driving Norway

Today I pick up my rent-a-car from Hertz at the Oslo airport. And spend a week driving to some of the most famous hikes and attractions.

Here’s my plan so far … though it’s bound to change on the road.

Doh! 🙄 … It’s already changed. The good deal I got on a rent-a-car was from the other Oslo airport. The one where Ryanair flies. I had to take a 2 hour train to go get it. Late.

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Shouldice Hernia Hospital and Resort

NO FAT DUDES!

Feeling great, I was just discharged after 4 nights in the Toronto (luxury) Shouldice hospital. I’ll taxi to the airport. Then catch a redeye flight to “rehab” at this campsite in Iceland.

My plan is to camp near the hot springs for up to 8 nights. Hike as much as my recovery allows. There’s a good chance I’ll end up doing the 4 day Laugavegur trek.

Like almost all their patients, I was very satisfied with Shouldice.

I’d had my left side inguinal hernia repaired 30 years ago at age-30. This time it was a right side inguinal fix.

I got the appointment at Shouldice about 6 weeks after application. In Alberta it would have been about 6 months. Inguinal hernia surgery is low priority. A relatively easy operation. In fact, it’s the “oldest” and the most commonly performed surgery worldwide.

The only debate is whether to get …

1. NON-MESH (Shouldice) repair
2. MESH (Lichtenstein) repair

Both work. Most surgeons use mesh as it’s less invasive. Faster. Quicker recovery.

Some say the Shouldice is better for simple, first-time repairs. Mesh better for bilateral and/or recurrent inguinal hernias.

Shouldice does 70,000 hernia surgeries a year. It’s all they do. Specialists. Only about 1% get mesh. At Shouldice they like the traditional Shouldice technique they popularized.

Only about 1 / 1000 operations at this hospital results in serious complications.

Patients are carefully screened. Required to be within 20% of their ideal body weight. Many with pre-existing complications are refused. That’s one BIG reason for their high success rate.

Shouldice is a factory. Five days a week patients begin the program. Each day is scripted. Everybody is in the same boat.

Daily “Exercise Class” is a bit comic. One day we marched to the soundtrack of Bridge Over The River Kwai.

Americans are here. One guy from California told me he booked at Shouldice because his research showed they were best in the world. He was getting a both sides done during the same trip after putting it off for 15 years.

One fellow from B.C. decided he did not want mesh. Coming here was his only option.

Patients are mostly old men. There are a few young guys. And a few women. (I’d not realized women got hernia surgery.)

Once I get my budget finalized I’ll post it. Alberta will repay me for more than half of the medical cost, I believe. (I was told PEI pays nothing. It varies Province to Province.)

Looks like my out-of-pocket will be about CAD $1500 plus travel.

Cost at other similar hernia hospitals: India CAD$1254, Ukraine CAD$1019, Morocco CAD$1000. Thailand about £1,050 for a day procedure. Most of those would be one day mesh prices, I assume.

Canada is single payer healthcare. HOW is this for profit hospital allowed?

It has a special licence from the Ontario Ministry of Health to continue operating.

I’d go back to Shouldice if I needed another hernia operation. But before you book, read a report of a surgeon who works close to the hospital. She feels the Shouldice program requires patients to stay too long. It’s a waste of money.

Patients are charged about $250 / night for shared room and excellent food.

Shouldice.com

when Amazon sucks …

I love Amazon. Their model is the future of retail.

And Amazon almost always works. It’s amazing.

But when I recently bought a hiking guidebook it wouldn’t download to my Kindle Paperwhite. Weird.

Quite quickly Amazon responded. Confirming that they suck. ☹️

cycling the Carretera Austral, Chile do NOT post

During my two months in Patagonia 2018 I did a fair bit of research on a future cycle hiking trip.

  • what bike? (Surly Long Haul Trucker with 40mm tires is popular)
  • buy, rent or bring a bike with me from Canada?
  • exact route? (north to south via Chiloe sounds best to me)

I’d camp and hike en route.

The Carretera is far more popular now than when I did it in 2004 by bus / hitchhiking.

The Carretera Austral runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O’Higgins through (sparsely populated) rural Patagonia. …

This area is characterized by thick forestsfjordsglaciers, canals and steep mountains. …

Among the world’s finest road trips, the Carretera Austral – or “Southern Highway” – is a 1240km route through Chile that’s mostly unpaved. Winding through millennia-old forests, it visits dusty Andean hamlets and turquoise rivers spawned from landlocked glaciers. …

Cyclists should have the skills and materials to repair their own gear, and should plan on taking a solid month for the entire endeavor. According to Italian cyclist Tomas Balzk, the hardest part was not pedaling the terrain, but ingesting enough calories. …

Lonely Planet

Cyclists-on-the-Carretera-Austral

New Balance 1260 running shoes

UPDATE — Durability is not all that great. I wore through my first pair already.

Still … since I love the shoe I ordered two more pairs from New Balance Canada.

9 1/2 4E and 9 4E. CAD — $224 each in the wide size.

I’ll see which length fits better.

___ original post from October 2017:

Having once again misplaced my indoor Gymnastics coaching shoes, I bought another pair at New Balance Montreal.

Ex$pen$ive at over C$200 including tax.

But I love New Balance 4E. It’s the widest I’ve found from any brand.

These days I want as much cushioning as I can get. This shoe is good for road and trail running. So far I’m happy with the purchase.