02/28/19 Flamingo-Everglades, FL

DAY #131

Wow, the last day of February 2019, this month has gone by so quickly.  Just as quickly it seems, has been the time here at the Everglades, even with being hobbled and sidelined most of the time.

 After starting off the day (9:00 am) with my morning ritual (fancy term for using the bathroom), I drove down to the marina to inquire about taking a boat cruise of the backwaters that was being offered.  The cost was $35.00 and lasted ninety minutes.  I had put on my slippers and used the short ride to the marina as a kind of test run, to see how my feet/legs would make out.  They did OK, I was wearing shorts which was a mistake since it left my legs exposed (will he ever learn?), and it didn’t take much (if any) rays from the sun to set my legs a tingling.  Man, looking at my feet, I didn’t get burned, I got roasted! 

Signed up for the 3:00 pm tour and headed back to the camper to introspect for a few hours (or doze, whatever came first).  When I got back to the trailer, I took the slippers off and oh, oh, the blister on my right foot had drained.  There wasn’t any pain, which was a good thing, but now my thoughts turned to infection, oh wouldn’t that be great…NOT! 

Changed into long pants and put on white socks and slipped on my regular shoes.  I hope I’m not making a mistake here.  The last thing I want to do, is take the socks off and have all the skin that formed the blister come off with it. Everything felt OK, so I thought, let’s go see how it works out.

 It was boat tour time.  I made it to the marina in time, boarded along with about 30 other people, and away we went. 

First, we trolled along a man-made canal and in the course of doing so, saw a manatee, and three crocodiles along the way, geez, the one crocodile we saw was HUGE. 

Trust me, that’s a manatee.

Also saw quite a few birds, one sighting in particular that stood out, was a green heron. Such a personality on that guys face, wished I would have gotten a picture, oh well, next time.  From the canal we entered into a bay that looked like a big lake.  Interesting thing is that it is so large and yet only 3-4 feet deep.  After crossing the bay, we went down a river for approx. ten minutes and then entered into to an even larger bay of water. It was neat because from the park road, you don’t know these two bodies of water are even here.  The pontoon reversed course and back we went to the marina.

The pontoon reversed course and back we went to the marina.

Overall, not a bad excursion and the cost, while more expensive than some pontoon cruises I’ve taken so far on this journey, was still in line to be considered reasonable.  It was a clean, comfortable, safe way to see a part of the everglades, while doing so in a admittedly, pedestrian manner (not always a bad way to go).

 My feet/legs held up ok, still had some discomfort, not bad considering that I ended up standing quite a bit of the time, but I am nervous about when I take the socks off.

Went into Walmart and whoa, I’ve never seen a Walmart that busy.  It reminded me of going grocery shopping with the parents long ago.  Long lines of people buying lots and lots of groceries. Then it was off to McDonald’s to wait in another long line, and then, bring me back to the everglades, too many people!!!

When I got back to camp, I removed the socks from my feet.  My big concerned was confirmed. The area where the blister was on my right foot had the skin pulled away and what was left was a big red, raw area, thankfully, it isn’t (yet) painful.  I bought some vitamin E that I’m going to apply to the skin in an attempt to prevent scaring and promote healing, and I got some gauze and Neosporin for the raw area.

looks pretty good next to the right one.
For the weak of heart turn away, don’t look.

Much of the blog during this time in the everglades has been about my legs & feet.  Boring subject matter that makes for lousy photo opportunity’s (How many times can you see burned feet?).

I’ll see how the weekend goes but may have to put this area back on the map for a future visit. there’s so much to see and do, and I’ve done so little.

02/27/19 Flamingo-Everglades, FL.

DAY #130

Slept in late (like 2:00 pm late), continuing to keep the feet elevated.  I may be a bit optimistic, but my self-inflicted injury seems better today.  The blisters are still there (they look so cool, maybe I can keep them…NOT!) along with the general overall tenderness of the legs and feet, but the swellings gone down, and they look just a little more normal.

I was able to put my slippers on and walk short distances without much discomfort.  The slippers seem to go over the blisters without much pressure.  Now at least, I’ll be able to walk around outside and go into stores if I need to get anything and not freak anyone out.  I’m thinking, it’s going to be a day, maybe two before I’m ready, but it’s a step in the right direction, so I’ll take it.  I’m still going to look like some oddball but were talking places like Walmart, so I should fit right in.

Following Doctors orders (I’m self-treating), other than using the bathroom in the morning, I stayed in the trailer/bed the entire day.  Wow talk about shutting yourself up.  I slept and read most of the time while keeping the feet up.  One thing for sure, I’m not tired, but I am a bit cranky.

Hoping tomorrow is better, and maybe I can get out and about for a while.

I know what I’ll do.  I haven’t shaved or showered all week (I’ve given myself a sponge bath, so I’m not randy), and I’ll wear some dirty wrinkled clothes. Add to that my burned feet and legs (that’s the sympathy angle) and throw in the fact I’m an old white guy, I could find a good spot and do some panhandling.  A much more pathetic (or unique) figure you would not find on the streets of Florida City.    

Hey, who couldn’t use the extra cash?  OK, maybe I’ll think of something else.

02/26/19 Flamingo-Everglades, FL

DAY #129

How’s the invalid doing today? 

A part of the nursing staff.

Woke around 10:30 am, and after a night of elevation, the legs and feet have lost a lot of their swelling and almost look to be normal in size, now to see how they handle being walked around on and no longer elevated.  The blisters look about the same and are the main detriment in being able to get foot wear on my feet. Took a stroll over to the bathroom/shower (man, are the bottom of my feet sensitive) and It didn’t feel as uncomfortable walking as yesterday, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

I’ve noticed that the skin on my face is beginning to flake off from the burn and in parts, is feeling somewhat raw (that’s just great). I’m thinking shaving, as well as showering is out for a while. Oh well, at least when I go into the less desirable parts of town I should fit right in and not be mistaken for some tourist and hit up for money or just plain hit up (now is that nice to say).  

I’ve had the A/C on in the trailer for a couple of days now and it’s done an OK job in bringing both the temp and humidity down.   Along with the other things (toilet, shower, microwave, fridge, etc.) I’m so thankful it’s working.

The weather’s continued to be hot and humid plus, have had a little rain as well, once you put that A/C on, you’re hooked, and its goodbye outside, I’m nice and comfy in here.

Later in the afternoon, I headed out to the park entrance to continue working on the blog, and to test how my recovery was doing. While I’m still enjoying the drive, 80 miles round-trip can be long just to get internet reception, plus, the trucks not the most comfortable to work in for any length of time.  I will say this, the truck is getting quite a workout, if I keep this up, it’ll be old before its time.  

I noticed that after a couple hours sitting in the truck, my legs and feet, especially the feet, began to feel hot, swollen, and increasingly uncomfortable.  I’m thinking that was the bodies way of telling me, OK, enough for today, need to go back to the trailer and get these boys elevated.

I listened and headed back to camp.  Before leaving, I went on Amazon Kindle and found another book to download.  While still a serious work in its nature, the reading should be a lot easier than the textbook that remarkably, I had just digested.

That little man called failure has been talking to me in a booming voice the last couple of days (figuratively speaking, I’m not really hearing voices), it’s been pointing out over and over howI’ve fallen down in checking out the area.  I had expectations of seeing Miami and going down U.S. 1, to Key West.  Now I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do any of that.

I’ll try and find solace in the words, tomorrows another day, and a fresh start.

02/25/19 Flamingo-Everglades, FL

DAY #128

Today I did nothing.  I went out to use the bathroom in the morning, but that was the only time I left the trailer.  The burn looks and feels about the same.  I’m so tempted to drain the blisters, but I know that’s not a smart thing to do.  Don’t want to make this experience any worse, something I need to keep telling myself.

Looks even worse close up.

Stayed in bed reading and dozing, getting up occasionally for some water and ahem, other things (so glad the toilet works).  It looks like I may have more (small) blisters forming on my legs and while worrisome, I don’t think they’ll develop into anything serious.

 It’s amazing that when the body is healing itself, you can sleep for hours at a time when normally it would drive you crazy to be in bed that long.

I’m really missing not having any TV or internet.  There’s nothing better than some mind-numbing distraction to whittle away the hours while lying in bed all day.  I’ve always liked to read, but in this age of instant entertainment options, it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and read for any length of time. Finding I’m out of practice and it’s taking somewhat of an effort to keep reading.  Of course, the fact that I’m reading what’s little more than a text book may play a role in its difficulty factor.

One other area that’s weighing heavily on my mind today. There’s so much to see and do in the area and because of this sunburn, I’m not doing any of it.  I feel like (once again) I’m failing.

As the song goes…poor, poor, pitiful me (what song is that from?).

02/24/19 Flamingo-Everglades, FL

DAY #127

Woke up this morning and instead of my feet and legs feeling better, they had only gotten worse.  Now, my right foot had a big blister just below the toes, and on my left foot, a series of blisters above my arch.  Both feet have become grotesquely (to me anyway) red and swollen, and when I got out of bed, I could barely stand, much less walk.  I thought to myself, this is not good, as I literally hobbled about the trailer.

Right foot.
Left foot.

I stumbled across the road to the bathroom & dumpster and quickly realized it was a mistake.  I couldn’t wear any shoes, so the bottom of my feet was super sensitive to the rocks, plus every step I took was downright painful.  Another situation I found myself in, where to an onlooker it may have been humorous to watch, but to me, it was downright embarrassing.

 I’ve always had this thing that no matter what, I must retain my dignity.  I don’t mind people laughing with me, but I do not like people laughing at me, or at my expense (good nature kidding is OK).  It’s another hypocritical side of me, if remaining dignified always is so important, how do I justify the meltdowns, and tantrums I have if something doesn’t go exactly my way.  I got to tell you, during those times, I look anything but dignified.  Slowly, ever so slowly I made it back to the trailer, thinking the whole way, today was pretty much cancelled.

I laid back down on the bed, putting my legs up and almost instantly, the tightness, and pain along with the swelling began to subside.  I’d found the place to be and I was going to stay there for a while.  I turned the tablet on, brought up the kindle app and began reading the book about Reconstruction in America I had downloaded.  I could tell within the first page, this was not going to be light reading. 

One thing that reading accomplished, it put me to sleep (is it supposed to do that?).  I woke a couple of hours later and felt well enough to take a bare footed ride into Florida City.  Along the way I stopped at the park entrance and updated my blog, along with checking some other stuff over the internet.

When I left the trailer, for the park entrance and Florida City, the temperature and humidity continued to bake and finally, I gave in, I put the A/C on in the truck and it felt good, really good. I turned it off while at the park entrance but then back on it went while going into and coming back from the “City.”

The plan was to go to Popeyes Chicken in town (really like their red beans & rice and their biscuits), use the drive through, and then head back to camp.  Long ways to go for fast food chicken but I could justify it by saying, it wasn’t that far from the park entrance and since I was already there…you get the rest of the story.

I did get to see a bit of downtown Florida City and it was interesting.  While today, it has become part of the great exurbs of metropolitan Miami, there was a time when it had its own distinct identity.  I was surprised at the number of 1950s and 60s styled motels.  I think at one time this may had been the gateway to the keys, but that was decades ago, and now now like the city itself, a long-faded memory.

Made it back to camp, put the chicken & side dishes in the microwave and sat down to a satisfying meal, not sure if it was worth the two-hour ride (although I still do enjoy the ride through the park).  Then it was back in bed (legs up) with tablet in hand and calling it a day.

A little concerned what tomorrow will bring.