibly sweet! Mom and Natalie are doing great! Gabby is a very proud big sister, and Scotty isn't sure how he feels yet, but he did finally pat her on the head and say "Hi baby Natalie!" 

Gabby loves her new sister!

Grand kid #6 for Papa Scotty!

All dressed up and ready to go home!

Meeting Papa Moak

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Descending Ishibashi

Despite being located near one of the largest cities in the country, we actually have a pretty decent little network of trails. This is the Ishibashi trail, which is located in the Portuguese Bend area of Palos Verdes. It's a pretty short ride from my house, so it's an easy choice when I need to get out for a short escape. Enjoy the ride!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Camping at Two Harbors, Catalina

I was looking through some pictures today, and came across photos from our camping trip to Catalina this summer. I thought I'd post a few along with some details from the trip. Enjoy!

We decided to take a camping trip to Catalina, and so invited our friends The Milams, who have kids of similar ages as ours, to join us. Alison and Shelly decided they would take the two 3 year olds on the Catalina Express, and Joel and I would take the older kids on my boat. As you can see, even though we were only camping for two nights, there is no such thing as packing light when you are hauling the gear for 9 people. This picture only shows about half of it!

The crossing from San Pedro to Two Harbors was a smooth one, and we arrived just before the girls did on the express. We picked them up from the dock with my boat, and motored over to the east side of the harbor where the campsites are. After anchoring, we launched the dinghy, and transferred all our gear to shore. This was our first camping mission to Catalina, and as such, we slightly underestimated the hike up the hill to our spot. It took us about 30 laborious minutes to get all the gear (pic above) hiked up the hill to our spot. Once we did though, we were presented with this awesome view!
The Harbor as seen from our campsite. You can see Ship Rock in the upper left, and the edge of Bird Rock on the right.
My lonely little boat at anchor
The first night, we barbecued hamburgers for the kids and bacon wrapped hot dogs for the big kids. If you haven't tried them, you're missing out! 
Happy Customer!
Bacon wrapped hot dog and PBR. What's more American than that?!
Scotty would like to demonstrate the proper way to crack a peanut.

We spent most of our time down at the beach, where we enjoyed the nice weather and got some good snorkel time in. The little guys had a lot of fun playing pirate in the dinghy; a great makeshift playpen, as featured on Hint Mama's blog.

Trac-ball! Lots of fun in the water!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Three Weeks Since Collarbone Surgery

3 weeks post-op. The bone is starting to mend.

Well, I've made it three weeks, and things seem to be improving. I had my three week post-op appointment yesterday, and the doc says I'm healing as expected. I'm still having a bit of moderate pain at times, especially in the morning upon waking, but he says that is normal. It's just my bones and muscles working everything out. I was given a refill of Percocet, and advised that a couple a day to manage the painful moments are not a problem. A relief to hear that, as I always try to ditch the pain meds ASAP, not wanting to end up like Rush Limbaugh or something. Call me a masochist, but I also think feeling a little pain is good for me. Reminds me that things are healing. I'm mostly out of the sling, but I still keep it handy for the times when it starts to hurt - usually at the end of the day. I asked about exercise, and the doc says that the stationary bike is still ok, but no running or real bike riding until the 6 week mark. I am free to continue moving my arm, just not to lift anything heavy, or lift it above 90 degrees. I still can't raise it above about 30 degrees on my own anyway, so no issue there. I asked him about that, and he said that it will take some time to regain that muscle strength, but not to worry. Driving hasn't been an issue. I started doing that at 1 week post op. Much easier now without the sling though.

I am still planning to ride the Catalina Gran Fondo on May 14th, but I may opt for the shorter 14 mile version.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pliny the Elder

I'm having it.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Collarbone at 1 Week Post-Op

Friday was my first post-op appointment with Dr. McGovern. I had been looking forward to this appointment for several reasons. I was anxious to see the x-rays of the completed repair, and also to find out how soon I could get back to being active.

The first picture below was taken right after completion of the surgery. You can see the plate, and the 12 screws holding it in place. Near the middle, you can see a screw that is not a part of the plate, and on its own. This one was necessary to hold two of the four bone fragments together before the plate was even applied. Quite a wreck I was, but some beautiful artwork here by Dr. McGovern to put me back together.

A better view of the lone screw

I had several questions for the doc at my appointment, mostly related to how soon I can ride again, and what I can do in the meantime in the way of self physical therapy. He tested my range of motion, and found it very satisfactory for this stage in my recovery. He told me that I could reduce use of the sling when I am around the house but told me to wear it out in public, really as a warning to other people not to come up and hang on my arm or anything like that. He cautioned me on not raising my arm above 90 degrees, or lifting anything heavy. He explained that it will take another 4 weeks for things to really solidify, and until then it is still possible to do "silent damage" to the repair. Not interested in doing that, thanks! After the 4 weeks (6th post-op), he will start clearing me to ride again and do more things as my condition allows. Until then, I'll keep doing my pendulum exercises (leaning over and swinging my arm back and forth) and trying to get used to doing everything with my right hand!

This pic is from the appointment on Friday (1 week 2 days post-op). Looks kinda like a caterpillar with long legs! My next appointment is in two weeks. I'll provide more updates then.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Broken Collarbone

Two weeks ago during my weekly Wednesday night mountain bike group ride, I took a spill. A pretty nasty one as it turned out. A trip to the ER produced the x-ray image below, and a diagnosis of a fractured left clavicle. A complete break, being displaced almost 3cm. The ER doc said that it might need surgery, and referred me to a orthopedic specialist. 

Fortunately, I happen to have a good friend and riding buddy who's wife is a PA at an orthopedic clinic. She set me up for a consult with Dr. Brian McGovern at Torrance Orthopedic. She recommended him as "the guy I'd send my husband to in this situation". Good enough for me! Met with him the following Monday, and I liked him right away. Confident, knowledgeable, and covered all of my concerns.  He explained that depending on the nature of the break, there are two ways to treat such an injury. You either let it heal on its own in a sling, or have it repaired surgically with a titanium plate and screws. He said that the surgical option is becoming more prominent in the specialty lately. The malunion rate of the "self healing" option can be as high as 30%, especially when the displacement is greater than 1.5-2cm (me). The malunion rate among the surgically repaired is closer to 3%. Since the displacement of my break was of the larger variety, Dr. McGovern recommended the surgical option for me. A side benefit of the surgical option is also quicker recovery time. 6-8 weeks, versus 10 weeks or more the other way. It also means a sooner return to fitness activities, so that I might maintain some of the fitness that I had begun to accumulate this season. Not that I am in any way comparable to pro cyclists, but when Thor Hushovd broke his collarbone back in 2010, he was racing again at 6 weeks post op. On cobblestones, no less!

As you can see below, I went the surgical route on Wednesday 3/13. According to Dr. McGovern, it was a bit of a mess in there and not a slam dunk case, but he was very happy with the outcome and expects a solid recovery. The first night post op was pretty rough once the surgical nerve block wore off, made worse by the fact that the pharmacy wouldn't fill my percoset prescription because of some sort of clerical error. All I had was Vicodin, and let me tell you... It wasn't near enough. Once I got the percoset the following morning, things were all good. The pain was very manageable after that, and I was quite comfortable on the couch for the next few days. I slept there too, in a semi-upright configuration for the first few nights. I must say, I am very fortunate to have a lovely wife that took excellent care of me while I was a vegetable.

At 1.5 weeks post op, I'm feeling pretty good. Most of the pain is gone, and I'm off the pain meds. Getting dressed still takes some time and assistance (try putting on socks with one hand!). I've been doing some walking/hiking, and even gave the recumbent bike at the gym a whirl. I have my first post op appointment later today, where I hope to learn more about what I can and can't do in the coming weeks. I've picked up some great info from fellow cyclist Mike McQuaide's blog, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get back on the bike soon. I'll update with post op x-rays after my appointment today.