Hi, Kate. Thanks for the expressions of concern about us here in Taiwan. Yes, we did take a real beating/drowning with much property damage and a still unknown number of deaths. I'll share whatever details I can scrape together after Carol gets through summing up the local news reports for me. My Mandarin Chinese has lapsed quite a lot from what I could once manage as a foreign exchange student here thirty-seven years ago, but I did catch a brief comment on TV that reminded me of Deputy Dubya Bush after Hurricane Katrina. Someone asked a man busy cleaning up the mess around his house how he felt about President Ma Ying-Jiou visiting the area recently. His instantaneous response: "Mei You Yung" (meaning "useless").Take care, and I'll update you on happenings here as they develop.
Since we live in a multi-story steel-reinforced cement building, we had no worries about getting through the storm intact, but we do have a twenty-foot-tall statue of Kwan Yin (the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy) in front of the house and the winds managed to blow it over. I got involved with some friends of Carol's father and we got it standing upright the other day, so I got a good sense of its weight and how strong a wind it took to topple it. Unfortunately, some of the less well constructed houses in our neighborhood lost roofs, walls, and sustained a great deal of water damage. We feel very lucky and grateful by comparison.
Additionally, I got through my two days in the hospital OK, but I didn't make out quite as well as I had hoped. As I told you and Stan previously, I had two stainless-steel stents implanted in two of my cardiac arteries six months ago but the angiogram examination showed one of them not working as well as the other. So the doctors used a balloon to dilate the existing stent and then put another one (more expensive and self-medicating) inside of it. So now I have to come back in six more months to see if my body has rejected this one, too. Anyway, the whole procedure went smoothly and took only an hour and forty-five minutes -- compared to the three hours I had to undergo the last time. Hopefully, in six months I'll find myself well on the way to many healthy, productive years to come.
In any event, my blood analysis came back excellent right down the line. I even managed to reduce my total cholesterol count from 225 (with 200 about normal) down to 106. Other measurements showed no diabetes or any other potential health problem. My diet and excercise regimen has really paid off over these past six months and my doctors couldn't get over how much weight (23 kilograms) I've lost. They said to just keep on doing what I've done and keep expecting the same good results. Again, I feel really lucky to live in a country with a decent national health insurance program.
That will about have to do for now. I think I'll turn in so I can wake up early tomorrow morning and get back to my exercise walks. I want to start getting in even better shape for our upcoming trip back to California over the end-of-year holidays to visit family and friends. I have plans to go surfing at Huntington Beach where I spent so much of my carefree youth.