Thursday August 20th 2015

 

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 24. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers late this evening and after midnight. Periods of rain beginning overnight. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Low 12.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today is predicted to be warm, but tomorrow will be rainy.

I went out and began yard work, then got a call from my accountant.  He was able to see me, so I drove to Three Hills and went to the bank, bought groceries and had a meeting with him.  It was 1430 by the time I got home.

The day is turning overcast, but warm.  I have supper to make for six of us tonight.

A right is one reason that putting hives up on pallets or blocks is a good idea.  My new floors are sitting on the ground and grass is growing up, blocking the entrances.  The bees don't mind, though.

After I got home, I started supper and after cooking and cleaning, I was barely ready when people arrived.  We had a good supper.  After, I cleaned up and was done at 2200, then I watched an episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  From start of preparation to finish of cleanup, supper took me seven hours.  Hmmmm.

I went on Amazon afterwards and ordered a DVD set of the first season of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries for my mother, sent anonymously.  We'll see how she likes it.  She'll either love it or hate it.

I also signed up for Canadian Amazon Prime -- the free 30-day trial anyhow.  I already have Prime on US Amazon, but it does not carry over to Canada and they don't tell you when you sign up. 

Amazon is a mess that way.  The Canadian version is cheaper, but does not include streaming video.  It does include cheaper and faster shipping.  I should have signed up before I bought several items the previous day.  I would have saved over $20, I think.

Jon uses US Amazon a lot since he sells items he does not want there.  In the US if you list an item, it is sent to their warehouse and fulfilled efficiently from there.  Amazon works much better in the US, but is working on making the Canadian service better.

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There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.
Doctor Who

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Friday August 21st 2015

 

Today Rain. Amount 20 to 30 mm. Wind becoming north 20 km/h then increasing to 40 gusting to 60 near noon. High 13.
Tonight Rain ending late this evening then clearing. Wind north 40 km/h gusting to 60 diminishing to 20 late this evening then becoming light after midnight. Low plus 4 with risk of frost.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today is rainy and cool.  At 1000, the gauge (which lies) says 1.7 inches.

Maddy is off to Spruce Grove and Acheson today to pick up bee supplies.  The purpose of her trip is actually to deliver Custom Woolen Mill products lies, too and get mill supplies, but she is driving a truck and can get the bee supplies along the way.

It turns out that Beemaid does not have either Pierco or Acorn one-piece frames in stock.  I had intended to obtain some to have on hand for Sunday.  I am not impressed.  They charge a high price, but do not stock the item.  Beemaid's prices are high and that is justifiable if they keep ample stocks on hand, but it seems they do not. 

That Lithium ion battery continues to expand (right).

Today was one of those wasted days.  I did a few things, but nothing of consequence.

I should mention  another Alberta beekeeping page, one that has been around about as long as my site has: Bad Beekeeping: The Beekeepers' Home Pages. Here is his own description:

"Bad Beekeeping: The Beekeeper's Home Pages website is mostly written by Ron Miksha, who lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ron's honey bee blog is updated at erratic intervals, with sticky new entries typically pasted in weekly. Photos and art are his own - unless otherwise attributed - or are from public domain sources

This site covers almost everything about the beehive, bees, and honey. Ron has worked with bees in Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin, Saskatchewan, and Alberta and peeked into hives on three continents. Read our site for honey bee tips and opinions on everything from colony collapse disorder and Africanized honey bees, to queen bees and bee pollen, to building a hive and hiving a swarm... it's all here, but mostly this site is a chronicle of opinions and observations about the environment, politics, and culture.

Ron has written dozens of bee journal articles and has also penned the book on Bad Beekeeping, which is called "Bad Beekeeping," for obvious reasons. If you are wondering why this blog is sometimes weird and hard to understand, it may be because Ron is also a geophysicist - but has also been a beekeeper for a few dozen years. Ron's family operates Summit Gardens Honey Farms, a western Canada honey bee farm specializing in comb honey. So, this blog might be considered "A Physicist's Guide to Comb Honey Beekeeping Gone Bad".

Neither of us can remember exactly when we started, but it was sometime just after the Big Bang and our first involvement was on or through through CompuServe.  We did not know one another at the time.

My site goes back many years before I began the diary which I begin on Friday March 3, 2000.

Friday March 3, 2000

I've intended to write a diary for some time, and now I've made a start. We'll see how long this inspiration lasts.

Spring is getting near. The pond is showing signs of melting and we put away the hockey sticks today. The snowmobile is next, although...

I began my site sometime in the nineties. It was first hosted on the Calgary Unix Users Group (CUUG) servers and accessed via dialup at very slow speeds on a party line.  Then I moved to interode.net, a now defunct WPP, and finally bought my own domain, contracted servers and sold web services for a while.  I still host a few clients.

It's a rainy day, the markets worldwide are crashing and I'm a bit depressed about other things anyhow.  Exercise helps,  so this afternoon, I got on the treadmill and walked a kilometer.  That was enough and I then got onto the elliptical trainer for a few minutes.

I have a 32" TV down in the Gym with a WD TV Media Player so I can watch Netflix while I work out.  It keeps me from getting bored.

I'm out of shape!  Tired after one kilometer?  I usually walk a mile without tiring.   I'll go back and work out more in a while. 

I've been meaning to be more active for a while now. I got out my bike the other day and started to blow up the tires, but got distracted and never did go for a ride.  It is sitting out there in the rain right now, waiting.

I walked another km and then another half and lifted weights and rowed.  The brake on the elliptical trainer broke, so that is out until I repair it.  The electronics were already gone, though, so maybe it is time for a replacement.  The ET is a good workout for walking and skiing.

I watched two episodes of Scrubs and one of Miss Fisher and I'm going to bed early. 

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The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Arthur C. Clarke.

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Saturday August 22nd 2015

 

Today Sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this afternoon. High 19. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight Clear. Low plus 3 with
risk of frost.

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Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I slept well and found the power was off when I got up.  I called the power company and there is some sort of unknown line problem.  They are working on it.  No problem.  I need to work outdoors anyhow to get ready for the event tomorrow.

So far, the weather looks perfect  for the Bee Day, so I have to get the yard ready and write the instructions for the announcement to email to people coming.

On going out the north door, I was distracted by new weed growth on the driveway after the rain, and the wet gravel.  I had sprayed the weeds with Roundup two days ago but they are as green as ever, or greener.  I've discovered it takes weeks for the full effect to show up.  Anyhow, I dragged the rake around a while and then pulled the old motorhome out of the North Yard to be ready for the crowds.  I'll mow, too. 

I'll also need to locate and lay out some beekeeping items for show and tell and move lawn furniture around.

I really have no idea at all how this Bee Day thing will go down.  It was just one of my crazy ideas and I ran it up the pole to see who would salute.  As it turned out -- seemingly everyone.   Now I have to make it happen.  I'll be posting details this afternoon and asking for RSVP so I have a notion what to expect, but I suspect this could turn out like a block party.   We'll see.

I mowed much of the north pasture for parking and began hauling over chairs and tables.  I also cleaned up the yard a fair bit and burned some tree limbs and old pallets.

I worked a full eight hours today and feel great.  The place is looking good, too.

This evening, I emailed all the people who said they want to come.  That turned out to be a job that took over an hour -- possibly as long as the event itself

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Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
John Kenneth Galbraith

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Sunday August 23rd 2015

Today Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 25. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 8.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up early, at 0455, got up, and had breakfast.  I am up for the day it seems.   I could use more sleep, having been up until midnight, but today is Bee Day and I must be excited.  I don't feel excited.

I'm not worried, either.  I don't get stage fright.  Maybe I should, though. I've heard it said that the best performers get stage fright even after many years of performing.

And, I do imagine I will have to perform, and in front of a group made up mostly of strangers, a fact I am just now realizing.

As far as I can tell, the reactions I have received have been very positive and a little surprised.  When I think of it, not many people would invite a horde of people they don't really know to come over and look at their hives.  I guess I just assume that no beekeeper is really a stranger.

What's in it for me?  When I think of it, probably nothing.  This is just something that seemed to need doing.

This whole event is based on my notion that people will show up more or less on time, park where indicated, and when everyone has arrived (except the inevitable stragglers) we will gather around the North Yard hives and go through them one-by-one working on them and commenting. 

I plan to have supplies on hand and to take things as they come.  I'll just do what I would do if I was working alone.  I know that will not quite be possible, but I'll do as close an approximation as possible.

I am hoping to record the whole thing.  I have some cameras and a person lined up.   If the recording is any good, I'll perhaps even post it to YouTube.

The picture at right is of beekeepers inspecting hives on a visit to the bee lab in Baton Rouge in 2003.  I hope to do something similar, but expect people will be wearing veils.  The people in the picture are pros and very experienced.  Most of my visitors today are newbees I suspect.  We'll see.

The weather promises to be nice, so that is not likely to give me issues.  I have an idea what I will need to do.  I've glanced at the hives and they vary from big hives that are plugged to small, possibly queenless hives.  I'll talk about what I am doing and what I see as I go.  No matter what I come across, I am sure it will be of interest.

Many of these coming have little or no bee experience.  Most have a hive or two, but for some, this is their first year, so anything they see or learn will be new to them.

I have no firm idea, however, how many people and how many vehicles will arrive.  I am guessing twenty to forty people and that could be a problem.  What if there are sixty?

Twenty is not too hard to handle, but if I have forty, that will mean that I have a crowd.  Sixty?  That could be a swarm.

Parking could get complicated and when looking at hives,  some may have trouble seeing -- or we may have to split into two or more groups.  I might have to draft another experienced beekeeper to do a second group.

Forty people in a circle, allowing four square feet per person makes a circle of 4 x 40 = 160 square feet. A=p r2\ r2 = A/p or r = 160/p  or >7 feet.  That means that some would be at least seven feet away from the hive.

Meijers are coming, so I have some moral support and proven expertise at hand.  Maddy, Jean, Chris and Mckenzie will be here, too, to help finish setting up and to guide cars and people around.  I'm sure the attendees will be helpful, too.

So, this whole thing is hard to visualize in advance.  I have done the basic planning and setup with allowances for the more unpredictable aspects.  From here, it will be whatever it will be.  Worst case, everyone will have a nice drive in the country and I'll have a nervous breakdown.

*    *    *    *    *

After writing that, I went back to bed and slept another three quarters of an hour. 

My weight today is 229.6 pounds, so, in spite of an active day yesterday and being reasonably careful what I eat, I am not losing.  On August 15th, I weighed 228.1, so it seems I have gained a pound and a half.  Time to get serious again.

If I am serious about losing another ten pounds, I am going to have to be more disciplined, I am afraid.  I'm quite comfortable at this weight, but do intend to keep reducing.

The math is quite simple.   To maintain current weight, recommendations are to consume around 3,000 calories a day assuming moderate activity (less if inactive). 

To lose one pound, I need to eat 3,500 calories less than that number, so if I eat 2,500 calories a day, I should lose a pound in one week.  If I eat 3,500 calories a day, I should gain a pound in one week. That is the theory. 

I have not been keeping careful track this month, but I thought I was keeping around 2,500, but my activity may have been less than I had estimated.  In fact, I know that some days I have been quite sedentary.

Ah ha!  I recall I ate some tortilla chips yesterday and the day before, so I got out the box and read the 'Nutritional Facts' panel.  Whoda thunk that 15 little chips (50g) would contain 260 calories?  One bag is 454g or 2630 calories -- or a whole day's calorie ration! 

I may have eaten a bag over several days, along with my normal diet.  That alone would account for a gain of 2630/3500 = 0.75 pounds or half the gain since the 15th!  Wow!

I had a full tank of RoundUp in my hand sprayer, so I started the day spraying weeds.  Next, I have to set out more items in readiness.

*    *    *    *    *

The Bee Day went off well, with an ideal turnout. There were about twenty of us. 

Everyone had a great time. Thanks to all who attended and Fern for bringing coffee and cake.

The bees were calm and nobody needed a veil. I wore shorts and a black tee shirt.  We went through a number of diverse hives, examining brood and discussing differences between hives as we went, then extracted several supers of honey as well, out in the open near the hives without any interference by bees.

The Meijer brothers, Joe and Oene, were here to consult as well, so attendees were able to grill three professional beekeepers on a range of topics.

We did several alcohol wash varroa samples and confirmed what Medhat mentioned earlier: varroa loads seem very much higher this year than some years and higher than I have seen in my operation ever.

In my case, I will be pulling honey and treating with Apivar immediately. I had planned to do that anyhow, but the results of the samples indicated that further delay would not be advisable.

Considering that these hives were treated with Apivar in spring and split as well, t
his may indicate that other beekeepers should expect the same or worse and should be doing alcohol washes immediately -- or risk losing hives over winter.

Here are the results of the two samples we did.

The first hive yielded 13 mites in 146 bees or 9%.  We counted both bees and mites.

We did not need to do any more.  The yard will be treated ASAP.    This small sample shows conclusively that these two hives are over threshold by a lot.
 

The second hive  yielded 55 mites in 170 bees or 32%.  Deformed wings were observed, but no riding mites were spotted.  The hive, at first glance seemed quite normal other than some bald brood.

Purists will complain we should have done 300 bees, but why waste nurse bees? Precision is not an issue when hives are so far over threshold.

Now, we could have just fluked onto the only two hives in the yard with high loads, but the odds are that there are hives with higher and lower infestations.  I could waste time testing every hive or just treat the whole yard.  There are good arguments for both, but my time is limited and I can treat all much faster than test one by one.

Also, Apivar is slow-acting.  That is why it stays in for two worker brood cycles (21 days each) or three worker capping durations (14 days each).  During that time, a lot can happen -- drifting, emergence of hidden varroa, etc., and  and hives showing light loads could prove to have hidden infestations.  There is no time for second chances, either.  In  42 days, we are at October 5th and that is getting late for effective treatment.

Besides individual samples are not all that accurate, due to operator error, chance, uneven varroa distributions in hives...

Jean shot video during the afternoon.  I had thought to edit it and upload to YouTube, but I am unsure of the ethics of posting a video showing people without their permission and I had not thought to ask.

The video is excellent and I judge my performance to have been excellent.  I hadn't really thought about it, but watching made me judge.  I noticed that I am very much at home with bees and read them confidently and naturally -- and I tend to be a bit droll.  I'm also more agreeable than I was beginning to think. 

It is an educational experience to watch yourself perform. I guess I knew all that, but watching myself as I would someone else, I was generally pleased and can see why I get a little respect now and then.

On the other hand,  I knew I was fat, but I have been kidding myself how fat.  I knew I need a better tailor, but had not realized how awful my shorts and tee shirt are... and that hat!  As for my hair, I need a trim in the worst way.  I think I need to clean up a bit.

*    *    *    *    *

I have not read BEE-L for quite a while now, having become tired of snipers and game-players, but decided for some reason to take a look tonight.  I found the discussions I bothered to read to be quite level. 

One thread that stood out is Thoughts on grafting.  Here is one post from the thread.

Subject: Re: Thoughts on grafting
From: randy oliver   
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2015 08:11:30 -0700

From Punnett, EN & ML Winston (1983) Events following queen removal in colonies of European-derived honey bee races (*Apis mellifera*). Insectes Sociaux 30(4): 376-383.

"Of the queens which emerged 91% were reared from brood which had been egg sat the time of dequeening."

The above strongly suggests that queens reared from newly-emerged larvae were those not later culled by the bees.

However, Tofilski (2004) Emergency queen rearing in honeybee colonies with brood of known age. Apidologie 35: 275282, found bees allowing queens reared from larvae up to 3 days old to emerge.

Interestingly, various posts in the thread seem to confirm and  reinforce points I have observed and reported in the past, but which have not been acknowledged generally and, in fact, were dismissed by self-proclaimed  'experts' on the list who insisted on claiming that emergency cells are inferior to grafted cells and are often from older larvae.  It seems that over a few years the easier availability of information via the Internet has made a difference and the truth has emerged dominant.

  • I have observed that colonies often do not start raising emergency queens until the last of the eggs in the queenless hive hatch.  That can mean a three or four day delay after dequeening for some walk-away splits.
  • Given emergency cells started with larvae of various ages, only those which were started with the youngest larvae are permitted by the bees to complete development.
  • A frame of brood given to a queenless hive should contain older eggs as well as larvae.

The quote from the second reference does not indicate if the bees had any other choice, i.e. younger larvae.  I would assume that if they had only three-day larvae, they would have to make do and take what they could.

Also of note:

  • Grafting with larvae of various ages in a batch -- e.g. 48-hr and 12-hr larvae -- will result in queens emerging over  a day and a half, rather than all at about the same time, making dealing with the cells more difficult.  Choosing a consistent size of larva is therefore desirable.
  • When grafting, it is helpful to remember that the youngest larvae will be right next to the eggs on a frame that has larvae in the centre and eggs further out.

Will I return to posting on BEE-L?  No.  Will I read BEE-L often?  Don't know.  Probably not.

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All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.
Sean O'Casey

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Monday August 24th 2015

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Local smoke. High 27. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Local smoke. Low 9.

Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I have my work cut out for me.  I need to pull the honey from my hives (how many do I have?  I forget) and insert Apivar ASAP.  My plan is to go to the coast on Thursday, but those plans may have to change.  I'm not sure how much I can do in three days, and these three days will be hot.

I don't have to go to the coast  I just noticed my boat is not booked for the next two weeks and thought it might be nice to go out.  No sense putting myself under pressure.

I weigh 228.4 today, so this demonstrates once again that daily fluctuations of a pound or two are not unusual and make spotting a trend difficult.  What is clear though is that I am plateaued at around 228 and if I want to lose weight, I will have to cut back.  That is more difficult with guests to cook for and leftovers in the fridge.

Moreover, I must remember that although my calorie budget is as high as 3,900 calories on an active day with four hours of 'gardening' (that is as close to 'beekeeping' as the Fatsecret activity list gets), the budget drops to 2,500 on a less active day.  That is a big difference.

Out of curiosity, I entered yesterday's activity and meals in to Fatsecret and see I did have a 1,500 calorie deficit due to the activity, so maybe there is a closer hour-by-hour correspondence between food intake and weight than I thought.  It is hard to believe that results are so immediate, though. 

On reflection, however, it makes sense.  Why would there be a delay?  If you burn fat, weight should disappear as water and CO2 right away. 

I suppose I had assumed that the changes in water retention would affect readings so much that the real weight loss would be hard to see.  Weighing at the same time each day, in the morning before drinking or eating gives a fairly consistent reference point for bladder and digestive system contents. 

Having an accurate scale with decimal point precision like the one I bought allows for observing things that are not apparent on a less precise scale.  I could hardly get readings to be accurate within a few pounds using the analog scale.

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Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
 If you love what you are doing, you'll be a success.
Albert Schweitzer

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Tuesday August 25th, 2015
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Ten day forecast

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Greetings from the Red Deer Hospital Cardiac Unit.

Seems I had a small heart event Monday. Suffering from bad indigestion that nothing seemed to help, I went to the Three Hills hospital at around two.

Although by the time I arrived i was feeling somewhat better, and initial tests did not indicate anything much, they kept me for a few hours. A second troponin test indicated a problem that had me transported to Red Deer around midnight.

I've been here since then and I'm still in Red Deer this AM.

At present we are waiting for word from Foothills for an opening and then I get a ride there for tests and possible treatment.

It's quite an adventure. Not one I would have sought, but one I am enjoying. I could easily become spoiled with all this attention.

At any rate, I did not bring a computer and am limited to my phone -- that is the reason for missing diary posts over the last several days

Anyhow, with any luck I should be home later in the week.

 Wednesday August 26, 2015

I'm still on hold in Red Deer. Supposed to be going to Calgary but Foothills Hospital is full due to smoke.

Monday morning I went out to work on my bees and did a couple of hours work then went in for lunch and a rest.

At 1300, I went back out and started again but I soon felt unusually uncomfortable indigestion and went back in for a while. I tried Tums and also drinking some soda pop but nothing seemed to clear the indigestion so I decided to go to the hospital.

I took an aspirin, loaded Zippy into the van and drove to the Three Hills hospital where I was immediately admitted and tested.

Nothing really seem to show up and I wasn't feeling too bad by then but they said stick around until 8:30 to have another blood test done. I did.

In the meantime I wandered around and even went grocery shopping.

At 8 they drew more blood and by 9 I was told that I would have to stay in hospital due to a troponin reading of 0.93 that indicated something was going on. I called Maddy and ask her to come and get Zippy, so she did. That left my van sitting in the hospital parking lot. At that time I had no idea how long I would be away or even that I would be ambulanced to Red Deer shortly.

Just before midnight they loaded me into an ambulance and took me to the Red Deer hospital where I was admitted into the cardiac care unit.

I had notified my daughter when 8 left Three hills and she showed up at the hospital shortly after I arrived, stayed a little while, then left.

I was given pills and a needle and spent the night under close supervision, hooked up to various devices.

Tuesday morning I was given various medications and needles and the day passed with the promise that I would be taken to the Foothills Hospital in Calgary for further evaluation and treatment shortly. Jean and the kids came to visit. I watched a lot of Netflix.

Wednesday passed much the same way with promises of transport to Calgary but nothing materialized. I have been catching up on sleep, probably totaling fifteen hours. I was in contact with Maddy Bert and Fen, and Bert offered to fetch my van from Three hills.

The problem was that Jean had my key up at Gull Lake. Bert had not been to Jean's new house so I suggested she invite him for supper and Bert drove up to the lake got the key and I assume took my van home.

Thursday at 0930, I was wheelchaired down for an echocardiogram. Apparently they can't tell me anything detailed from that, though, but i assume they could see something because they are letting me walk around now.

I guess the lack of urgency shown by Foothills after reading my data indicates that I am not in grave danger. They are also busy there due to smoke-related respiratory and heart issues in Calgary from the stickpin fire in Washington State. Calgary air quality was 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 yesterday.

https://goo.gl/photos/Gg1cyFFhS1GBcTTa9 

Writing all this on a phone is quite an experience and I cannot find good things to say about Google Keyboard. It's really not very easy compared to some other ones I have used iin the past. Some of the icons are in the right place but others are in places where I hit them by mistake and large areas are taken up by the tap to pause button.

 Thursday August 27, 2015

Nothing much to report

 Friday August 28, 2015

I was awake at 0400 for blood tests and breakfast, then slept until 0630 for more tests.

At 0700, I'm off to Foothills for an angiogram scheduled at 0900. It's a ninety mile ride in an ambulance.

From there, who knows? Assuming all goes well, either I stay there a day or so and am released our get a ride back here. Both places are equidistant from home.

 Saturday & Sunday August 29 & 30, 2015

I chose to stay in the Red Deer Hospital until Monday so they can do a stress test. That was my idea. Otherwise they would have released me today.

I want to have an idea where I stand and be sure how much exertion I can stand.

Assuming all goes well, I'll be released Monday afternoon.

I'm entertaining myself, but am not sleeping as much.

I can see today that I was weaker than I had thought and being here has been good. Until today, I might have been fine, but was not quite myself.

The staff are excellent.

Monday August 31, 2015

At 1400, I went down for a stress test.  It went well, with no issues, so I was released just after supper.

Jean drove down to pick me up and we drove to Birch Meadows for the night.

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No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it
Andrew Carnegie

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