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I had another followup appointment with my orthopaedic surgeon on Thursday. He is very happy with the way my injuries are healing, and doesn’t want to see me again until a year from now. The range of motion in the wrist and shoulder are getting close to where they should be, but the last little bit is going to come at the expense of a lot of stretching. The ankle swelling issue seems to have improved a bit in the last week. I still need to spend some time each day with my leg up, but not nearly as much time as I would have in the past. The range of motion in the ankle is still far short of what I hope to achieve.

Terry had another MRI yesterday, trying to chase down the cause of some of her back pain. Her neurosurgeon is on vacation until the second week of September, and we aren’t sure where Terry sits on his priority list, so it isn’t clear when she will be able to get back in to see him again to discuss the MRI results and see what treatment options she has. She has a fair bit of pain, which is mostly controlled by some pretty powerful pain killers. Hopefully this is not a permanent situation.

Sunday I went out to the hangar to work on the aircraft, and hopefully go flying. My big task was to retorgue the main landing gear attachment bolts. They were torqued when I installed the landing gear legs, and they were supposed to be retorqued at 10 hours of flying time, and every 50 hours after that. The retorque at 10 hours slipped through the cracks, so I really needed to do that before flying again.

I pulled off the access covers on the bottom of the fuselage, briefed my helper on his job, then climbed in the cockpit to get at the top end of the bolts (I put them in with the nuts on the bottom, which is the opposite of what is shown on the plans, as it is pretty much impossible to get a torque wrench on the top end, and it is not good practice to torque the head of a bolt). I quickly discovered that I had a major problem - there was a nut coming in sideways above the head of each bolt that made it impossible to get a socket in there. I couldn’t come up with a better solution, so I removed those four structural screws and nuts to get access to the bolt heads. The next fun part was that you had to go through a small oval shaped access hole to get at the bolt heads. Once you put your hand in, it blocked your vision, so you had to work by feel, trying to get a socket on a bolt head which was in a corner, and there were fuel lines, brake lines and wiring bundles in the way too. Great fun. We eventually got all the bolts retorqued, but at the expense of a lot of sweat, and a bit of blood. I found that the bolts were slightly below the required torque values, but they weren’t too far off the mark.

It was a very, very hot, humid day, and I was absolutely beat by the time we finished. I still had to reassemble things, and do a compass swing before I could legally go flying. I was clearly not in a good condition to go flying, so I cancelled the planned flight. The annual inspection is due at the end of the month, and I’m going to be on the road almost continuously between now and then. I think I’ll put off any hope of flying the aircraft again until I finish the annual inspection, compass swing, etc in early September. Oh well.

I’m in Montreal all this week, for tech review meetings on the mythical CSeries airliner project. This project has been on again, off again so many times I have lost count. This time it looks like they are serious about it.

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  • Guest

    I hope you get to fly your RV soon. At least you're flying something else while you're waiting!

    I know a bit about disk herniation : I was diagnosed with 2 herniated discs in my neck (C4-C5 C5-C6) as the result of a bicycle accident (got hit by a car that blew a red light). The pain was really awful. At one point, when I was moving my head forward, the tip of my fingers would get numb! The disk was pressing on the nerve that comes out : the pain would go down to both shoulders and upper arms.

    It was around a year ago. I'm better now thanks to a couple of things : sold my motorcycle (the weight of the helmet was not helping), changed my computer chair, got a new pillow with neck support (tempur-pedic). Osteopathy also helped a lot. I now stretch my neck muscles 2-3 times a day. In the past weeks I felt so good I forgot I had neck pain!

    There is not much you can do to cure a herniated disk but with careful attention to movement and head position, while reading for example, you can be OK.

    By the way, it was nice meeting you at Osh. You looked well.

    Hope you and your wife feel better soon.

    Have fun.

  • Hi - Thanks for sharing the good news about your neck pain. That is
    encouraging. Although one neurosurgeon said a few weeks ago that he was
    sure she has herniated disks, the radiologist's report from the MRI she had
    recently got talks about bulging disks, along with a variety of other issues.
    Hopefully she won't need surgery.

    Her neurosurgeon won't be back from vacation until the second week of
    September, so everything is on hold at least until then. Terry recently got a
    home neck traction device, and it seems to help.

    Kevin Horton