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Friday, July 19, 2024

Daily Life

Recently, it was 39c or 102f outside. We decided that because it was so miserably hot and we don't have air conditioning in the house (common in this part of the world) that we would have a picnic at the lake.

The lake that we go to is located about an hour away from us by car. At the lake there is a lot of shade and they sell ice-cream for dessert. It is a nice place to swim and relax. 

Really we did nothing special. However, Sayo, Neyda and Ana were there. We got the chance to chat catch up and just relax. 

I throughly enjoyed myself and Eliana had a great time. We didn't do anything special but when I die, and hopefully get to Heaven, I will miss those little moments of eating some good food and relaxing with family and friends. I hope it is not something I will long for while in Heaven.

Til next time, Tyler 

Friday, July 12, 2024

Modern Life

I was just thinking today about how lucky I am to be alive in 2024 (and hopefully a lot longer). I was extremely lucky to have been born in Texas in 1984.

I had access to great doctors and nurses who in turn had access to the knowledge and technology to save my life. Had a been born somewhere else or a few years earlier, I might not have made it. 

Thirty five years later I got lucky again to be in Spain and have the Spanish healthcare system save my life again. This has been a long, slow, difficult road to recovery. However, I will get there slowly but surely.

Living in 2024 we have tons of modern technology that our ancestors could only dream about. Daily life is no longer hard in the modern world.

We have access to all of the food, water, housing and basic necessities that we can afford. Gyms are such a huge industry because so many people are overweight and unhealthy.

That is a very modern problem. Due to modern medicine and healthcare we are living longer than ever. Until recently, people lived short, hard lives just trying to survive day by day.

These days we have the privilege of hopefully living until old age. Statistically, most of use will probably die from something related to old age, our bodies just wear out. We are lucky in that respect. For most of humanity we never had to even think about that. 

Due to modern technology, it is theoretically possible to have all of your daily survival needs met yet to not interact face to face with another human being. The Internet has been one of the world's most important inventions, but it can also be used to cause harm. 

One of the biggest threats facing humans are humans themselves. If global warming doesn't wipe us out, it may be nuclear war, A. I. an asteroid, a disease or something we don't even know about yet.

That is why I try to take advantage of every day that I am still vertical. Because none of us know how or when we will take our last breath. 

Til next time, Tyler 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The State of the Titanic Wreckage

I considered making this a status update on my Facebook page but I decided that I had more to say so a long format blog post would be better.

Today I was taking my daily stroll through Wikipedia. I read one random article a day so that I can expose myself to things that I would never think of looking up. 

Today's article was about the Wreckage of the Titanic. Everyone should know that it sank in April 1912 on its way to New York from London on her maiden voyage with the loss of over 1500 people.

The wreckage was found in 1985. So the location has been known for my entire life. I am 99.9% sure I will never visit the wreckage but it is nice to know that I have the option.

In the article, it said that scientists believe that by 2037 the wreckage will be completely gone. Eaten by time and bacteria. Provided that I have the opportunity to live until 2037 (hopefully!) 

It is strange to think that in my lifetime, they went from discovering the wreckage to it being completely gone. I wonder how many other things have come and gone within my lifetime?

My great grandfather (dad's grandpa) was born in 1903 and he died in 1992. That means he was born before the Titanic sank and died after they had found it.

By the time Eliana is 18 years old the wreckage will be totally gone. She won't be able to visit it even if she wanted to.

As far as I know I didn't have any relatives aboard the Titanic but for those who did, I wonder how they feel about it. 

That's all for now. Thanks for reading, Tyler 

Monday, July 08, 2024

Eliana Valentina

I know that I have mentioned my daughter Eliana Valentina before but I wanted to give her a special blog post dedicated just to her.

Jenny calls her Valentina and I call her Eliana. However, she answers to both names. Jenny and I couldn't agree on her name, so we decided to combine both names so we would both be happy. 

Generally speaking, everyone who speaks Spanish as their native language calls her Valentina and everyone who speaks English as their native language calls her Eliana.

She is kind, caring, loving, intelligent, funny, sweet, empathetic, loyal, helpful, determined, friendly, patient for the most part. Of course because she takes after me she is also stubborn. 

In many ways she is a typical toddler. She cries and fights with us and makes us crazy. However, her good qualities vastly outweigh the bad.

As I have previously mentioned, I waited a long time to have a child and now I regret that I didn't do it sooner when I was younger and healthier. I waited so long because I was scared of the big responsibility of parenthood. 

That being said, I love my daughter more than anything and I am so lucky to be her dad. I was worried that she would treat me differently due to my speech issues and my limited mobility. However, she has always treated me the same as any able bodied person.

When Jenny was pregnant, I was terrified that Eliana would be born with my medical problems. Luckily, nothing I have is genetic and she was born perfectly healthy. 

The worst thing she has had thus far, other than your typical flu and cold is hand, foot and mouth disease. Luckily, we were able to clear that up quickly with some cream. 

She has dealt with a lot in her short life, mostly due to me being sick in one form or another for the entirety of her life. I hope to give her and Jenny a chance at a normal life. They are my motivation to keep going. 

Eliana has been blessed with amazing grandparents (Jenny's parents) and my parents have been great. Even though they are far away and don't get to see her in person as much as they would like. 

My parents have given me an excellent example of how to have a good marriage and be a good father. 

She is looking forward to our visit home this summer. She will get to meet my last remaining grandma (her great grandma) and all of my extended family plus spending time with my parents. 

I like to joke that she is 3 going on 30. Sometimes, her maturity level shocks me. She is ready to be an adult. 

She is also completely bilingual in both English and Spanish. Even though she always responds in Spanish, I speak to her exclusively in English and she understands me completely. 

I am looking forward to watching her grow up and I hope to have many more years with her and Jenny. 

I wanted to quickly mention that I had a friend who sadly died in a car crash on Thanksgiving weekend 2010. She was in a car that was hit by a drunk driver who was also texting. He had a good lawyer though so he only got his drivers license suspended for a year plus six months of community service. 

Her mom sadly has never really gotten over her death (she was only 27)and I couldn't understand it really until Eliana was born. After holding her for the first time, I could finally understand the depth of the love she still has for her only child. I got a glimpse of her pain and I pray that it is something that I never have to experience. I could also understand the love that my parents have for me. 

Eliana is my legacy and hopefully she will live on long after I am gone. 
Eliana I love you to the moon and back and you are the best decision I ever made. 

Love, Dad

Sunday, July 07, 2024

Summer Fun

I am very excited to announce that my mom will be coming to Spain to visit us from July 30th until August 28th and then Jenny, Eliana and I will be going with her for Eliana's first time visiting Texas.

We will stay in Texas until September 13th. Hopefully the flights will go smoothly for everyone. We will be flying from Pamplona to Madrid and then onto Dallas. It will be Eliana's second ever flight. She did well with her first time though. The flight from Madrid to Dallas is 10 hours though so it is not short. 

We are very excited to see everyone, friends and family. We have lots of fun stuff planned to see and do with Eliana.

I am sure that my dad will be happy to see his granddaughter again and my grandmother will be happy to meet her great grand daughter for the first time. My brother's will also be excited to see their niece. 

We are at the start of a big festival here in Pamplona called San Fermines. Everyone takes this opportunity to have a holiday and millions of people from around the world come to Pamplona. Everyone traditionally wears all white clothes and a red bandanna. 

We are excited for the future. Til next time, Tyler 

Saturday, July 06, 2024

A more detailed look at my progress

So I recently had an evaluation of my progress at the place that I go to for my physical therapy. In a nutshell, I am making progress slowly but surely.

A more detailed explanation is that I am walking (still assisted by a walker) slower than a year ago when they tested my walking pace for a continuous six minutes. 

However, I am walking with more precision and control than a year ago. So the speed doesn't matter to me, I am not looking to win any races. So I'll take that progress. 

Secondly, I had to do a test where I had to move blocks from left to right (then right to left) across my body as fast as I could. I completed this test actually slower than a year ago but this time I had no back support. 

So I had to support my entire upper body. A year ago I did it faster, but they gave me a chair with a back on it. So again, that is progress that I will take.

Next, they made me push circular buttons which lit up with a specific color in a specific order and I had to tap the correct lit button as fast as I could. 

Then, they made me act like I was going to pick something up off the floor, but I was holding a metal bar that weighed sixteen pounds. It tried to pull me forward and I had to use my strength to fight against it. 

Lastly, I had to stand up (without moving) unsupported for fifteen seconds. Then, I had to raise up first my right foot then my left foot onto a stepper then back down again. I passed this test as well. 

I asked my therapists to rate my progress on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being no progress, and 10 being totally normal. However, they told me that it was too complicated to rate myself like that because there are too many different individual factors to take into account.

If I was forced to rate my progress from 1 to 10, I would rate myself between 4-6. I feel like anything less than 4 is unfair to myself and anything more than 6 is being too generous.

I understand that this is a marathon and not a sprint. However, I am a lucky guy who has a very supportive family and friends. Even if it takes me 5 more years to get back to normal, I am lucky that my condition is not degenerative and will not get progressively worse, only better with time and effort.

I go to physical therapy 4 days a week to work on my balance and walking. I also have speech therapy once a week to try and regain my ability to speak normally and get off the thickener that I have to add to my liquids. 

I have great therapists in both speech and physical therapy. I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to take advantage of the services that they offer.

I am blessed and lucky to be alive and functioning for the most part. I look forward to the day that I can walk again unassisted and speak normally again and drink liquids with no more thickener. 

My hands still shake when I get overly tired and my fine motor skills are still lacking but the swaying feeling that I had (like I was constantly on a cruise ship) is gone. I am still relatively young mentally, but I am trapped in a body which sometimes doesn't listen to my brain. 

That is the most frustrating thing. To have my brain healing faster than my body. I am trapped in an old man's body. 

All of these things may seem simple to people who are without medical conditions but I assure you, they are not easy for me. However, it is good for my practice and my excellent therapists always have new and unique challenges for me. 

Overall though, things could be much worse. As long as I don't need anymore brain surgeries or to go back to the hospital I will consider myself fortunate.

Til next time, Tyler 

Friday, July 05, 2024

The Supreme Court Decision

I was reading the news on July 4th and I found out about the most recent Supreme Court decision. It is ironic on a day meant to celebrate our freedom, liberty and democracy that decision came down which will affect all of it.

I won't say that I was surprised by the decision but I was disappointed. Someone who is not disappointed is Donald Trump. Now the chances that he will be criminally charged with anything are slim to none. 

I am bothered by the fact that if Trump is reelected, he can now do whatever he wants without fear of punishment of any kind. 

Of course there are rules that say that a President may be prosecuted but they are so broad and badly defined, they might as well be non existent. 

What worries me even more than Trump doing something bad (which I expect) but that a future President will do something horrible without the fear that he/she will be punished. 

All the conservative judges voted for the new law and all the liberal judges voted against it but unfortunately they were out numbered. 

This decision is especially bad because it was decided by the Supreme Court. There is no one to appeal to. Now, we just have to hope that a person acting in bad faith doesn't take advantage of this giant loophole. 

Because now the President can literally kill someone in public and not be charged with anything only because he/she is the President. Scary. I am not happy with the new direction the USA is headed in. I am thankful to be living in Spain. 

Til next time, Tyler 

Tuesday, July 02, 2024

Common Knowledge

I assumed for many years that there were common facts or knowledge that humanity agreed upon around the world regardless of the culture, country or language.

However, that assumption was wrong. One day Jenny and I were talking, I don't remember how, but we stumbled upon the subject of how many continents there are in the world. 

Being American, of course I said that there are seven. She quickly disagreed with me. I remember laughing and calling her crazy. 

Then I asked her to list all of the continents in the world. She then said America was one continent. In Colombia and Spain they don't split North America and South America. 

In Colombia they also don't consider Antarctica a continent because only scientists are there for research purposes. In Spain, they don't split North America and South America but they do consider Antarctica a continent. 

For those of you keeping track at home, that is five total continents for Colombia and six for Spain.

Jenny and I laugh about it now but it was crazy to me at first. I will be very interested to see what they will teach Eliana in school. 

Til next time, Tyler 

Monday, July 01, 2024

Unavoidable Things

In English, we have a famous saying. It goes like this "There are only two unavoidable things in life, death and taxes."

We all have to die one day. None of us know how exactly we will die or when. My eventual death (hopefully a long way off) doesn't bother me. 

As I have previously mentioned, I am looking forward to my next adventure. What bothers me, is thinking about the eventual death of my friends and family. 

I don't want to live without any of them but I know sooner or later I will have to. 

That is the reason why I am such a big believer in living life to the fullest every day that we are given. Because none of us know how long we have left. Remember, you can't take your money with you when you die and dead people can't talk. 

Til next time, Tyler