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In case any physician or clinician tries to tell you that a large tear in the (supraspinatus portion of the) rotator cuff in the shoulder cannot be healed, other than selling you expensive steroid injections, or alternatively refers you to a specialist for a future surgery, mostly years later after having been on a lengthy wait list. Then my experience maybe helps to clear this up.

FIRST, explanation of what all these medical terms mean. [ https://physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/rotator-cuff-tears ]. The supraspinatus is one of the posterior muscles surrounding the shoulder, specifically the rotator cuff (source of many injuries), the others are trapezius and the largest the deltoid. Important to know is that these are some of the muscles needed to lift or rotate the upper arm.

 

Unfortunately, when an injury occurs, usually very painful, the first treatment seems to always be prescribing pain medications including most often steroid injections into any of the upper arm muscles. More than not, nilly/willy anywhere. Resulting in either subduing pain, not longer than 4 months, or what is worse, resulting in no pain reduction. Does that sound familiar ?

Plus, injections should always be given ‘guided’ (using a monitor) and by a specialist to know where the needle goes in. Remember, once an injection received, this treatment may go on forever, mostly not resulting in any repair of a tear in the muscle’s tendon. The opposite may more likely be the case.

Surgery ? Not the answer either. Why ? Firstly, surgery cannot be done for elderly patients because their tissue is thinner. Ergo, the tear will probably get worse. Secondly, even if the surgery is using good healthy tissue, no guaranty that pain is resolved and all is well.

Here is my case. January 2016 received an injury in my right arm. Throughout 2016 pain went into my right shoulder. October 2016 ultrasound shows sub deltoid bursa inflammation [Bursa m/l is padding between muscles and bone.], but no focal tears. November 2016 first corticosteroid injection into sub deltoid by GP (no ‘guidance’). After that, I was pain free for 3.5 months. March 2017 the second corticosteroid injection (both were using Triamcinolone acetonide) into my deltoid. No pain reduction whatsoever. Done by same GP in office unguided.

April 2017 several physio therapist sessions, with pretty severe moving of my right arm and shoulder. Needless to say the pain I suffered. June 2017 third and last steroid injection, done guided in hospital, using Depo Medrol. Again, pain was worse after that.

Referred to physiatrist specialists. End June 2017 request for MRI of shoulder.

December 2017 results of MRI id’d : Large tear involving supraspinatus portion of rotator cuff. The doctor who had requested this MRI told me, and I quote:

“There is nothing we can do about this, except continue steroid injections. Surgery is out of the question” [mind you, I never considered surgery] . More steroid injections, thanks, but no thanks.

Instead, I started healing myself since October 2017. My program:

Five times a week working in the local YM/YWCA swimming pool, aqua fit program or swim, then warm pool, weights, carefully moving my right arm and shoulder, to strengthen the surrounding muscles.

What helps is heat. When tissue is still inflamed, ice. I bought myself equipment such as ice pack, and a little ultrasound machine, for that torn upper arm and shoulder. Cannot say, that that helped a lot. Neither did Voltaren gel.

When moving or rotating my right arm, very carefully done. After not being able to lift my right arm, I can do it now, best when heated (under hot shower or in steam room). I am doing better now. Best yet, I save money by helping myself. [At this point I need to mention, be careful, follow your own instincts and programs.]

Checking the NET, there are umpteen sites on “healing rotator cuff tears”, most of them try to sell something. Found a fairly good one :

[ http://www.aidmyrotatorcuff.com/rotator-cuff/stretching-and-exercise-for-a-rotator-cuff-tear.php ]. Also my good book bought ten years ago gives lots of insights.

NOTE. I have not yet had a follow up ultrasound to actually see if that tear is smaller or fluids are still retained. Not likely at my age (80 years) I would get anything done anymore. Nor, do I make the premise that any of such injury can be completely healed.

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Los Angeles Adventurer Hotel – passing through

[ http://www.laadventurerhotel.com/ ]. Address:  4200 W Century Blvd, Inglewood, CA 90304.

In summary, this hotel is at best a backpackers inn, it is awful. 

My recent experiences summarized. On my way down south to Mexico I needed to stay overnight in Los Angeles, CA. I had booked this hotel using http://www.booking.com. It is near LAX, L.A. Airport and advertised a number of included FREE services, such as BF, free Airport Shuttle to and from, free popcorn, free glass champagne on arrival, and whatnot. When entering the small messy lobby, there is a list on the wall listing all of these free included services and extras. These are included in the room price.

I have not seen any of this FREE stuff. I arrived late L.A., called shuttle service at this hotel from the airport outside an area which is reserved for shuttle buses from all L.A. hotels. We waited 40 minutes till a large black van arrived at the Airport, to pick me up.

This hotel is noisy, smelly (cannabis smoking), and the reception on my first arrival there was unacceptably rude with another guest, a Chinese man. Yelling and insulting this man, making nasty discriminatory comments on his being Chinese, and threatening to call the police. Just because he had requested another room. His room did not have a workable shower. Was scary this situation. In all my travels, this was a first for me.

I spent a few hours, getup early and got the hotel shuttle alright, to bring me to the airport. On my return back to Canada, I needed again to stay overnight at this same hotel.

Calling the hotel shuttle service from the airport, no response, a different company responded. I took a taxi to the hotel, cost US$25. The room I got was nice, I must say, with a nice clean renovated bathroom. The TV was on, the remote belonged to a different machine, no way to turn this off. So I pulled the plug to shut down this noise.

Got up early again, again no BF.

How they charge beats me. On arrival they take again a credit card for so called incidentals, although my cost for this room is already charged by booking.com on my MasterCard. The incidentals referred to apparently are a number of little bottles inside the rooms, sample liquor bottles, in case a guest actually uses them. I would not touch any of this with a pitch fork. On departure a guest will then be asked if they took any of this. Nobody does. Then the reception make out another receipt with another charge US$35, and on same receipt a refund of -US$35. Checked my MC account online, if in fact all of this has been charged correctly. Between the (incidentals) amount the night before and the refund the night after, there is a difference in US to C$ conversion. For many guests this seems beneficial to this hotel. Credit card charges are to Crown Airport Hotel Inglewood. Check it out: [ https://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g32525-d77998-Reviews-Crown_Airport_Hotel-Inglewood_California.html ].

One month at the Marina Hotel & Resort,  located at the Bahia Santa Cruz. There are seven Bahias (beach areas within secluded bays). [ https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/oaxaca-state/bahias-de-huatulco ]. The sand here is nice and yellow and the water of the Pacific clean and clear. Despite, that this is also an area for local fishing boats.

This entire area referred to as Huatulco lies along the Pacific Ocean within the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Meaning this is a highly touristy area with its seven bays of beaches and therefore frequented by many Mexican families, as Mexico City is only one and a half hours flight from any of the Bays. Because of its decent pricing, the Marina Hotel Resort is one of the largest attracting many Mexican families. Use ear plugs to sleep. Everybody is very friendly, especially if you make the effort of speaking Spanish.

Coming from Canada, British Columbia Pacific Coast, the temperature difference feels enormous on arrival. I had booked a difficult connection between Vancouver Airport and Huatulco, with stops at Los Angeles, CA, where I had to take an overnight hotel, then on the next day via Mexico City to the final destination Huatulco Airport. We do have direct flights from Vancouver, Canada. The flying did not bother me that much. I only had a small suitcase with me, quick in and quick out.

This is my fourth vacation to various locations in Mexico. However this area is different as it has been developed on the basis of an extended resort and beach area. Not offering cultural and historical sights.

I have to admit that I do not favour Mexican food. But at Santa Cruz Bay there were so many hotels and restaurants that one could always find something good and delicious. In fact I dined mostly at the Holiday Inn across the road. They even take – besides Pesos, also MC or American dollars. Which means that a meal could become quite cheap. I also bought fresh fruits and vegetables at the little grocery stores, plus there are weekly markets where produce is cheaper.

Throughout this month the weather was always hot with very high humidity. The little town La Crucecita. is a short 1km walk uphill along beautiful landscaping including natural stone steps and walls. Delightful. If it were not for the constant irrigation, there would be desert instead of those beautiful plants and trees.

The best yet is the high level of safety everywhere. I always travel alone and walk alone. I could walk at night up that hill in safety. With the number and levels of security personnel and guards, from hotel, beach, municipal, State and Federal. I never witnessed one altercation or problem anywhere.

Friday the 16th February we had a 7.2m earthquake nearby in the State of Oaxaca, direction of Puerto Escondido. I could feel the building shake in my hotel. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_Oaxaca_earthquake ] . Of course this happens often particularly along that stretch of Pacific Ocean from all the way down south up to Alaska.

Santa Cruz being the heart of the Marina, many tourist boats are leaving from here to any of the other bays. While most of the restaurants are along the beaches. Taxis are plentiful, most operating on fixed prices, 30 Pesos.

We did a nice day tour to the Hagia Sofia Sabiduria Sagrada, a large 130ha Botanical Park. Its a unique agro-ecological development with many different plants and flowers, fruit trees, and butter flies and birds. As well as wildlife [not to be seen during the day]. All food is grown on the property, and visitors are invited to delicious organic breakfast and lunch, all included. The setup is amazing, somewhere is the Santa Magdalena River and an opportunity to take a dip and go behind the little water fall. Change cabins are there and a naturally constructed shower facility as well as WCs. Cost was MXN800.

My next trip will be to the other side of Mexico.

Mexico – safe travel location

Mexicans do not steal.

I traveled four times to different locations in Mexico, never had anything stolen. Having now spent over three weeks at the Bahias de Huatulco, southern Pacific, a grand tourist location. Examples of my experiences: Hotel safe, not necessary here. No cleaning staff touches any guest property. This includes cash money, jewelry. When arriving I had forgotten my cash Pesos in my room, thousands, left openly on the wardrobe. Coming back afternoon after the cleaning lady had done my room, found everything where left. Today buying some fruits in my little grocery store, paid with a 200 Peso bill, thought is was a 20. Can happen when your  brain fries in the heat. They called after me with my exact change. Even when I said I am an idiota, they said, NO, es normal. Don’t you love it !

Want to try this in Canada or the USA  ? Don’t!  Most of valuables I had stolen was exactly in those countries. And these were not hotels.

How safe is it here for a single lady ? Couldn’t be safer. I could go out at night after dark alone. There is lots of specialized security personnel and police and auxiliary police. Everywhere, even in parks.

Taxis. When I travel I usually do not take taxis. Here the prices are pretty much fixed, there is no hustling.

 

 

 

 

 

My Trip to Huatulco, Mexico

s.a. Previous post MEXICO TRIP TIPS.

This southern Pacific area, Huatulco, is a large tourist area, full of many hotels and resorts, they also sell condos here. It has expanded in scope tremendously over the years. Most of the infrastructure along the many bays now consisting of hotels.  Not long ago there was only desert. Seems construction here is never ending. Because of the vicinity of Mexico City (only an hour’s flight from Huatulco), the majority of visitors hail from there, families with small children. Of course, there are also resorts for Canadians, as well as the obligatory American Holiday Inn. The entire bays area received apparently the UNESCO Biosphere and other ecological accreditations. Large areas here ecological reservations.

Although one gets good return for dollars, prices are not low. Some restaurant prices are comparable with ours on Canada’s Westcoast, which is one of the most expensive. The cost of a taxi for a 20 minute ride is 30 $MXN. That’s cheap. There are also regular bus services to further away areas.  A BF here would be around 60 or more, that’s like over 5 C$. Ice cream the same, a piece of cake more. Dinner on the average from small $140 MXN to anywhere up to 300 per meal. The breakfast that’s included with our hotel stay is mostly taco with some cheese sprinkled on top and always eggs, coffee, a fruit plate or orange juice,  the fruit always water melon and papaya. Bread around here always only white bread. Weekends buffet, lots of food. I get from the small store tomatos, also found apples, bananas are the other staple fruit. Coffee with milk, often coconut milk, very sweet. Saturday’s market stuff is cheaper, but not much variety. In the nearby little town La Crucecita found a pastelaria selling pastries. Still no brown bread.  Of course lots of seafood and fish. Not bad.

MEXICO TRAVEL TIPS

UPDATE February.  

NOTE. Any of these tips are based on my own experiences, you should always follow-up and use your own advice.

This will be my fourth trip to Mexico. Different considerations, because of a long and interrupted flight connection and because rules have changed. I’ll stay 4 weeks and need to be prepared. Let me say that in all of those visits I never met any Mexicans who were not friendly, accomodating and helpful. They  definitely do not deserve a “wall”.

BAGGAGE

I will have three stops and long layover times at each, requiring hotels for overnight in Los Angeles. Meaning that any checked in suitcase will never arrive at my final destination. Decision, take one small carry-on suitcase and wear most of the clothing on my body. Coming from Canada is cold, arriving southern Pacific Huatulco is hot. Best, not to wear any winter clothes for the four hours it takes for me to get to Vancouver Airport. Instead, wear multiple layers of summer clothing and hoodies on my body. Pack only the most necessary items, like First aid Kit, couple summer tops, sun screen, and vitamins. [NOTE. All creams, liquids in plastic outside thru security check.] Leave space when arriving south to peel off your clothing and put into carry-on suitcase. Also, when traveling I always wear my special vest for wallet, passport, during trip toothbrush kit. The hotels will have everything I need.

MOBILE PHONE or CELL

I do not take mine this time, although it is unlocked. Reason: As per January 2018 there are new rules for immigration and customs controls. Like, customs agents can take possession of your phone, check data, download files or other stuff, for no reason whatsoever. Or, maybe just keep your phone. They now have the right without telling you why. Instead, if phone is needed the hotel may help. [NOTE. Easy to get SIM card on arrival Mexico City Airport, largest service provider in Mexico is Telcel. I usually buy call package only for international calls, if I take my phone.  Check it out:   [ http://extras.telcel.com/en/international-calling ].

Should have taken my mobile phone for at least emergency.

COMPUTER

Will take my iPad, camera kit and chargers. Hopefully get some decent network somewhere down there. Mexico is not exactly North America. Huatulco Marina Hotel Resort , no WiFi in my room, need do my business in the hotel lobby in the heat and noise.

FOREIGN CURRENCY

I am just going by my own experience in many travels, not browsing thru hundreds of travelers’ forums on this subject.

You can buy foreign currency in your bank account, then pick up at your branch (+/- 5 business days). Of course there is always gouging compared with the actual currency rates (C$ to Mex. Peso).

Example: RBC Canada has an online foreign exchange calculator site. These rates are the current 2018 rates for non-cash purchases. Buy cash foreign exchange thru your online bank account you will pay more for Pesos. It’s for the extra work to send and pickup the cash. When ordering Pesos at your Bank branch and you pick up you’ll get the rate as of that day of pickup. When buying Pesos at an ATM machine in Mexico, you may get better conversion rates. Problem is, how reliable are those machines ? Two things can happen: (1) The machine is physically out of cash, you get nothing except for charges to your Bank account. Therefore, always use ATM machines during the banking hours, not weekends. * (2) Your Bank can cancel your bank card (happened to me multiple times). Forced to use a credit card costs a bundle in those machines. So, best to buy expensive Pesos before leaving. US$ don’t help much, Mexicans prefer Pesos, and small bills. Nobody changes MXN 5,000 bill for you. *[NOTE. Machine out of cash, happened to me in Alberta, I was lucky I get my money back next business day from that Bank.]

UPDATE Huatulco Mex, RBC again cancelled my bank card, as they always do. Something wrong with their security programming.

WATER and FOOD

Careful, mostly not potable nor even suitable to brush teeth. Use bottled only or dilated juice or whatnot. Food: I like my veggies and fruits, only fruits I can peel.  UPDATE. Hotels provide bottled water.

TRANSPORTATION, TAXI

I would never book any shuttle bus before trip start from a website. And be charged for it immediately. Because, most of these websites service airports and locations all over the planet. Don’t expect your pickup is there when you arrive after a lengthy flight way south in Mexico. Taxis, inside airport are double price than outside. Best get airport map ahead of time to know where you are when arriving. 2018 taxi maybe max. MXN 300 from HUX Huatulco to Santa Cruz resort area, if shared bus or more if private car. 

UPDATE. Huatulco, Bus from airport to resorts only 140 Peso.

HOTEL

Never go by those beautiful elegant pictures they show you on a hotel’s website. Minimum, expect noisy air conditioning. Who knows it may be just wonderful. Never forget ear plugs.

Always be prepared, and GOOD LUCK.

The Christmas Tree

There are three kinds of Christmas Trees.

The first and most commonly known today is the tree that Christians put up in their homes and decorate during the end of December. This kind of tree – not only because of the fire danger – is mostly an artificial tree, decorated with the most outlandish tinsels, glittering with lights and ornaments. Often plastic angels top the tip of the tree. Its main use today is for presents laying down under this tree. The good part is, it can be recycled, it does not burn, and one live tree saved.

The second kind of Christmas Tree is the real wonderful natural tree growing somewhere on a faraway mountain, surrounded by snow on the ground and happy people. Today the Christmas Tree is a center of our activities and gives meaning to the Christmas Season. When I lived in Alberta in the mountains, my tree was always outside and alive.

The third type of ‘Christmas Tree’ (when I was a very young child), were the warning lights of Allied bomber planes during the heavy bombings of Germany, including my hometown 1940 to 1945. [We called them Christmas trees, Weihnachtsbäume.] Lights illuminating the entire sky just before the bomb loads were dropped during night bombing raids by Lancaster and Halifax bomber airplanes. A warning for us children to hide somewhere.


 

Germany and Europe has become a different world. Not only as a result of the first major terror attacks in the United States, followed by regularly recurring attacks in public places, including North America and elsewhere.
But for me also of looking more critically at differences of life in general in North America as compared to my former (long-ago) homeland Germany.
In Summary: In my 52 years after having left it, (that is 43 years out of Europe), living, working and travelling in North America (US, Canada, Mexico) I have seen so much, met so many different peoples, and had so many unbelievable experiences that if I would even consider moving back to where I came from, it is like shrinking my brain from it’s now large size to a small pea, or having to wear some giant Scheuklappen [blinkers]. It’s all a matter of perspective.

TRAVEL TIPS.
Nonetheless, Visiting Germany one can be assured that most everything works efficiently. Not anymore their public transit system, because of shrinking public roads and excessive automobile traffic. And so many people. As a Canadian, I can say that, because we have hardly any population in the second largest country.

Good city maps are always tough to get on the Internet, in fact the ones you find are more or less useless. So, on arrival in any city in Europe first thing ask for city maps and regional maps.
I arrived Frankfort Airport. To get to Wiesbaden is easy: From the Airport Terminal 1 take the S-Bahn (Rapid Transit) S8, also works S9, to main train station, from there find the Bus to get you to your address. Free WiFi at Frankfurt Airport may work certain areas only. I got a copy of the entire transit network in Canada from the Internet: http://www.rmv.de, Regionaler Schienennetzplan and Schnellbahnplan.

The day of arrival I prefer to pay a one way ticket for the Bus, to first get to the wherever one resides. After that I buy a monthly bus pass. Strangest thing is, one enters a bus in the middle door, the driver does not care to see your bus pass. But beware, any control and you don’t have a pass, can cost 100$. In Hessen, Rheinland-Pfalz, I bought a monthly bus pass for the region Wiesbaden-Mainz, it includes also the S-Bahn.The monthly bus pass also includes the city of Mainz across the river Rhein, best to use is S-Bahn.
Mobile phone (in Germany called ,Handy,) setup is easy. Enough options offered by competing network servers with SIM card, special outlets or super markets or other stores. Buy the plan with the SIM on arrival.
The nicest thing about Wiesbaden are it’s many hot springs (Thermen) and Spa’s. There are many in this entire Rhine-Main region, which rests on a thin earth crust, therefore the many natural hot springs. Thousands of vineyards, good wines, too. Germany’s largest river Rhein offers plenty of river cruises starting Mainz/Wiesbaden along this most beautiful stretch of Germany, up to Cologne.

Propaganda or eyewitness news ?, which in other words means my own personal experiences. Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei) was an equivalent to today’s citizens’ control and spy organizations, but operating within a fascist dictatorial rule, like in Nazi Germany. Nazi derived from National Socialist, the type of government under a dictator, subjecting citizens to very strict rules of obeisance. The only rule under the Nazi regime was: If you are NOT with us, you die. The punishment of choice was the guillotine (head shorter). During those times of WWII, a large number of extremely dedicated SS officers were needed for this Gestapo to function like a well oiled machine to keep the population under control. Control being the operative word. The Gestapo being the enforcers. Since they mostly operated enforcing their terror on civilians (the regular German army was at the Front, Russia) this had been even more traumatic, especially to small children. In order for this system to function as well as it did, an important aspect of it was the reliance on certain dedicated Nazi citizens to report on others, like neighbours, friends, even family. That is exactly what happened to us, my mother, sister and myself. A neighbour in our building, probably a superNazi, called in to the Gestapo reporting that my mother forbade us children to say Heil Hitler in school. I was 5 years old at that time. One day, our door bell rang, there were two Gestapo officers at the door, came in, checking out our flat even the attic, they thought my father who at that time was at the Russian Front, was hiding somewhere. Because my mother had two little children, that saved her life. Later that afternoon she tried to commit suicide, taking pills. I’ll never forget. And all this in the middle of the war, being subjected to daily and nightly bombings. Question remains: “What is so different now compared to then, with Government spy organizations controlling and terrifying citizens ?”

Located in Lower Saxony, Germany. Early history shows human settlements in and around before 12000 B.C. The actual town began to develop around the 9th century, early founders two Dukes of the Welfen Dynasty, and growing as a merchants’ town. During the 12th century the most powerful noble Henry the Lion (Heinrich der Löwe), Duke of both Saxony and Bavaria, founded not only Braunschweig with its many interconnected market towns, but also Munich, Lübeck and Lüneburg. Interesting to note: His father in law was King Henry II of England. By the 19th century Braunschweig was made capital of an independent Duchy. Braunschweig’s centre piece the Saxon lowland Castle (Burg) Dankwarderode from the 12th century exists today restored. Reconstructed during the 19th century and major damages suffered during the war.

The interesting part is about the Lion statue, which was built in honor of Duke Henry the Lion in the 12th century and erected in the center square of the Castle. It is the largest and oldest preserved bronze sculpture of the middle ages. The original Lion – to prevent from being destroyed during WWII – is now inside the castle museum, and a replica erected in the castle square.

The legend of the Lion: Henry the Lion went on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. From there he brought a lion back with him. When Henry died 1195 the faithful lion as a result refused all food, and died at Henry’s grave. I was born in Braunschweig, and left my home town in Fall 1961. I remember from this Lion saga, that as children (not during the bombings of our home town but after 1945) we went to the Castle. At the large front portal there were large it appears claw marks in the stone, marks – the story goes – were made by the lion.

Brauschweig also has a dark past. Adolf Hitler who came over from Austria in 1913, paid deciding visits to Braunschweig in the early 1930th, starting the “brown” wave of the Reich and was made a German citizen February 1932 in Braunschweig. Which led to Hitler become Chancellor of the German Reich (consolidation of Austria, Germany and who knows else) on 30 January 1933. Not too late to revoke this “citizenship” thing ? [ http://www.spiegel.de/international/revoking-the-fuehrer-s-passport-hitler-may-be-stripped-of-german-citizenship-a-471168.html ]

Between September 1943 and April 1945 Braunschweig suffered at least forty large Allied bombing raids by the British AF and the American USAAF mostly B17 bombers; the worst October 1944 by 233 Lancaster bombers, destroying 90% of civilian targets. The American bombers focusing onto industrial sites. April 12, 1945, followed the invasion of the 30th US Infantry Division in Braunschweig. Subsequent occupation by British forces. I know, I was there, five years old then. [British Forces Germany, permanent deployment to end by 2020. As of 2015 there were still over 5,000 troops in Germany.].

Today’ Braunschweig: largely reconstructed areas, rebuilt formerly historical quarters, modern buildings, some ridiculous American inspired funky buildings, and populations having moved here from anywhere in the world.