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Mike McCullough
Historian & Photographer of Rhododendron Occidentales & Ships

In 1995 I went to the Kaiser hospital in Santa Clara due to challenges with my knees.
The doctor who I saw took X rays and said my knees had very little cartilage and that I would qualify for handicapped parking due to the condition of the knees.     Said that I was not interested in having a handicapped parking permit.
When I go to a store such as the Safeway on Hamilton Avenue and the Orchard Supply near San Carlos Street,
both in San Jose, I park a far distance from the store and walk from there, in order to get exercise.

For some time I have been interested in Rhododendron occidentale.
I am a long time contributor to the Seed Exchange of the American Rhododendron Society

The plant hunter Mike Creel, the codiscoverer of R. eastmanii, called me the Indiana Jones of Rhododendron occidentale.
The only area I have not explored is the Cascades and Sierras. 
If I had a TARDIS instead of a Taurus, would be able to explore this area.

Over the years, the pain in my knees would come and go, and be within the manageable range.

Unfortunately during the hike developed heavy pain on both of my knees.   Like some other people, after a setback, I am quite capable of rebounding.  In knee challenges and other challenges after I have been blocked, have found a way to keep on going.

Most of my rhododendron related activities involved plant hunting; and I attended American Rhododendron Society activities in Los Altos, Santa Cruz, and Berkeley, and I visited places such as the San Francisco Botanical Garden, University of California Botanical Garden, and the Gardens at Lake Merritt.
Also recorded history in places such as areas not far from the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, Vallejo, Mare Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Pedro, Long Beach, and Seal Beach.

The type of Fall foliage found in the Rhododendron occidentale colony.
A plant hunter about to eat an apple pie at the picnic area on November 27, 2013.
In July, 2014 at the end of the plant hunting season and after my last plant hunting trip, went to Kaiser, had some X rays taken, noted that on my right knee there were two areas where it was bone rubbing against bone, and arranged for surgery to be done on my right knee on Wednesday the third of September.

On the second of September stopped eating and drinking before 11 PM, which is something I did for all my operations.  At Kaiser, they like to operate on one who has an empty stomach.
On the third of September, showered, dressed, and my brother Don brought me to Kaiser before 7 AM.

When I woke up, after the operation, sometime after noon, there was food waiting me to eat.  I went under before being wheeled into the operating room and woke up in my room. Had a portable AM and FM radio with me, but even though my bed was on the North side of the hospital building and I was on an upper floor not far from a window, AM reception was non existent, ergo I listened to classical music on KDFC?

On knee replacement surgery, Kaiser keeps patients at least over nights.    Sometime into the wait to go home, my brother asked a nurse if we could have some coffee, and here I am celebrating the release by with some coffee.  My brother took these photos.

After my brother drove me home, it was some time before I could enter the apartment since before heading to Kaiser I did not change the keys from the old pair of pants to the clean pair I wore to Kaiser, and it took some time for my brother to locate the manager.  After I got inside, was some time before I could go to bed because the material brought home from Kaiser was put on the bed, and I had to move some boxes to make a space to place the walker. Was too tired on Thursday to do any of the exercises.

Brought home from Kaiser a walker (which though is the tall model is to small for someone 6 foot four inches tall) to help me walk, and a throne extender which enabled me to issue royal proclamations from a higher elevation.

I did the exercises on a regular basis. Knee strengthening exercises.

Besides exercising, I used an Incentive Spirometer which I obtained at a class before the operation.  A Incentive Spirometer is a three legged camera
I have seen quite a few bad photographs by people who do not use three legged camera assistants.
The first time I heard the word "SELFIE" was when I heard reports of this Selfie photo.

The photo is obviously a bunch of heads, no rest of the body, and no indication of the scenery.  Quite a few times when I was waiting South of the Golden Gate Bridge for a ship to come in, I have seen people taking "selfies" of themselves with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.  That type of photography has no perspective; all it is, is a giant head with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. In a proper photograph the person must fit in with his or her surroundings.

On Saturday September 6, my right knee looked like this. Every two days I changed the dressing.
I started walking the day after I came home, and on the second day was circumnavigating the apartment complex I live in.  Two circumnavigations equal about fifteen minutes which is the amount I should at least walk.  Have gotten to the point that I make one circumnavigation in the morning and another one in the afternoon.  My rhododendron growing area is on the other side of the garages.    Walkers are safety hazards.
After the operation I have been getting up sometime between 7 AM and 9 AM. Before my right knee started acting up, use to be a morning person.  Hopefully I recover from this operation, and very likely an operation on my left knee, I shall again be a morning person.