A Beach Wedding – Photo Blog’s topic for the week of November 2, 2009

After four months of not using my camera for more than a few minutes at a time (due to my broken collarbone) I have recuperated to a point where I am ready to start using my camera. It was therefore fortuitous timing that I was asked to photograph a beach wedding this past weekend. So I thought, what better topic for this week’s photo blog than the photos that I took of Simone and Pierre’s beach wedding on Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands which can be viewed here.

Have a great week!

Posted in Weddings by Richard on November 3rd, 2009 at 03:27.

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Pirates Week – Richard’s Photo Blog’s Theme for the week of October 26, 2009

Every November for as long as people here can remember, the Cayman Islands have hosted a Pirates Festival. As the 2009 festival is quickly approaching I thought it would be nice to devote this coming weeks’ photos on my Photo Blog to the 2008 Cayman Islands Pirates Festival.

More information on the November 12 – 22, 2009 festival can be found at http://www.piratesweekfestival.com/.

Posted in Cayman Islands by Richard on October 25th, 2009 at 23:19.

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Photo Blog`s Topic for the week of 2009.10.19

For the past two months I have been posting a photo a day on my photo blog and briefly blogging about the photo. Last week I did something different on my photo blog, I devoted the entire week of photos to one topic, specifically the 27 June 2009 Junior Equestrian Jumping Competition held here in the Cayman Islands. Similarly for this coming week, I will be “photo blogging” about one topic… the photos will be from Haydee and Eric’s lovely Cayman Islands wedding in November 2008.

Enjoy and have a great week,


Posted in What's Happening by Richard on October 19th, 2009 at 03:49.

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Part IV – The Surgery

After over two weeks of walking around with a broken collarbone, the moment of truth arrived. We arrived at the hospital around 11:30 and I was promptly admitted by a nurse who took all my readings, confirmed my information and placed a “hospital band” on my arm. She also advised that unfortunately all the beds were occupied, so I was free to wander as long as I was back before 13:00.

So my wife and I explored the hospital. Shortly before 13:00 the surgeon came to talk to us. He advised that everything was ready to go; they were just waiting for the previous surgery to conclude. While talking to the surgeon, he received a call advising that the OR was available.

We proceeded to the admittance office where a bed was being wheeled in just for me. A quick change into the ‘oh show me your butt’ hospital gown, a kiss from Brigitte and off I was to my long awaited surgery.

I was delivered to the holding area outside of the surgery room where the nurse verified again all of the details including which collarbone I broke. The Surgeon and the Anesthesiologist stopped by to answer any last minute questions and mark my right arm to ensure everyone saw which one would be operated on.

A few minutes later I was in the operating room being hooked up to the monitoring machines and given oxygen. The next thing I remember was Dr. Vivek calling my name. It was over and went very well. Dr. Sanders updated my wife and although he could not use Plan A, Plan B was just as successful. Plan A and Plan B you say? Plan A was to attach the main collarbone back to the small piece of collarbone from the AC joint. Unfortunately, when he did that, the small piece of collarbone lifted from the AC joint and was also cracked into four pieces…not good. It essentially meant that I tore the ligaments in the AC joint. Plan B was to attach the main collarbone to the right shoulder blade and attach the little piece of collar bone to the main collarbone to allow it to heal.

So, as you can see below, I have a bit of a gap between the main collarbone and the right shoulder blade. The plate has effectively bridged the collarbone.

X-Ray of Richard's Repaired Collarbone

With a successful surgery, I was given a prescription of Percocet / Oxycodone and Cephalexin and sent home.

Next time in Part V – The Recovery

Posted in Health care by Richard on October 5th, 2009 at 02:16.

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Part III – Health Care in the Cayman Islands – Preparing for Surgery

In Part II I left off having decided to wait two week until the arrival of Dr. David Sanders, a Canadian trauma orthopedic surgeon. The two weeks passed surprisingly quickly, especially considering that I actually stopped taking my pain medication a few days after the accident. “Mind over matter” as I would say to my wife. I actually didn’t really need the pain medication as I slept most of the time and didn’t move much. The body is amazing how it takes care of itself and does not allow you to overdo it for too long.

On July 13 we met with Dr Sanders. We found him very helpful, and he provided us with all of the pros and cons of surgery versus waiting for the collarbone to heal itself. Yes, believe it or not, there was an option of waiting three to four months to see if the collarbone would set itself. As long as I didn’t mind a collarbone sticking up an inch or so next to my shoulder. The main risk with the surgery was infection. However, no one could remember a case of infection from a surgery that was done on the Island. They have had a few cases, but these occurred with individuals who had their surgery done off Island. One of the downsides to waiting was that if the collarbone did not heal, the other side of my collarbone (attached to the AC joint) would have become ineffective as the body would have started to dissolve it.

Having weighed the options, we decided to go ahead with the surgery and I was advised to arrive the next day at the hospital around 11:30 as my surgery was scheduled for approximately 13:00. I was then introduced to Dr. Vivek, the anesthesiologist – a very nice gentleman whom you immediately feel comfortable with and know he has everything under control. This was especially evident the day we met him as his receptionist was off sick and he was managing the whole office ?. After filling out some forms and discussing my history, Dr. Vivek walked my wife and I though the procedure and answered our questions.

Since I was never a patient at the Cayman Islands Hospital it was strongly suggested that I register after meeting with Dr. Vivek. The Cayman Islands Hospital is a 24 hour full service, 124 bed, non-profit Government Hospital in George Town. From their website: “It offers accident and emergency services; a wide range of surgical services; a Critical Care Unit, physiotherapy; a pharmacy; a central sterilization unit; and laboratory services, including a state-of-the-art forensic unit – along with many other facilities a person would expect in a modern health care setting.” Registration was very easy and we were in and out of the hospital in about thirty minutes.

I was now exhausted and heading home knowing that the surgery was less than 24 hours away and that the surgery team was very experienced and knowledgeable, and that my collarbone repair could not have been in better hands.

Next time in Part IV – The Surgery.

Posted in Health care by Richard on September 12th, 2009 at 01:38.

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Part II – Health Care in the Cayman Islands – The Orthopedic Surgeons

As noted in Part I, as a Canadian who always had universal health care, all of our friends and family wanted to know what it was like living in a country where you had private insurance. This multi-part article discusses my experience with the Cayman Islands Health care services after I broke my collarbone in June 2009.

I left off Part I departing the private hospital with my arm in a sling, my collarbone broken and full of pain medication in my system (and pocket) waiting for Monday to see if I could see the Orthopedic specialists. I cannot say I remember much of the weekend, I am told that I slept a lot :-)

Monday rolled around and my wife was able to arrange an appointment with the Cayman Orthopedic Group. No waiting, the appointment was for Monday! The Group is actually a number of Canadian Orthopedic surgeons, with varying specialties, that rotate throughout the year on one to two week “visits”. Thinking about it, it sure is a really nice gig if you can get it. The surgeon flies down for two weeks, brings his family who has a great vacation, they all stay in the company condo and he makes some money while enjoying the beautiful Caribbean weather with his family.

The surgeon I saw on Monday specialized in reconstructive surgery (i.e. hip replacements). I was impressed by his honesty. He said he could do the surgery but strongly recommended that I wait for two weeks until the next surgeon arrives. It so happens that the next surgeon arriving was Dr. David Sanders from London Ontario who is an orthopedic trauma surgeon for London, Ontario, Canada performing primary and reconstructive surgery for all complex fractures of the pelvis and extremities. It does not take much convincing to wait when a surgeon tells you that you “smashed” the collarbone and that it will be a “bun fight” to get it back together and he recommends you see another surgeon.

Although I was convinced, I had others that suggested I fly to the US or Canada to have it fixed. It appears that this is quite common practice. An interesting part is that my private insurance would have covered 100% of my surgery if I left the Island, but covered only 80% if I stayed. That is one issue that I have never followed up on. Nevertheless, I had decided to stay on the Island and wait for a few reasons. First, I could not imagine flying with a broken collarbone that was floating around and was painful when I walked never mind flying. Second, I felt very comfortable with the Doctors and the health care services on the Island.

We booked the surgery for July 14 and the Orthopedic group began obtaining the necessary approvals from the insurance company. I am told that the local insurance company uses a firm in the United States to review and confirm that the surgery is required. In my case, one look at the X-ray showed it was necessary.

Next time in Part III – Preparing for Surgery.

Kind regards,

Posted in Health care by Richard on September 6th, 2009 at 02:38.

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Can’t change descriptions in Flickr

A completely different topic today (still photography related mind you). For quite a long time I have not been able to change the descriptions on my Flickr photos. Normally you can click on the description box below your photo and describe away.

Tonight I decided I would do some research and try to figure out what the issue was. I found a number of posts that said it was related to a Greasemonkey script called Flickr Rich Text. The problem was that I did not have that particular script. Although, I do have a number of scripts, including a Check Play Script that was previously located at userscripts.org/scripts/show/56725 that I have just recently finished modifying for the Flickr Foto Competition Group, but I digress. So, I turned off Greasemonkey but I still could not edit my descriptions.

Long story short, it turns out to be a Firefox add-on called Better Flickr 0.3 which uses the Greasemonkey Rich Text script. I found this out here.

Hopefully this will help someone one day and save them a bit of time.

Have a great evening,

Posted in Flickr by Richard on September 3rd, 2009 at 03:20.

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A Photo Blog

For those that have been following my Blog or viewing any of my websites, you would have noticed that over the past couple of weeks this blog and my website at http://www.itslife.ca were slowing changing. I have now almost completed the “re-branding” of my Blog and websites tying them all together under Richard Hamilton Photography with a new logo and design.

One of the more exciting additions is a photo blog which you can find at http://www.richardhamiltonphotography.com. I will be posting a photo a day from around the world including photos of nature, people (with an emphasis on my studio fashion work), animals (wild, domesticated, big and small) and places (from Canada, to India, to Europe, to the Cayman Islands).

Comments and critiques are always welcomed and even encouraged :-)

Take care,

Posted in What's Happening by Richard on August 31st, 2009 at 03:29.

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Part I – Health Care in the Cayman Islands – A visit to the Private Hospital

Coming from Canada, where we have universal health care, my friends and family are always interested in hearing about health care in Cayman Islands and my thoughts of living in a country where all expats must purchase private health insurance. Up until this past June, I was fortunate in that I had no reason to use the health care facilities here in the Cayman Islands.

That all significantly changed this past June when I fell off a bike and landed “just right” to break my clavicle (collarbone). My wife, who was with me at the time, drove me to the Christie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital (the local private hospital), which is all of three minutes from our house. Have I ever told you how much I love living here where we are so close to everything?. As my wife parked the car I walked in and advised admissions that I had broke my collarbone and would very much appreciate if she could admit me without the long admissions process as I felt myself going into shock and was about to pass out. I sat down, put my head down on the counter and waited. Not more than a couple minutes later my wife walks in wondering why I was not being looked after and where everyone was. I looked up and sure enough the admissions personnel was not there. Not to worry, a nurse arrived seconds after my wife and advised that they were ready to see me. Now talk about service :-)

I was taken to one of the emergency rooms where two nurses and student immediately started taking care of me. The first order of business was to administer some fluids and pain killers intravenously (“IV”). I have never see IV bottles drain so quickly. But, they stopped me from going into shock and I never passed out.

After seeing the doctor, it was off to have some x-rays taken. I was very fortunate in that I did not have to get up on the x-ray table. Those are hard enough at the best of time, I couldn’t image having to do it with a broken collarbone. What I found most interesting about this experience, is that when the x-rays were done, the doctor asked for payment. It seems that he was a separate profit center and you had to settle your x-ray bill with him.

Back in the emergency room, the doctor confirmed that I had broken my collarbone but they did not have an orthopedic surgeon on staff. For this service, I was referred to the Cayman Orthopedic Group which operated Monday through Friday (This accident of course happened on a Saturday afternoon). I was therefore put in a sling (which my wife had just purchased at one of the local pharmacies) and sent home with lots of pain killers.

All of the hospital staff was absolutely wonderful and I would have no difficulty in recommending them or using their services again (although hopefully not anytime soon ;-))

Next time, in part II, I will discuss my experience with the Cayman Orthopedic Specialists.

Take care,

Posted in Health care by Richard on August 23rd, 2009 at 02:30.

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Long overdue update

They tell you when you read blogs, if you are going to have a blog, keep it current. Well, I certainly blew that with my last entry way back in December. I would like to say that between family, work and photography I had no time. But that wouldn’t be accurate. I could have set aside a few minutes to blog. It’s just like exercise or dieting, we can find excuses, or admit that the reason it is not being done is because we have not made it a priority.

Photography has been one of those priorities that has been keeping me busy on the weekends and evenings. I have continued to participate in a number of photo shoots. The last one was this past Sunday with Miss. Cayman, Nicosia Lawson:

Nicosia 2 B+W



Nicosia was an absolute dream to shoot as she knew what to do and was already in the next pose before I had to say anything. She was also very open to suggestions even when one of the poses created a cramp (OK that may have been pushing a little to far :-))

As you will also note above, my photos include a little more post-processing than before. (Okay, that is not hard since I did little to none before). Paul Aiken gave me a crash course in Photoshop and has been encouraging me to really get into it and bring out the best of my photos. YouTube and Google have been my best friends as I search and follow tutorials on using Photoshop.

Another area that Paul and I have been dipping our toes in is high speed photography. Our first foray into it resulted in some nice shots which I was able to take and then use to practice my Photoshopping: A water drop before Photoshop:

Ms. Sexy

and the after Photoshop (the main difference is the burnt background):

Ms. Sexy Photoshopped

We have been down in the Cayman Islands for almost eight months but it is still hard to believe that we have “summer” year round with no cold or snow. As I bid you a good night, I will leave you with a photo I took yesterday from outside my office:

Sunset on Seven Mile Beach

Posted in Photo Shoots by Richard on March 21st, 2009 at 04:31.

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