Thursday, April 3, 2008

Needles and knives

Back in the days when the Vikings were the terror of Europe the folks that came in contact with them noticed that the Viking men often had hands that were unable to be opened completely. It was thought then that the cause was all those hours pulling on an oar in their boats. Their claw-like hands became known as Vikings Disease.

Hundreds of years later a fellow in France named Dupuytren discovered the reason for the limited mobility of the fingers was caused by scaring in the hands near the tendons that eventually involved the tendon, thus limiting the fingers travel. He developed an operation that freed the tendon from the scar tissue, thus restoring mobility to the affected finger. The disease was dubbed 'Dupuytrens Disease'.

The fingers most likely to be a problem is the ring finger and sometimes the little finger. Nodules can be seen in the palm of the hand on the tendon that serves the finger. The tendency for this condition is now known to be genetically passed on, most often occurring in men. The origin of the disease is still thought to be those Viking sailors, with the most affected populations being those that had contact with them. Apparently there is a Viking sailor in my family tree (or the nearby bushes) as most of the male members in my family are afflicted with this problem.

The disorder is progressive and over time the finger can curl to the point of being unable to open at all. Its progression makes little things like washing ones hands or face very difficult. Fishing your car keys out of your pocket becomes a two handed exercise, pushing the keys up with one hand and snagging them with the forefinger of the other. Tying a lure on the end of my line is darn near impossible, especially on a cold morning. So it was time to consider what to do about it.

There are presently two methods of correcting the problem. The 'standard' procedure in the US is to fillet the skin near the affected tendon and expose the underlying fascia, a membrane covering the tendons. This is lifted and the scar tissue is cut from the tendon and removed. The hand is then sewed up and the patient sent home to recover. The work is done in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia with several attending persons. Recovery time is several weeks and due to the local trauma of the operation, it is a one-time procedure.

About 30 years ago a doctor in Paris developed a procedure that uses a needle. The needle is inserted under the skin/fascia and moving it laterally along the tendon, the surgeon cuts away the connecting scar tissue around the tendon. Several insertions are made along the length of the tendon until it is cut free and mobility is restored to the finger. This is an out-patient procedure that is performed under a local anesthetic. Upon completion of the procedure the patient can observe the restored mobility of the finger and is sent home with a bandage on their hand. No further visits to the doctor are usually required for follow up treatment.

So what are the differences in the results of these two types of treatments? I searched the web for info and found little to hang my hat on. The disease is not cured by either operation, and it is possible (likely?) that the scar tissue under the fascia will continue to develop until the tendon is again involved, and mobility of the finger is reduced. How long will that take? I could find no answers, perhaps years, perhaps months. Both operations involve risk of infection, nerve damage, skin trauma that requires grafting and so on.

The Needle procedure leaves far less scaring in the hand and it can usually be repeated if necessary. The procedure is also far less invasive and recovery time is less. Being an outpatient is far more attractive than 'going under the knife', especially at the medical facilities we have available up here in So Oregon. So I searched the web for doctors that use the Needle procedure (it is abbreviated - Dupuytrens N.A.) To my astonishment, there are only a few doctors in the US that are trained to use this procedure. You can find a listing of them on the web under Dupuytrens NA . We had a choice of Dr Kline in Boise ID or a doctor near San Fransisco CA. You can't get to Boise from here so I opted for Dr. K Denkler in Larkspur CA.

The procedure was much like going to the dentist. The needle used for the local anesthetic was the worse part of the procedure and I had both hands done in about 1 hour. During the procedure we could talk about kayaks, fishing in Alaska and even Dr stuff, and in the end I could enjoy the mobility of the ring finger on both hands. That was 2 days ago. Today the needle punctures are closed over and there is no pain at all. I will keep my hands clean and bandaged for a few days, and see if I can stay away from strenuous activity. This is the first time in a while that I can type using more than 3-4 fingers and it is a pleasure. Fishing will be even better.

I am not a medical guy and don't even take an aspirin unless I am in serious pain. So medical things are not all that interesting to me. I have found that a positive attitude, healthy food and activity and reliance on my immune system for 70 years has worked pretty well. Of course there are times when intervention is a must, and this was one of them. So I offer this experience in hopes that it will be helpfull to others with this disease. Please do not take it as a recommendation for you. Learn all you can about your condition and then make an informed decision.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Building an Electric Fishing Kayak

Build your KF-10 with confidence

The KF10 is offered as a kit boat with all parts available except the skin and finsh material. The skin panels (4 x 8 ft) are too large to package and ship. We have left these for the builder to purchase locally. The frame of the boat is first constructed with provisions for installation of all parts completed. then the skin is then placed on the frame. The skin panels are designed so that precise cutting of the material is avoided, and ordinary tools and skills give good results. The skin is then covered with 4 oz. fiber lass for additional strength. Finally the motor and electrics are installed to complete the job.

The Construction/Operation and Maintenance manual provides over 100 pages of text, pictures and drawings of all of the parts that make up the boat. Schematics and assembly drawings of electrical assemblies are provided so you can fabricate these, or you can purchase them ready to install. The critical parts of the frame are full sized drawings and are easily transferred to wood making the construction of the frame easy and accurate. Step by step instructions are provided so that builders can avoid most of the pitfalls boat builders face.

The Motor Control Unit is not a kit, but a component that must be ordered from Kingfisher Electric Boats.

Building Options

Option 1 -DIY (least expensive)

Purchase the Manual and Motor Controller Unit. Find, fabricate or scrounge all of the material and parts called for in the manual. Assemble the boat from these. The time required will vary depending upon your gathering skills, but figure around 100 + hours.

Option 2 (less expensive)

Purchase parts and kits in the table below and assemble smaller assemblies as instructed in the manual. Build the boat. Time required will be many hours but less than option 1. See Table 2 below.

Option 3 (a little more money, a lot less time)

Order kits in the following table. Notice the electrical kit, modified motor, control panel and steering hardware are assembled and either installed (Frame 2 pedal assembly) or ready to install. All are tested and insure a trouble-free boat. Build time about 70 hours. See Table 3 below.

Option 4 (Bend the Budget - fastest way)

The KF10 is available as a completely constructed boat. It and the manual is crated and shipped to your home ready to mount the included motor. Buy yourself a PFD, a paddle and a battery to power the boat. Get your gear and head for the water. Be sure to have someone read the operation section of the manual to you while traveling to the lake.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kingfisher Electric Kayak 12 Foot Two-Seater Coming Soon

We have had many request for a 12 foot two-seater kayak. We decided that what you want is what you get! The kayak is still not finished, but here is a slide show illustrating the progress made so far. We sure would love to hear your comments..sarcastic or not.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New 12 Foot Electric Kayak Coming Soon

This is Karen reporting for Jim. He has been swamped with finishing up his patent for his Kingfisher Kayak and now he is buried in building another kayak. This time it is the two seater that so many people have requested. He should be done in another week, so look forward to seeing it on his website, Kingfisher Electric Boats.

We also took the time to have official logos made; which you can see above. We also purchased a toy hauler to take the kayaks to boat and sport shows in the Pacific Northwest. We can now eat, sleep and haul in one trailer.

We look forward to attending Mess Abouts with an Oregon based hand-built boating group that Jim met up in Port Townsand, WA at the Wooden Boat Show. In May, they are meeting up at the Lagoon Area just south of us below Crescent City, CA. Jim has always thought he would love to fish those lagoons.

Jim has built into the toy hauler brackets to hold two kayaks up against one wall to take the least amount of space. We even have room for a couple recliners! We think we may need those if we stand on our feet all day at a boat show. After all, we aren't as young as we used to be. We are pulling the trailer with our old trusty diesel truck. They will hear us coming! We could even put a couple of our dogs in the back of the truck for camping situations. I know Mags would love going. She is Jim's shadow and hates to be left behind.

Sadie, our youngest lab, would also enjoy swimming and hiking. She has defective hips, but isn't limping yet. We keep her close so she won't ruin herself, but swimming is the best thing she can do for herself. She swims in our pond all year long and then comes into the house dripping wet! I haven't managed to get her to understand that wet dogs are not welcome. Sometimes, a dog door isn't the best thing.

You might just meet up with us at one of the shows or in a camp ground somewhere within a few hundred miles of Brookings, Oregon. We will be putting large logos on the top sides of the toy hauler and on the back. We will be easy to spot. I will get a schedule onto Jim's website soon.

I also ordered Jim and I white T-shirts with the logo on them. You can spot us easy - we are are a gray haired couple talking kayak talk wearing white t-shirts with a Kingfisher logo. I'll have to hide the shirts while we are at home, or Jim will manage to get fiberglass stuck on the front of his! He has fiberglass on my favorite down vest. It is his vest, but I love to wear it too - and now it just doesn't look so good.