Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Watching It Brew

I didn't realize it at first.  The situation was being brought front and center, decisions were made, and I was led to believe that all was well in the world.

Except the decisions weren't well thought out, and presented problems of their own.  I had a vaguely uncomfortable feeling, but felt no need to rock the boat.

Then, the person who should have been at the center of the situation reached out to me.  What should be done about this situation, into which she had had no input, whose solution she had created in a much more user friendly way, and which was going to be a nightmare to unravel.

After thanking her for her (really, much much much better) solution, I was forced to concede that I'd been swept up in the excitement, that she was absolutely right in asserting her dominion over the situation, and that, given the participants, arguing was inevitable.

Her more inclusive plan will no doubt infuriate the instigator, who will deny instigating, insist on her right to instigate, and wonder what all the fuss is about.  The facts are immaterial - this stems from a long lasting inability to separate ones own needs from those of others.  What she wants/needs/knows is right.  That's it.  

Only thing is, the other players have some agency here.  I, for one, am opting for the more pleasant end result.  I plan to promote the notion that there is no bad plan, was no evil intent, and nothing is lost by acquiescing to the person around whom the situation ultimately revolves.

As I said yesterday as we wrapped up our conversation, If you sent this to Ann Landers she'd be totally on your side.

And now, we sit and wait for the outreach and the response.  The gauntlet was thrown so subtly that I didn't notice it at first.  We are hoping for an immediate truce, although that seems unlikely.  Plan for the best (I am) and prepare for the worst (we are).

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sharing With a Friend

We used to watch the fireworks on 4th of July and New Year's Eve with them.  Our family walked, usually in slippers, to the end of our street, high above Richardson Bay.  They drove in from Mill Valley and, every time, ended up standing next to us, oohing and aahing at the flashes of light.

We didn't plan it.  It just happened.  Then it became a tradition that carried on long after all our kids graduated from the same high school.

We saw them at that same high school's basketball games - both the boys and the girls made runs at the state championships - again, after the kids were gone.  I followed their daughter's music career on Facebook, another way to stay in touch.  

They split their time between Marin and Hawaii.  There is always a beautiful sunset or sunrise to be shared on social media but, beyond that, there hasn't been very much until this month when she reached out to share that he was having his hip replaced 5 days after I did mine.

Now, I am a font of advice and best practices.  

I bought Kizik easy to step into shoes and they removed one chore from TBG's list of Getting Me Ready For The Day,  They don't look like something G'ma picked out in the 1940's.  One pair are turquoise and mesh topped,


the other, white and green and look like tennis shoes,

and there were so many options that TBG went ahead and bought himself a pair once he saw how gorgeous they are and heard me kvelling about how comfortable they are.  A nice wide toe box and a comfy insole makes walking (dare I say it) a breeze.

I emailed the link for a $20 discount.  He bought two pairs, too. (It will work for you, too, if you click through.)

His leg is swollen and bending his knee hurts - a lot.  That's been my problem, too.  It feels like there isn't enough room inside my skin for the tendons to stretch themselves out.  Last night we took off the knee high compression socks and I slept without them for the first time.  I woke up and, lo and behold, I have a kneecap!  I'm wearing them during the day today with much less discomfort.  Allowing the blood to flow through my whole leg (which is now black and blue all the way down to my ankle) seems to have made a difference.  There is much less swelling and the socks are not digging a groove in my flesh.

I've been using Arnica gel to reduce the swelling and 2000mg CBD balm where the bandages aren't but the pain is.  

To say today was a good day is to understate the obvious.  I made chicken salad.  I did laundry (TBG did the bending and carrying but I did the folding and put my own clothes away.... yes, I am bragging.)  I organized my library books and collected items to be donated and tried my very best to velcro the grab stick to my walker.

It is funny to ask him to come and pick up my grabber so that I can grab things.  Well, I laugh.  He wonders why I just don't call him to do it for me in the first place.

I've shared all of this via email, first through her, and now, directly to him.  These connections forged at the turn of the century continue to warm the cockles of my heart.  I wish we were conversing about something less painful, but it feels good to be able to offer advice and kvetch with someone who's going through the same thing at the same time.

In Psych 101 we learned that misery loves miserable company.  It's a good thing to know we'll still be there for one another once we aren't miserable any more. 

Why not?  This relationship has lasted for decades without once laying eyes on the other.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Sunset

The sun sets in the backyard.  My desk overlooks the front.  The colors are more brilliant, the kitchen is back there, and I'm usually done with the deskwork by then.  We can see the softer colors reflected in the dining room mirror, but I rarely watch the fauna our front during what appears to be a most delicious time of day.

The quail are bobbing around.  I don't see any babies behind them, so maybe it's just mom and dad stocking up on groceries.  

The lizards are quieter as the shadows grow longer.  

The little birds, the ones I'm going to learn to identify with Cornell's help this summer, are balancing precariously on the 15' shoot out of the yucca near the driveway.

I'd take pictures, but balancing in the middle of my walker is not a great idea. (Can you hear Little Cuter shrieking MAMA DON'T DO THAT??  I can.)

Have a wonderful weekend, denizens.  I'm going to continue to do laps around the pool, enjoying every single pain free step.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

What I've Been Reading Lately

There was a time when I documented every book on the sidebar. If you miss that feature, perhaps this post will help.  For while I was recuperating from the surgery, I read.  I read a lot.  TV was too jarring, my silly game on my phone made me jittery, but books took me right in and kept me company.  I was feeling everything very intensely; the characters and the authors felt like they were lying beside me.  Here's just a snippet of what the library provided.

Do you get antsy when the author's politics rankle?  Can you ever be sure it's the author and not the character?  That's what I struggled with in Shadows Reel by C. J. Box.  I love his stories.  I love the animals and the scenery and each one of the finely detailed women in his life.  I never forget who's who or where they were when last I left them.  But this one, with Antifa a turning point, kept kicking me in the shins.

T. Jefferson Parker's A Thousand Steps was a blast from the past.  I could feel the sand between my toes in Laguna Beach, 1968.  There's a list of people to thank in this book, and I read each and every one of their names, wondering whose story was whose.  The mystery is, as his always are, well crafted, but it's the people and the scenes themselves that made me want to keep reading even as my eyes were closing.

I went on a James Patterson and company binge.  The Paris Detective was three novels under one cover.  The world's richest, suavest, handsomest human being only wants to be a detective.  His gradually-becoming-besotted partner more than carries her fair share, but there's nothing creepy about any of it.  I realized two chapters into the story that I'd read The Jailhouse Lawyer already; it's a tribute to his storytelling that I remember how the book ends.  Fear No Evil is also one I'd read before, but Alex Cross and John Sampson are some of my favorite literary duos so I read it again before picking up  Death of The Black Widow, which kept me in suspense the whole way through. 

A Step Too Far was much better than I'd come to expect from Lisa Gardner.  Her last few novels have left me cold but this one was delicate and intricate and posed questions I'm still pondering.  The Paris Apartment was a lot creepier than I'd hoped for and a lot more happy ending than is possible in the real world and was waaay more predictable than it ought to have been and yet I enjoyed each and every page.  Lucy Foley, a new author for me, drew vivid characters and her descriptions put me right in the center of Paris, eating (wishfully) pastries that broke gently under a silver fork.

I did some heavy lifting reading, too.  I'm saving those for another post.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Fits and Starts

Every day is a new adventure. 

Yesterday I was twitchy and achy and slow.  Today I am peaceful and achy and not quite as slow.  I took 2 steps straight forward today without thinking about the walker.  It wasn't a planned experiment, I just found myself at the island with both hands free.

I must be getting better if my subconscious let me do that.  But I'm still keeping the walker.  Two steps are, after all, just two steps.

After some confusion over the instructions, I've abandoned the fat Ace Bandage hugging my thigh.  It was uncomfortable and I am glad that it is gone.  The TED hose are still on, but I'm making them a fashion statement.  Scarlet said that yesterday's outfit could be taken out to dinner. (Of course, she then said without those socks, of course..... but I'm pretending not to hear.)

My head feels clearer every day,  which is the best part of all.  Not being able to keep two thoughts in m head simultaneously was emotionally draining, and resulted in my discovery this morning that my old habit of leaving piles everywhere is not quite as buried as I'd hoped.  It's not easy for me to move things around, but TBG takes direction very well and this house now looks a lot more presentable .  Thinking is good.

I'm stiff and I'm working on it because rehab sometimes hurts but that hurt is stretching what needs to be stretched, is avoiding lazy old habits which will inhibit my ability to resume much of my pre-perforated life, making me whole again.

Thank you, Science.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A Tasty Morsel

My body takes its own sweet time shedding anesthesia.  I live a different life while it's in me, the most noticeable thing being the world's most vivid dreams.

Like last night.

We watched half of No Man of Her Own, wherein pregnant Barbara Stanwyck takes the full load when she's tossed over by her boyfriend.  The original version was I Married a Dead Man, which gives you some sense of how she found a chance at a new life, until the old boyfriend and his new squeeze show up to ruin it all.

We got bored halfway through and went to sleep.

And then I was dreaming, and the blonde bimbo was out to get me and I was in the car and she was trying to drag me out of it and it was all in Technicolor and going very fast and I knew that I had to get her to let go so I bit her hand.

Only......

Sweetie.... babe.... please don't bite me.

Yes.  I had grabbed his hand and chomped down.  This was not a nibble he said through his laughter, holding his hand and examining the damage.  

I didn't break the skin, but it was close. We turned on the lights and held one another and laughed and cried and laughed some more.

Ah, I am so lucky to have him nearby when I need him.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Post Op

Every single thing about the experience was exemplary.

You know that I am a harsh critic of just about every thing, so that must be surprising for you to read.  But it's true.  Others may have had negative experiences there, but I have nothing but praise for the folks I met at Banner last week.

It went seamlessly (what I remember and what I've been told).  I never felt insecure or ignored.  The treatment team listened to me.  They spoke intelligibly, and didn't mind my (many) questions.  

And then I woke up and, just as the surgeon and his team promised in his office, the pain in my hip was gone.

The pain in my hip is gone.

As I wince from the surgical process itself (itching and swelling and pain at the incision and having to sleep on my back and being nauseated by the pain meds and and and AND as G'ma used to say who wants to be around a crabby old lady so I'll stop kvetching) I have to keep reminding myself that the pain in my hip is gone.

The pain in my hip is gone.  

I'm uncomfortable enough that it's hard to focus on what feels good, but the tears in the eyes of Little Cuter and TBG when I first stood up to grab the walker tells the story.  They were shocked.  Gobsmacked.  Overwhelmed.

No groaning.  No lurching. No leaning. OMG look at you!

The pain in my hip is gone.

Once I figure out the best way to keep the pain manageable (do I have stories to tell) and am able to hold more than half a thought in my head, I'll be more readable, I promise.  But, for today, I'm focusing on just one thing:

    The pain in my hip is gone.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Change is Gonna Come

Little Cuter is arriving today.

Tomorrow I'm having my hip replaced.

For eleven and a half years I've been exercising, concentrating, reconnecting nerves, losing numbness, reclaiming my glutes, and limping all the while.  As long as the pain moved around, I knew that I was targeting weakness.  That was a good thing.  

But for the past six months or so, the pain has been static - my entire hip joint hurts all the time.  My quads and my hamstrings are doing their best, but, as my x-ray showed us last month, arthritis has invaded my acetablulum and my femoral head.  It looked like snow in December - all white and crusty and definitely not as sharp and pristine as my youthful left hip.

The answer was obvious - it was time for it to come out.

I'm going to the same doctor who did the repair back in 2011, when the damage was new and I was younger.  I don't remember much from that hospitalization, but I do remember telling the surgeon that I wanted to keep my own stuff.  So, he put me back together with screws and plates and spit and baling wire, all twisted together in an intricate web that has held me (basically) upright for more than a decade.  

It's done all that it can do.  It's time to replace it with artificial body parts.

That's a creepy thing to contemplate.  I didn't like having an IUD, not for the cramping but because it was a foreign body inside my human self.  I'm not thrilled with fillings in my teeth.  

Going under anesthesia isn't my favorite way to spend a morning, although they'll be using a lighter method that will have me awake as soon as the mask is removed.  Last time they went into me, they used a tube down my throat that irritated my uvula to the point of being unable to swallow.  I won't have that issue this time, but being unaware of what's going on around me is not my favorite place to be.

But, I can't get up without groaning.  I have moved from limping to gimping to waddling to swaying.  Since I've made the decision, my gait has gotten worse; there's no use in trying to work through the discomfort when the discomfort will soon be gone.

That's right. Gone.  

What sold me on doing the procedure was the nurse telling me that when you wake up that pain you feel in your hip will be gone.  There will be surgical pain, but the hip pain will be gone.

Gone.

My constant companion since CTG died, the aches that pull me back to gunshots in front of the grocery store will be no more.  Several years ago, Brother looked at me with compassion.  You don't ever get a break, do you?  It's a constant reminder, isn't it.

I don't know what I'll do without that reminder.  It's been lurking in my brain for a long, long time.  There will be a void.  I don't know what will fill it.  I hope that gliding smoothly across the floor will put joy where there was angst.  I hope that bending without being reminded that my body doesn't like doing that any more will make me smile.  Yoga and Pilates and lifting weights, tumbling and rumbling with my grandkids,  hiking and squatting and just moving without pain --- all this is in my future.

I don't need aches to remind me of my little friend.  I don't need to suffer in order to honor her memory.  I do need to reclaim those parts of my life that the shooter took from me.  Surgery is the next step on that journey.

I'm taking Thursday and Friday off from blogging.  I'll be back on Monday morning with an update.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Reading Too Much?

I have 11 books home from the library.  

I went twice in 3 days, both times to pick up a hold that came in.  Both times, there were authors I love (Lisa Gardner, Michael Connelly, David Guterson) on the Your Lucky Day shelf (isn't that a great sign?).  


Both times there were titles that smiled at me, like Hell of a Book, which turned out to be a hell of a book.

As always, there were cover blurbs that inspired me to take a peek inside, like Reese's Book Club and Read with Jenna.

And so, here I am, with more stories than I can keep straight.  I tried to take a nap this afternoon, but I couldn't remember which kid in which story was riding his bike when the awful thing happened.... and I couldn't keep track of which awful thing I was half-remembering.

Does this happen to you?  Do you stand in front of the library shelves wondering if you've read this title before?  Do you get books home only to find, on page 3 or 4, that you know exactly why this character will be killing that character over which bit of evidence that will damn them both forever?  

I do.

Now I am looking at titles that no longer appeal to me and wondering why I bothered tp check them out.  I have a Jack Reacher novel, Better Off Dead, written in a 4 book deal by the original author - Lee Child - and his younger brother, Andrew.  Lee knows he's aging and that his readers are hungry so he's passing the series off to a younger but just as energetic and enthusiastic writer, whose shown his chops at mysteries while writing as Andrew Grant.  That shows a great kindness to those of us who think Jack Reacher (who looks NOTHING like Tom Cruise) is the ultimate hero.  It also put another book in my book bag.

They range from fluff to magical realism.  They touch on race and class and honor.  Thus far, there are no boring stories, or predictable plot lines.  And none of it cost me one red cent.

Benjamin Franklin and Andrew Carnegie had the right idea - libraries enrich us.  I'm so lucky to have mine right around the corner.  Please excuse me now; Jack Reacher is calling. 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Rest In Peace

When the first Play Group Dad died, it was an anomaly.  We were young, raising our growing families, but he'd always been a bit distant, close to reclusive, which, we found out after his passing was due to a long standing illness he chose to keep private.

We mourned.  We supported.  We wept.  People our age weren't supposed to be die.  We were stunned, with no real framework in which to set the circumstances.  Holding it as a one-off, we moved on.

But now Carey is dead.  

Carey, with whom we'd vacationed.  Carey, whose son played on most of Big Cuter's teams when they were young.  Carey, whose daughter and ours were the young hangers-on to Play Group.  Carey, whose kids went to school with ours, went to the Menomonee Club after school for sports and crafts and companionship together.  He could be counted on for carpooling in a pinch, for sharing a freezing sideline at a flag football game, for showing up.

The same could not be said for all the dads, whose presence was often greeted with a Look who's here!  Carey was there.  He was in our lives.  Now he is not. I'm having a hard time getting my head around his absence.  

He'd been ill earlier in life, while the kids were young but not babies.  He survived the treatment, wore hats and sunscreen everywhere, and carried on with the business of medicine and parenting and marriage and managing the household.   

Then, he got sick again....much sicker....with much less hope than before.  I sent letters as he battled, but I'd sent letters before that.  My words of solace and encouragement didn't have much impact on the outcome.  He was brave and fought valiantly but to no avail.  He's been gone since February.  I got the letter from his wife today.

She and I power walked the Chicago Lakefront for years - she taking off fast, me taking some time to warm up but then matching her stride for stride.  Long walks and long talks with a smart and loyal friend do a lot to shore up the down sides of life.  I know she was that for me.  I hope I was able to return the favor.  

And now, there is more consoling and mourning and sorrow..... so much sorrow.  

Because it's not an anomaly any more.  This is what the future will hold.  We knew that.  We just didn't know that.  

There's a hole in the world where Carey used to stand, short and snarky and helpful, smiling and enjoying the chaos surrounding him, getting knocked down and climbing right back up, maybe not asking for help as much as he could have but knowing that those around him admired and respected his work ethic, his love of family, his devotion to his friends. 

Olav HaShalom.  May peace be upon him.  His time of suffering on this earth has ended, and for that, we are grateful.

But he's not here any more, and that sucks.