Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent 1, 2010

Advent ~ from the Latin adventus meaning to come or to arrive. In Christian tradition the four weeks before Christmas have become a time of waiting for the coming or the arrival of the Savior.

I like Christmas, the whole Christmas season. I like the reflection and preparation of Advent. I like the shopping. I like Santa (actually I Love Santa). I love the carols whether in my home, around a friend's piano or wafting endlessly through a mall's musak. I love the energy, the decorations, the family gatherings, the traditions and the excitement. I love children's services and telling the nativity story over and over.

And given all of that, this year . . . ah, this year . . . something is different.

Truthfully, I think it has to do with the very personal healing of my hip. I am still a little sore. I don't move as fast nor as well yet as I will. There are certain bends and step ups I am not allowed to do yet no matter how well PT is going. And I just don't have my usual energy.

So this morning I surrounded a nativity scene that stays on my shelf all year with four very odd and different candles and lit one of them. As I did, I said a prayer for a younger friend who has had two serious surgeries in the last week. His family is certainly waiting - waiting for major healing, for the tubes to be removed, for all to be well. I thought of his little girl, waiting for Daddy to come home and her family to restored to some sort of normalcy.

Waiting. Waiting for the job interview or the new job to materialize. Waiting for word from the doctor. Waiting for the baby to come. Waiting for the plane to arrive. Waiting for the snow to fall. Waiting for the snow to stop falling. Waiting for the test results. Waiting for the college acceptance letter. Waiting for the hip to heal enough that I can bend over and take the decorations out of their storage and climb the step stool to decorate the tree. Waiting.

Advent helps us see waiting as a blessing, a sacred time. May all our times of waiting be seen in that Light. As you wait, take a breath. Acknowledge your waiting as blessed and sacred. Do not rush into the answer or the result. Waiting is a part of the journey too. ~ with blessings

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Midnight's blog updated

I did it. I stayed awake and moving until about midnight and then went back to bed and slept really well. Now I know I can take my pain med if I have pain and otherwise, I am ok. :D

Friday, November 26, 2010

So What's Going On?

I am basically pain free. Hurray!!

So - I should be off pain meds. Right?

And basically I am. I had tapered down to one Percocet at night and then to 1/2 the transition tablet doc had prescribed - a very mild form of Vicodin I think. I had a kick butt PT session today and have been tired all day - even dozed a little after lunch.

So what happened between 9:30 and 10 tonight? Well, first of all, I woke up. Still no pain. Very comfortable actually - just awake. Then the legs became a little twitchy. *sigh* So here I am - 11:30 pm, late for me, not so much so for other folks, walking, walking, walking. Cleaned the kitchen a little. Walked and walked. Now I am writing my blog and then I may watch another movie. And . . . I see no reason to take a pain med of any kind or strength. A sleeping pill maybe except I have none of those specifically. I am also beginning to get drowsy again so maybe these few minutes up and about are really all I need. I have to get over this hump of needing meds to sleep. Remember, I have been taking pain pills to sleep long before surgery and I really was taking them for pain. No pain - no pills. Hang in there, ole gal. You'll make it. ~ with blessings

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A little Thanksgiving miracle

A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you all ~

There is a grand sweep of things for which I am thankful. Family, friends, caring and compassion in the world, ideas, books, my life in general, on and on. And this morning I am especially thankful for one tiny little event. This morning I rolled over.

Dean and I were both awake about 5. I was returning to bed from a trip to the bathroom and he asked if I had seen the moon ~ Gorgeous, flooding our white landscape with sparkling light. I commented on it being Thanksgiving. He reached out and gave my arm a pat ~ and I rolled over toward him. I Just Rolled Over.

I didn't think about it. I didn't wonder if I might, could, should try. I didn't latch on to something and pull. I Just Rolled Over.

It has been six months or more since I have rolled on that side without a squeak, squeal or even scream of pain. And this morning I Just Rolled Over.

Wow! A little tiny Thanksgiving morning miracle.

And having commented on that little miracle, we both rolled over in the other directions and went back to sleep for a while. :) So goes the way of miracles. Still, I am Very Aware that something has changed. Just like the first time a baby rolls over and mom knows everything has changed, I know things have changed. The new hip is more mine now. It is going where I want to go without as much thought on either of our parts. How nice.

Thanksgiving, 2010: the day I Just Rolled Over.

~ with blessings for a lovely and very special day

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Many Degrees of Separation?

Grandson's girl friend is working in a orphanage in Cambodia. I have been following her blog and enjoying the pictures of the happy children who have found love and family in this place. We have been emailing about Thanksgiving and what it would be like for her to be so far away during this American holiday. She was looking forward to attending the Water Festival and celebrating with her new friends. And then came the headlines:

345 People Killed in Cambodian Stampede

First I give thanks for modern technology. I read the headline. I email: Are you alright? Are your children alright? Back within the hour is the good news that yes, she is fine and as far as she knows no one she knows has been injured or killed. And they are all "reeling" - of course.

And then I think about Thursday. In this country an amazing day of celebration, giving thanks for all our blessings, being aware of those, eating, gathering with friends and family. In Cambodia, it has become a national day of mourning. A recognition that a festival of celebration and prayers for a good rice harvest has turned deadly and the whole country is reeling from the tragedy.

Yes, I know someone there. I can email and find out news. I don't know anyone in Indonesia or South Korea or other places in the headlines where tragedy and violence of many kinds abound. I can however remember those places in my prayers on Thursday. I can be grateful for my life, my family and friends and at the same time pray with compassion and caring for those in the world who are only an email away.

There are no longer any degrees of separation if we really care and are aware. ~ blessings

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tahoe Update

Usually this is an email to the family ~ and this afternoon you all get to hear and view it.

Hurray! There is more to talk about this week than the Tahoe Mom's surgery. Although you won't escape that topic entirely.

We have a snowmobile!!! And snow to ride it on. The pictures are of Dean learning how to ride the machine. I must admit, it is not as easy as I thought it would be. I thought he would just get on it and go. No way. The young man who sold it to us was over this afternoon putting the machine and Dean through their paces. I think he has learned enough to be able to bring up the groceries in the snow which is one of the First Big Reasons for having the thing. We bring them up by bobcat in the summer and as of yesterday the snow was deep enough that even the bobcat with chains doesn't come up the drive.

It will also be nice to start a snowshoeing trail. The one thing we both have trouble with now is cutting that trail when the snow is powdery and you plunge up to your knees with every step.

The snow started Friday morning and sort of spittered and spatted all day and on Friday morning I was wondering if the forecast was just plain wrong. Nope - I was. Snow came again about 10 Saturday (yesterday) morning and it has snowed continuously since. This is the most snow we have had in November for over 12 years. It is a Huge storm and is supposed to continue for a while.

Which means we are not sure Daughter and her family will make it up for Thanksgiving. And it really doesn't matter. We will have a special family dinner whenever they can make it and we are always thankful as a family for each other and the love we share that if we have to miss the day itself, it will be ok. The ski slopes on the other hand are Thrilled!!! The Season has begun.

I've been tired today. I guess this last week just caught up with me. I continue to get better though - almost hourly. I made it downstairs to watch some tv yesterday. Stairs are a piece of cake given what they felt like before surgery.

Dean had a small crew work with him Friday and they closed up all the holes outside the house and redid the insulation under the house. No more critters spending the winter sleeping on or in the insulation. The front deck is piled with wood - almond (hard) and pine (soft). Morning winter fires will burn brightly. We are ready for winter.

Good thing as winter is here -- may you have a safe and snuggly one, with blessings

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Little Things that Count

I wrote the other day that although I could do certain things for myself, like make a cup of tea, Dean had to bring me the tea cup. Wafting through the brain came a sentence I had read in my workbook: wear an apron with large pockets. Aaha! I have an apron with three large pockets across the front -- it's even Purple. Now I wear it all the time.

One pocket usually carries the cell phone. Another the water bottle of ice water. The other - a book, a hot bottle of hot tea or soup for lunch, even my purse when I go out to physical therapy.

If you Ever have to be on crutches for any length of time, Wear an Apron with Large Pockets. If you have a thing about aprons, wear a tool belt. Get Something around your hips that allows you the independence of carrying your own drinks, food, phone, whatever. Someone else can bring you the plate of spaghetti and large pockets are a cosmic gift.

I also wrote about the Reach Bar. That has become invaluable and I have it with me All the Time. It is slender and I can tuck it in my hand that is around the crutch. If I happen to leave it behind, something will fall -- a crutch even that hasn't fallen from there ever, down it goes when I don't have my bar to pick it up. So - the bar comes along. I dress myself. I reach things here and there. Even a jar of soup from the lower shelf of the fridge yesterday.

Physical independence is a blessing and a gift and I am learning Huge compassion for those who do not have it. Little things count and make a world of difference ~ with blessings

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Take or Not To Take

Drugs. Meds. *sigh*

Drugs as medicine were designed to be good for you. Helped control pain, nausea, infection, whatever. Then came misuse, overdosing, addiction. Then came frightening and scary. And Now, on a very personal level comes, well, how much is too much? How much is just enough?

If I'm edgy and have tolerable pain but can't sleep, does that qualify as a time to take another pill?

I think I have it figured out. The other night I looked at the prescription and counted the number of pills I still had. The prescription was for one or two every four hours as needed. I was taking one every 10 to 12 hours. I decided I would be ok, not become addicted, and took another pill. :)

If the edginess comes in the middle of the day, I can usually walk it off, eat protein, breathe deeply and in general take care of it naturally. And there was still that little conversation from all the communal history: does this mean I am having withdrawal symptoms? How do I know?

When I had problems (light-headedness) with morphine in the hospital, Meredith said, "Well, mom - your biggest drug intake has been two tablespoons of Bailey's on your ice cream twice a year. They gave you Morphine! No wonder you had issues!" :D The doctor took me off the morphine as soon as he heard and I have been fine ever since. Except I still worry - and I am on my own here. No nurse checking on me every couple of hours just to be sure - or encouraging me - or answering my questions. Just me - having read the issues, having seen the tv documentaries, having heard the horror stories - and not wanting to be caught up in any of it. And also not wanting to hurt any more than I have to until I am healed and well.

I guess the answer is right there on the pill bottle: take one As Needed. Maybe life doesn't have to be so complicated after all. ~ with blessings

Monday, November 15, 2010

"On My Own"

You will discover the reason for the quotes when I tell you that no matter what all the literature, books and friends who have had this surgery say -- the first few days at home, you are Not on your own.

First there are The Rules! Posterior surgery means don't turn your toes in, don't cross your legs and Do Not under any condition Break the 90 Degree Angle. That's the biggie, folks. Keeping legs apart is no biggie once I learned to keep a pillow between them at night. Keeping toes turned out - first position - means pivoting to the left (for me) even when turning right is easier. That 90 degree angle is a bummer. Sitting up right is fine. Standing without leaning forward means squooshing down in your chair, reaching out with your injured leg, then sitting up again and standing so the injured leg stays forward. phew! I have to think it through Every Time.

Second there is Life. If I walk "on my own" I walk with a walker (not often) or with crutches (most of the time). I can carry Nothing Else but me on the crutches. I can stand in the kitchen, remembering to turn to the left, and make a cup of tea. Dean has to bring it to the table. I can get out of bed, put on the kaftan I am living in these days and walk into the living room. Dean has to bring along my reach bar, water, book, cell phone. And even if I can carry something, I have to remember to pick it up Before I stand because I can't bend to get it.

I know it sounds like I am complaining a lot and really I am not. These are the facts as I am faced with them today. I am So Grateful for Dean who will take a little list in his head and follow through to get me settled. I think my friends who said, "I walked out of the hospital with no pain and went on about life" steered me just a little crooked. And maybe they did. I am just having a bit more of a time with it.

Showering is a two person job -- not a sexy, sensual, aren't we having fun job. A very serious, how should we do this and not crash into the floor job. Michelle helped me through the first one yesterday afternoon. Now at least I know what I'm doing. Every step is a new learning. And I am So Glad I am Not 'on my own' -- if anything proves how often we need each other, it is a time like this. Give thanks for those who help you with the little things whenever ~ with blessings

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Journal of the Journey

Wednesday 11/10 ~ Went to the hospital, was welcomed well and then waited for a while. I was called in, prepped and Dean came in. I had a paper gown that hooked up to a hot air blower - ohhh Nice!! The blankets were also heated. Very nice indeed.

Doctor came in and I requested that everything they say be positive and he absolutely agreed, sharing with me a story of when he was in training. He took care of a wounded man for 4 months while the man was in a coma. He talked to the man day after day. When he met him and his wife 4 years later in an airport, the wife introduced them and asked if the husband remembered the doctor. "No," he said, "and his voice certainly sounds familiar." :D So that made a believer of him.

The anesthesiologist asked how I was handling the drug - I haven't been given any drug - oh, yes, he says, "for the last 4 minutes I have been giving you something through your iv." :D That was the last thing I remember until I woke being told to breathe. Unfortunately I woke crying because my hip hurt and they didn't like that. Things eased up almost immediately and I got lots of attention. Michelle arrived. Dean left. I slept well.

Thursday 11/11 - I had a morphine drip in my iv and could give myself a click when the pain was creeping up. That was nice -- until I tried to do Physical Therapy Thursday morning. Got up, two steps, oops, need to sit down. Sat down, breathed, drank water. Got up, three steps, oops, need to sit down. Well rats. No PT on Thursday so I was frustrated and trying Very hard to turn that in to fascination. Wasn't really succeeding. The the dr arrived and I told him. Let's get you off of morphine he said, and off I was. At midnight I received a Percocet. Slept well, didn't hurt and on

Friday 11/12 - I walked with both walker and crutches and No Fainting. Dr. took all the tubes out this morning so I was much freer. Some time in time during these days I discovered that Walking is the Modern Medical Miracle. I was feeling lousy, feverish and just plain yucky -- and I had to go to the bathroom. By the time the CNA had me in the bathroom I was feeling better. When done, I asked if she had time to walk a little. She did. We did. By the time I had walked down the hall, around the corner, back passed the room and back to bed, I felt Great!!! I left an order to be walked twice again last evening before 10 pm and bed time. Amazing!! Much better than any drug!!! Good night's sleep.

Saturday 11/13 - up and dressed before breakfast this morning. Had more PT. Worked on stairs and learned a lot. Dean arrived about noon, had his own class with the PT and now knows how to help me for the next little while. We were going to drive straight home -- and we decided to fill my prescription in NV and to stop at Home Depot and pick up some pavers to raise a couple of chairs and a shower connection for the shower. Oh - and for Dean to get something to eat - he hadn't had anything since breakfast. So it was a bit longer coming home than I had planned.

So - I am at home. Dean has set me a "high" chair in the living room with my computer where I can visit with folks that I have been told are going to be dropping by. That's the adventure. Oh, here's a little aside showing how amazing this is. My right hip was also very arthritic. So - when the surgeon took bone out to put in the handle on the prosthetic, he took my own bone, cut it to fit the arthritic holes, put it in. sanded it down and put on a metal plate to hold it all in place while the blood vessels grow back from my bone to my bone. :D :D :D Incredible? Right?

So, there we are. Quite a journey - glad this part of it is over. Time to start the physical therapy healing. Walking on crutches is the first step. Lots of new steps these days if you will pardon the pun. ~ with blessings

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

So Great a Cloud of Witnesses

Scripture tells us we are surrounded by "so great a cloud of witnesses". I can attest to that this morning. Over the last few days my witnesses to Light, Healing and Health have come from everywhere. By tomorrow afternoon's surgery I will indeed be surrounded and blessed by that cloud.

At least two of you have lit prayer candles for me. One has danced a healing dance on my behalf. Two of you will be sending long distance raike during surgery. Many, many of you are praying for me, sending me healing Light, thinking about me. Tonight my women's group will do a healing service for me ~ whether I am present or not. Dean and Michelle will be at the hospital tomorrow. Others have said they may drop by on Thursday and Friday or come over once I am home. Calls have come in from town and across the country. Even across the globe as Welsh friend Gill has figured out time difference and will be sending healing prayer and energy and awaiting an email asap. The church I attended in Virginia has me on the prayer list and I was even mentioned in service on Sunday. I am also going to tell my anesthesiologist and surgeon that I have read the studies that say people under anesthesia can hear and understand so . . . will they please couch everything they have to say in positive, healing terms.

Michelle has given me a mantra/prayer which I have already started using ~ feel free to say it on my behalf if you want:

Every word and sound I hear during my surgery
promotes my perfect healing
and complete well-being.

This is a time of healing adventure. I am crossing a bridge to better health and strength. I am So Grateful that I am crossing it surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses to Healing and Light and Love ~ Thanks to all of you ~ with blessings and butterflies

Monday, November 8, 2010

Spider Knight

Spiders and I do not get along. I was able to deal when I had young children. I can even deal now. And I don't like them and I want them out of my house. So ~ I have a Spider Knight. When one is too big or in the wrong place or I am barefooted or just feeling vulnerable, Dean comes to the rescue.

This morning I decided it would be good to elevate my leg with some ice in order to start the day well. I did it all by myself: gathered everything needed, brought over the Reach Bar to help adjust the ice pack and blankets, arranged the pillows for my leg and head. Even made it onto the window seat, stretched out, looked up and . . . there it was. Against the light Right Over My Body. And it was BIG. All I could do was exclaim something out loud and reverse all my process and move away.

Dean set his computer aside and said he would get it down. He moved the blankets and pillows, got out the long cleaning pole and swiped. Down it came. Stomp. Into a tissue, into the fire. All was well and I returned to my window seat and icing my leg. Phew. And to all my Friends of the Earth friends, I apologize. If you are here, you may put the spider outside. If it is just me and Dean, the spider disappears.

I am very grateful for my Spider Knight who understands and is willing to ride into the fray on my behalf. ~ blessings

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thrift shop shopping

We have a very nice Hospice thrift shop (one outlet in Truckee, one in King's Beach) and we often donate there. Dean was very pleased with the help hospice gave him when Nancy was so sick. And we also shop there.

Today: 4 books, two of my favorite authors (who weren't there when we were in several weeks ago); a long fleece robe that zips all the way down and has bears in the pattern. I may hang out in it a lot until the swelling in my leg goes down. Snuggly. Dean bought a perfect fit pair of 501 jeans, a fleece vest and - hmmmm - something else.

I am very pleased. I now have the books I need to go to the hospital and to stay in at home for a little while - not for long though. They are determined I will be up and going -- I keep reminding them of all our stairs and they sort of hem and haw and indicate that I need to do them as soon as I possibly can. And until I can, I am ready to cuddle on the window seat and read. :D ~ blessings

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Little Things make for Happiness

It doesn't take much sometimes, does it? Today is a Ta-Dah!! day for me and all because of two little devices.

One is a Sock Pull. Next time you pull on your socks, recognize how your body bends or your legs lift. Just be aware. Now think of every one of those little movements Hurt. Like. Hell. That's the situation I have found myself in -- and the pain has increased so that for the last month, Dean has had to put on my right sock. This morning I put it on By Myself. Yay! :D The Sock Pull was given to me after a wonderful class about hip surgery yesterday. Usually they give it to you after surgery. I think the nurse realized I was probably hurting more Now than I will after surgery so she gave it to me now -- and I have started using it. Yay! :D

The other is a Reach Bar. Simple little bar that has a gripper on one end and a handle that opens and closes the gripper on the other. Yes, you can reach things on upper shelves and pick up things from the floor without bending. And . . . you can also pull on your underwear and slacks without bending!! Ta-Dah!! I feel like a three year old - I dressed myself, Mommy! :D :D

The true blessing in all of this is that it is a temporary situation. Less than a week now before surgery, about 6 weeks afterwards and I can take the little devices and tuck them away on a shelf. :D I am very blessed and feeling good this morning. Will be glad to have it done - and this is already a good step. Happy, happy. ~ with blessings