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Back surgery -> Thanks Goodness for binoculars!

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#1 mplkn1

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 06:48 PM

Hi all -

Been in deep lurk mode (and some sheer absenteeism). Had back surgery a couple of weeks ago. Nothing like back surgery to knock your astronomical observation plans into a cocked hat!

My 8" SCT weighs in at about 70 lbs mounted. My other rigs weigh less, but the surgeon has placed a lift limit of 5 to 10 pounds on me for the first six weeks following surgery!

Last night we had a nice clear sky clock, and a beautiful sky to match! I wandered outside, took one look, marched back inside (well, I'm not exactly marching yet) and grabbed my 10x60 Mariners (legal at 3.2 pounds).

Milky Way - I thought of Dave saying, "It's full of stars!" (Arthur C. Clarke, "2001" reference). Drank it all in for minutes and minutes, handheld, lying on our deck.

Then Jupiter, using our van windshield as a lean-on elbow brace. Fabulous! 3 clear moons in a row and a big, beautiful planet!

Came back in after a while, thinking, as I said in the subject line, "Thanks goodness for binoculars!"

Cheers, all - I'll be hanging around...

Best wishes,

#2 btschumy

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 07:10 PM

Michael,

Glad you are on the mend. Sounds like you will be bino-bound for a few more weeks. I guess there are worse things in life.

#3 Bob W6PU

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 08:37 PM

Michael, now you have a justifiable reason for getting a new BT 100 ! :lol:

Bob in NM

#4 brocknroller

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 12:11 AM

Mike,

Glad to hear you are almost "back" in action (if you consider binocular astronomy a step toward telescopic astronomy, some see it as an end in itself, like me, who sold his telescopes, partly due to a bad back -- I'll send you info about the Pennsylvania Bad Backs Astronomy Club that Steve M. and I founded :-) -- but mostly due to too many CLOUDY NIGHTS, like tonight).

While you are lying on the porch, you might want to try the "neckpod" Kenny discussed.

One thing you DO NOT want to do is stand up and bend backwards to look up near the zenith w/ your binoculars. That's absolute murder on the lumbars w/out advanced Tai Chi training!

It's getting late, Mike...my mind is going...I can feel it...I can feel it...
http://www.palantir....001/sounds.html

#5 KennyJ

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 01:26 AM

Michael ,

Good to see you post ( ur ) ing again ! :-)

I'd started to wonder about your whereabouts .

It is underSTANDable that you're REARing to go , and seeing the DISC of Jupiter again must have sent shivers down your SPINE .

BUTT , depending on the exact nature of your operation , two weeks sounds a little early even to be holding binoculars , which probably puts more stress on the back than most people would realise .

I'd hate to hear of you getting in LUMBAR for doing too much too soon .

One of my daughters had an operation on her back over two years ago , and it was only following MONTHS of specialist physio that she felt any better than VERTER middling !

I second Brock's suggestion to give the reclining chair / neck monopod combination a try until you get BACK to full mobility .

Regards , Kenny

#6 mplkn1

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 03:22 PM

Egad - Good advice surrounds me!

Thanks, guys, I'll just have to return to my attic and keep sighing for a while - (that's my Sciatic, don'tcha know...)

Meantime, I'll hang around and try not to be a PITA (Pain in the Caboose).

Best wishes,

#7 DJB

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 04:39 AM

Hey Michael,

I trust your recovery is rapid and complete. Even tho this is off topic, I have to relate that my back was injured in an inductrial accident in 1994FEB.

They gave me an approx 27% sucess rate, as I recall, if I went in for THE operation. A friend of mine had three, coming out worse each time. So, good luck in your recovery.

Anyway, this is the reason I like lower power and lightweight binoculars these days. But it is also the reason that I love the Canon IS binoculars, even tho the 15x50 IS is a little bit of a chore.

Suffice it to say, heavy tripods and I do not mix well these days. Best to you.

Best regards,
Dave.

#8 mplkn1

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 11:02 PM

Dave et al,

Your best are gratefully received. I've been given a fair chance of avoiding further surgery if I maintain discipline as to weight and motion limits for a solid twelve weeks.

In light of this, and to return the thread to topic, I've been giving some thought to the methods dreamed up by some of our equatorial-mount-toting comrades to harness basic machines to the challenges of moving mounts to and from their place of use.

I speak of the Wheel and the Lever, to whit: the Handtruck!

Perhaps there's hope for us in the Technology that Built the Pyramids!

The BT-100-45s would certainly address the neck-craning piece, if I could just move them into position. There's also the front-surface-mirror-that-you-gaze-down-into approach. I'll have to ruminate on this.

Thoughts, after all, are both weightless, and free....

Cheers and best wishes to all,

#9 DJB

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 01:48 AM

Hi again Michael,

Just a thought, but are you in a position to ask neighbors to help you with a setup of heavier equipment?

Best regards,
Dave.

#10 mplkn1

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 10:42 AM

Dave -

Well, between family and neighbors, yes.

I'm really thinking in terms of designs to facilitate things a couple of months down the road. For Dad's Day my wife & guys got me a folding webbed outdoor chaise lounge - I immediately thought of a parallelogram mount.

And a corner of my mind is mulling over some of the contraptions our like-minded and inventive colleagues have dreamed up and shared with us all.

That night I went out with the 10x60s (top of this thread), I REALLY watched the mechanics of everything I did. It was clear that near-zenith viewing was totally (or nearly) out of the question - but I did get a quick look around Hercules, nearly exactly overhead - just enough to assure myself that everything was still there.

Jupiter was a piece of cake - fairly low in the southwest, but above tree and roof line, easily seen from our driveway. Facing my Eurovan from the front, I leaned forward with a near-straight back and rested my elbows on the windshield. The moderate weight of the binoculars was largely carried by my forearms bearing on the windshield. It was a good solid handhold position, and easy on my back.

The payoff was well worth the cautious effort, and a heck of a lot more fun than caaaaarefully sweeping the kitchen floor, or tying my shoes, or doing deep knee-bends to place a dish in the dish washer!

Thanks, all!

#11 DJB

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 01:59 AM

Hi Michael,

Sounds like you are well on your way to sorting this out for yourself. Great. I prefer to remain independent myself.

Your last paragraph surely puts things into perspective! I have found that standing in front of the bathroom mirror to shave is one of my worst enemies.

However, I have to shave. But we all want to observe, so I feel that those who share "our" back problems will find constructive resolutions. Now that creates a warm feeling.

Best regards,
Dave.


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