Saturday, August 23, 2014

Two steps forward, on step back...

Restraint is one of the more difficult things to practice as I continue to recover from this surgery. 
Think about it…at the beginning, everything was difficult. Everything hurt. Then, slowly, things began to improve. And I could do more. And I did. And I overdid it. And I had to back off. Two steps forward, one back. That seems to be the theme here.

The good news it's always forward motion even with the minor setbacks. I did it again the other day. I'm not sure what exactly I did, however. All I know is that my knee started to hurt. This time it was more than the previous times. This time,  my knee ached anytime I moved it.  It felt like the pain I had prior to surgery. Not good. So, lots of ice. Trying to stay off of it. That type of stuff. 

And today, I feel a little bit better. My knee is still a little achy,  but after a day of ice and laying on the sofa watching movies, it's better than it was. So, naturally, I start thinking of all that needs to be done. I need to clean this and that. And I need to pull the jungle of weeds that has invaded my garden since I've been gone. And put this away. And take that (heavy) bucket of paint to the waste disposal.

WHOA!!! Back down there, chickie! 

I have to remember I can't do that. Not yet. Eventually I will be able to do all the things I could do before I injured myself. But I can't yet. It's frustrating, but I have to recognize my limits. 

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Choices

I realize now, as my body screams in pain, that I overdid things today.

Recovering from surgery is like that. At first it was frustrating, if not downright aggravating, to not be able to do simple things I used to be able to do. Things like walking. Oh, yes, not being able to put any weight on my leg after surgery created some interesting challenges for me. Every little outing was a major victory that left me exhausted. I took a lot of naps. My routine the first several weeks resembled something like this:
Wake up, lug myself out of bed, hobble ever so slowly to have breakfast. After breakfast, rest on the sofa. Maybe read a little. Maybe watch some tv. Or go back to bed. Get ready for physical therapy. Couldn't even put my shoes on without help, not to mention my knee brace.Have someone drive me to physical therapy and then come get me afterward.Get home, have lunch. Nap. For several hours.Get up, hobble to my spot on the sofa again. Rest. Dinner. Then some tv. Then sleep. And wake up several times during the night whether to hobble to la toilette, or just because I needed to move because I was not comfortable (my waking usually accompanied with some sort of exclamation of pain- Oh! Ow! AAAH!)

Eventually, things started to get better. I became a little bit more mobile. I could put my shoes on by myself. I graduated from the walker to crutches (which require more balance, in case you were wondering) to even one crutch! I was allowed to start putting weight on the leg again!

Now, inside the house, I practice walking without any crutches. I have to think about the movement of my leg, the placement and rolling forward of my foot. Hurray for me! I'm making progress! And earlier this week, I got the OK to try riding a real bike, something I've been looking forward to ever since I hurt myself and realized this injury would keep me from riding a bike (excruciating pain has a way of doing that, no?)

So, with a little bit of progress and freedom comes the feeling of, "Hey, maybe I can try to do x, y, and z??" And that is what I did today. I actually hobbled further than I previously have, and braved the shifting sands of the beach, thinking I would go very slowly, and be very careful. My first clue this was a bad idea was when my ankle on my good leg seized on me. That did not feel good. At all. Ouch! But at that point it was too late to back out. And eventually, I made it back home.

I got my ice, went and lay down, and then could hardly get up again, the muscles in my hips, my legs, my lower back all screaming at me, berating me, "What the hell were you thinking?? We're not ready for this yet!! What did you dooooo???"

And to help appease them, I grabbed both crutches to hobble around. That brought some relief. Then, I got a text from another friend inviting me to go hang at the pool, which would have been much more manageable than the beach. And I had to decline, the threshold more than surpassed for the day.  

It occurred to me later that I am not in a position to do x, y, and z. 

No, now, I have to think ahead. I might be able to do x. or y. or z. On a good daybe even x and y-- or x and z-- or y and z. 

But x, y, and z? Fuggetaboutit! No way. No how. No bueno.  Don't even go there.

Choices. I have to think about which action will have the most benefit to me and create the least amount of pain. It seems to be a lesson I am continually learning.


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

What happened?

Is anyone still on blogger? I seriously wonder. I love my little blog here. I like my background and I like the design. However, I just spent some time going through my archives and finding that many photos I had posted have...vanished. Poof! Gone. No more.

I don't know what criteria blogger used in deciding which photos to keep, which to eliminate, but I'm not happy about it. I can understand if a youtube video is no longer available or whatever, but for pictures I posted to just disappear? Not cool.

But, because I do like this blog, I will give it another go. We'll see how that goes.


P.S... I had posts that I took down because the photographs were the main part of the post. I'm finding those photos on picasa, but again, don't quite understand how or why they disappeared from here. With that in mind, there could be some future form of re-posts of those.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Feels like kindgergarten...

For the summer, I decided to take a drawing class. Yeah, a drawing class. I haven't done this since high school- and that was a while ago. So, class started and we got to take out easels (easels?? I have never used one before!!) and set them up because we started drawing the first class. Oh boy! 

So, after going over the syllabus, the teacher showed us how to hold our pencils. It's not like holding a pen or pencil to write, I would describe this more like holding a wand. And then she had us stand while drawing. Another first for me. Our first exercise was a blind contour (I think??). Anyways, we had to "draw" items that the teacher had laid out on the table without looking at our paper. 

Say what??? You don't want me to look?? How? Wha? Uhm…

So, I tried. I kept running off the paper, which is rather amusing. The hand-eye coordination is certainly not there. When we were done, I had ummm, I suppose it was a drawing? Anyways, it was interesting. Basically, mine looked like a mess. I was seriously impressed that some of the kids in the class actually managed to make it look like what was on the table. Maybe they looked? Maybe not? I don't know. 

After that, we got to draw the same thing, but this time we were able to look. It came out much better, but again, there is a certain childish look to mine. I lack the coordination. I try to get the pencil to do one thing, but I don't necessarily succeed. I guess that is part of the process! 

And finally the items were switched and we then practiced framing our drawings and seeing what came of it. All in all, interesting. And fun! I'm just letting it go, not trying to get it perfect but just get into the movement of drawing and moving and just having fun with it. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Third Time's a Charm??

Well,  here we go again.

A while ago, I once again hurt my knee (note to self, quit jumping off of stuff thinking you can handle it. You can, but your knees cannot. You are no longer 20 years old.)  Not having insurance at the time, I had to forego any doctor visits. This year I became eligible for coverage through my work and this is the first chance I've had to go see a doctor. In the time between, I've had the pleasure of experiencing things such as my knee swelling if I overdo things, feeling like there someone snapping a rubber band inside my knee, and shooting pain if I even attempt to ride my bicycle. I've had to start wearing a knee brace when I work because my knee gets angry and irritated when I am on my feet for hours on end, as I am at work.

So, we took some x-rays. The doctor said I have actually developed cysts where my previous surgeries were. He said it's common and that will be something to address. Also, there knee has less spacing, which is indicative of osteo-arthritis- not a surprise considering the situation. Of course, x-rays only show the dense bone tissue so I have an MRI scheduled for next week, which will show the full extent of the damage to my knee.

The doctor is thinking of possibly having to do two surgeries-one to fix the damage done from previous surgeries. He said that they would have to find the screws and take them out, scrape the junk out of the bone and then pack it to let the bone heal-and it could possibly come from my hipbone, "which could be quite painful." Then, after a few months of healing, the second surgery to repair the knee itself.

I told him, "Wow, that's scary."

He said we would figure it out once the MRI results came back. Driving home, of course, I was an emotional wreck at the condition of my poor knee and the thought of painful surgeries.

Now, however, as I start to calm down a bit, I'm starting to think. First, I am thankful that my friend recommended this doctor to me. I am thankful that he didn't sugarcoat it and that he looked at what was happening with the bone based on the other surgeries I've had. And, I have questions, already, but that will be as we discuss my options, but right now I am thinking that if I have to put up with pain for a few months in exchange for being able to use my knee normally again- to be able to ride my bike, walk, swim, and whatever else, then it could be worth it. It's definitely better than my knee continuing to deteriorate until I can hardly walk anymore. Also, if they go in to repair the bone, they might be able to do what they need to do so that I would actually be able to ride a bike in between the surgeries?? Maybe?? That would be good, to at least be able to resume some sort of activity that I love and haven't been able to do…

So, we'll see. Right now, it's all up in the air and a big question mark…So, next week will bring more news and options.. we shall see.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Thunk!

This morning, I woke up when I heard a "Thunk!" against my window. I thought, "What was that?" and got to look. On my small balcony, I saw the source. It looked like a brown-grey blob that, to my unawake eye, seemed like a large seed or demolished toy of some sort. I figured someone threw it, but who and why? All sorts of strange thoughts- maybe it was something someone shot, not realizing it would hit someone's house? Maybe some neighborhood kid found this thing and just threw it, again, not realizing it would hit? All sorts of strange, sleepy thoughts. I decided to investigate.

After pulling my jeans on (after all someone could be out there, I don't need to flash the neighborhood), I stepped out on the balcony and there, in the cold pre-dawn, was my little blob--a tiny bird, just sitting there, dazed, probably wondering, "what the hell just happened??"

I scooped it up and it just sat in my hands, blinking up at me. It was a little warbler. I went downstairs and sat outside with it, waiting for it to recover from its shock. At least in my hands, it had warmth. We just sat there, it blinking up at me, me staring at it in wonderment.  A few times it closed its eyes and napped, but at my slightest movement would look back up at me.

Finally, it flittered a few feet away to an empty plant pot on the table, and studied me from there. Sitting in the cold morning air, my nose started betraying me and, as much as I tried to stifle it, I sneezed, startling my little friend to the fence, a little further away.

Now, knowing it was recovering, I slowly got up and grabbed my camera. It wasn't afraid, and sat there looking at me while I took some photos of it as the sun came up. Finally, it recovered enough to fly off into the nearby trees.


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Baby it's cold outside...


As January progresses, we are finally getting some winter-ish weather down here in South Florida. Of course, the rest of the country is having a much colder time of it than we are, with many areas dipping into the single digits and negatives (and mind you we're talking fahrenheit…32F = 0C!), which is quite unusual.
During the five years I lived in Maryland, the coldest I saw was 14F, and that was more than enough for this Florida girl, thank you very much. Now, if you look at the map above, the light purple area is the coldest…and if you're not familiar with the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, they are the two upper states in the middle almost completely light purple.  That's cold country, folks.

And my first year moving from Florida to Maryland, my work actually sent me to that cold country in December. I arrived at night, and the pilot was announcing the weather as we were landing, -27F.  They then warned of frostbite for any uncovered skin in less than 5 minutes. Oh boy! Lucky me!

By the time we landed and I had to go outside to get my rental car, I had hat, coat, gloves, and my scarf wrapped around my face, with only my eyes visible. Hey! I can do this!!  I had to give myself extra time in the morning to go turn the car on, let it warm up and scrape any ice that might be on the windshield. Yes, winter is so much fun.

However, a strange thing happened. I was there all week. By the end of the week, it had warmed up to a balmy -1F, and I actually was able to dodge the coat and go for a walk wearing just jeans, tee under a turtleneck and hat and gloves! Miracle of miracles! I wasn't even cold. It was actually quite beautiful.