Friday, June 30, 2023

Am I the only person on crutches?

 Am I the only person on crutches? In three weeks on crutches I have only seen one other person - in the doctor’s office - on crutches. It’s not fair (whining).

Three weeks ago on 6/10 I fell on my injured hip (more of the history below) with all my 175 lbs. Oh, my. I was a half block from home and had to be picked up by car; I couldn’t walk. An hour plus in urgent care and (my blood pressure was 70/something) 5 1/2 in the ER. “Nothing broken; all the hardware is in the right place. It’s soft tissue damage and will (or should?) heal. My goal was to be mowing the lawn in a week. Ha!

The trip to doctor 10 days later was the one-year check on my knee replacement (pretty good) and I show up on crutches!

Yesterday after 19 days I was starting to go around the house using one crutch, which means 90% weight bearing and occasionally 100%. Two crutches when going places. And I am a semi invalid - long naps. But even with that progress my hip still says “uncomfortable" with every step!!. A few more days to walking. Current goal: mowing the lawn in a week.

History: In 2008 I fell riding my bicycle down a steep hill in the rain a few blocks east of Bill Gates’s office in Redmond (before he retired). I refused help from passersby, but it took me a few minutes to move my butt 3 feet to the curb so I accepted a ride to my car. Next to Evergreen Hospital. But when they saw I had smashed the acetabular (hip socket) they sent me to Harborview Hospital in Seattle. Waited a day in traction. 6-hour surgery. 6 days in the hospital. We hired a cabulance to get me home (“but your insurance won’t pay for it”). Then 7 days without leaving home. I was so weak that they didn’t put me on crutches, but I used a walker as crutches. I have never seen another person doing that. The walker is an amazing combination of light and strong, but it’s not designed to carry one’s weight. (I got excellent care at Harborview.)

Three months off work and 3 months on crutches, non-weight-bearing. When I returned to work I worked in the morning and slept in the afternoon. By Christmas that part-time schedule cost me 200 hours of work at my expense. After 5 months I quit making progress; surgeon didn’t believe me on my next check, but on the one after that he showed my on the X-ray that my injured side was 3/8 inch shorter. After 10 months to Valley General in Renton for full hip replacement. Another month off work and 2 months on crutches again. But this time I was 50% weight-bearing. It’s a big difference to be able to stand with weight evenly divided instead of the strong leg having to do all the work. Using crutches after hip replacement is unusual. It was because they did a bone graft. Another: Why didn’t they tell me before!?

Three months after the second surgery I gave up the cane and walked on my own. Maybe a month after that I realized that no one was noticing how I walked. I had no limp; didn’t expect that. That was a big victory!

I only worked another 6 months until I retired. Did no business trips those 6 months versus several per year. At that point Boeing had moved so much work to California that meetings that used to be a 15-mile drive became a 2-day trip.

For the 14 years since I have kept walking every day. I am slower and go at my own pace but am a little jealous of people who obviously are on longer walks. And I love to walk beaches which always are uneven and require more energy. Bonus: I saw three bald eagles across the street this morning. Two landed in a tree 200 feet away, but I failed to get a pic.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Make everything use electric power. And shut down electric power plants

Gov. Jay Inslee logic: Shut down electric power plants at the same time you require more use of electricity.

He is rejoicing the shut down of the state's last coal-fired power plant in Centralia, WA in 2025. How will Puget Sound Energy cope? It gets 14.5% of its electricty from Centralia. 2025 is not far away. What will they do? They say they are studying options in Seattle Times 5/30/2023. (PSE provides electricity to 1.1 million customers - households and businesses - in Western Washington.)

So in the future we will have less electricity from coal. Less electricity from natural gas. Less from hydroelectric dams. Gov. Jay also wants to tear down four dams on the Snake River that provide hydroelectric power. Less electricity.

You say: solar and wind will provide more than enough. But the sun doesn't shine at night. And the wind? On and off. And the dream of batteries storing energy and  providing it at night is a dream. For all the talk no one has done this at the scale required. Oh, Germany has some batteries... Yes, building toward 1 per cent of the load (and for several days of outage). For all their talk the UK is in the same situation. More on this below.

So we need power plants that can run at any time, not dependent on sunlight or the wind, as back up to solar and wind. 

The next step by Jay Inslee logic is to require stopping use of gasoline, natural gas, biomass and any source that can emit CO2. And replace them by electricity - of which there will be less.

Electric cars required, not gasoline-powered. Cooking by natural gas: make it illegal. Heating by natural gas? No. Must be electric.

Uh... Gov. Jay, how will you keep the lights on and the cars running?

Frances Menton of the Manhattan Contrarian blog did an in-depth study on the energy storage problem - storing power for when solar and wind provide no power. It is the source of data on Germany and UK. See The Energy Storage Conundrum at Global Warming Policy Foundation