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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I wanted to drive the Karma bus, not be a passenger.

I am happy to report that my progress is ongoing and rather seamless.  There seems to be only one snag - all the abuse that was heaped on the other hip/knee/leg has made itself known.  As one side strengthens, the other side goes south.  At least I will know what to expect on the next bionic implant.  Pfft.

Slimmie is aces at ignoring winter.

My attendance at PT sessions has been steady and, according to Ashlee, my 12 year old therapist, I am making great progress.  Her preternatural perkiness and sweetness hides a will of steel.  If I start to whine, she grips her clipboard, dimples and says, "let's just do eight more."

I have taken over all my outdoor chores - and I am certain I heard shouts of joy coming from the direction of my neighbor's house.  The sheep looked at me suspiciously, the llama was happy to hear my voice (graham crackers) and I am starting to feel like normalcy is within reach.   Whatever normal will be.  Now, if the snow would just stop falling.  Yesterday was my first full day - sheep feeding, chicken tending, post office visiting, and trash hauling.  I was exhausted but happy.

Lovey wouldn't mind an early spring.

In a conversation with a friend about our retirements - she and I both retired last year - she, willingly, with lots of foresight and planning, while mine was foisted upon me, with lots of whining and fussing and little planning - we both agreed that, thanks to Covid, it was hard to distinguish between retirement and quarantine.  Or, at least, it was hard to grasp that we are retired.  I still have dreams about forgetting to clock out or in at work.  I'm placing all my hope apples in the spring basket, so to say.  I've gone through all my seeds and have started making lists.  Lists always make me feel so organized and in charge.  Ha.

Peanut just wants to know 
if it's time for dinner.  It's not.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Home. Alone. With my mystical toothpaste and magical pillow.

My apologies for taking so long to resurface. Again.  I have been adjusting to being on my own and sorting out the on-taking of my day-to-day chores.  After bidding a tearful goodbye to my middle sis (Peanut and Lovey stared out the window for hours, not believing that she had really gone), I muddled about for a few days.  Most of the activity centered around finding where the girls had relocated kitchen items.  Apparently, I have morphed into an OCD person, having to have my little red handled knives in their place, the water pitcher just so.  While I still have the QE3 (aka walker) and cane at hand, I am slowly and surely starting to get about without accouterments.  I only stagger a little.

I have taken on the chicken tending activities and hope to be fully functional by the end of this week, dammit.  I am sure my neighbor will be popping open the bubbly when that happy event occurs.  What a gem.  The only downside is that each appearance of my neighbor (the same neighbor, wearing the same outer clothing, driving the same car) drives the dogs into maniacal throes of barking.  This is especially hard on the nerves when he makes four trips over.  He makes four trips over because he is 85 and does things in steps.  We are now to the point where he only comes once in the morning and as needed for snow removal (it's snowing as I type).  The chickens were happy to see me and I, them.  There's no one like mom.

My PT has started and I have a list of exercises to perform at home.  This is a good thing, as we have had ice, snow, sleet, wind and more snow, every other day.  Interspersed with frigid temps.  Our next storm is starting now and building up overnight into tomorrow.  The chances of my making it to PT tomorrow are slim.  I have plenty of food (but no one but me to cook it, boohoo) and, other than PT and a few doctor appointments, there is no reason to leave.

As we segue off in a totally different direction....

I have been on an off-and-on search for toothpaste that does not involve mint flavoring.  That's led me to children's toothpaste - mango and strawberry; yummo, but a whole lotta sugar.  What's up with that? - to tea tree oil, which was reminiscent of brushing one's teeth in the woods, using a pine branch - to baking soda.  Blech, just blech.  Then, quite by chance, I stumbled on Tom's of Maine's Propolis and Myrrh toothpaste.  I could have turned to their cinnamon flavor, but the sheer oddity of the ingredients attracted my wacky side.  And, let's face it, both of my sides are wacky.  I now enjoy a mystical experience every time I brush my teeth.  Who can ask for more?  

As you can surmise, two weeks under constant surveillance and care did not put even the tiniest dent into my own particular (or peculiar) life bubble.  Having solved the toothpaste dilemma, I immediately turned to the pursuit of the perfect pillow.  I have been through buckwheat, foam, foam with gel, bamboo, fiberfil, fiberfil plus.  I feel like the proverbial princess with her pea problem, if you will forgive the reference.  Nothing produced the quality of slumber that I daydreamed about.  One night, a few days before surgery, I grabbed one of the shammed pillows (used just for frou-frou-ness) and shoved it under my head.  Out like a light.  In the morning, waking from a deep and painless sleep, I beheld the feather pillow behind the sham.  I was on my Amazon account before my first cup of coffee and am the happy owner of two pristine goose down pillows.  Let's hope my luck holds but, deep in my heart, I think that pillows are fickle.

I am celebrating every day that the minimal pain I enjoy is based on whipping my muscles into shape and not the soul-crushing pain of collapsing hip joints.  I have lots of projects to tackle inside, while I wait for winter to disappear.  I have a garden to plan.  I have retirement to wrap my head around.  I have mountains to climb, ships to sail and lots of knitting projects.  I also have a LOT of catching up to do with friends who keep checking on me, bless 'em.  


Friday, January 29, 2021

She's Alive! She's Alive!

Just popping in to let you all know that I came through the hip replacement with flying colors.  The only side effect seems to be cotton in the brain.  I was able to hold onto my outpatient status - in at 5:45A and home by 4P.  I had excellent care and can't say enough good things about the surgeon, staff or facilities.  They proclaimed me their star outpatient case, which puffed me up no end.  

I was walking and able to go up one step about two hours after coming to.  I can only complain about one thing.  My sister cooks too well.  And she is too compassionate and thoughtful.  Boohoo, poor me.  The night before surgery, she made squash tumeric ginger soup and mushroom cheese risotto.  When I got home, she had made a chicken tangine with rice.  Yesterday, she made roasted duck with orange balsamic sauce, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.  And a cranberry pie.  Today is salmon with pea shoot salad.  I don't think I can stand it, but I'm going to try.  She has also vacuumed the house, cleaned all the kitchen countertops, cleaned the Cat Cave, and and is contemplating the inside of oven door.

I'm being handed off to my second sister on Sunday, who will continue the queen treatment for yet another week.  How will I be able to survive on my own after all this wonderfulness?

Monday, January 11, 2021

The JimJam Conundrum

 For as long as I can remember, I have been a JimJams for sleepwear proponent.  JimJams, pjs, whatever one calls them, allowed me to blur the line between inside and outside wear.  Of course, that was BL (before livestock), when all I needed to do on a weekend was to make a bagel/Sunday Times run.  I could literally stay in my JJs from Friday night to Monday morning.  It almost makes me weepy to think about it.  Even now, when the likelihood of doing barn chores in my JJs is slim to none, I tend to stay in my sleepwear for as long as possible.  Then the hip gave out.  Suddenly, the mere idea of having to put on/take off JJ bottoms can have me thinking of going au natural in the middle of winter.  I have - very begrudgingly - turned to nightgowns.

Having not given a thought to them for decades, I had to do some research.  I knew I did NOT want flannel. I am not Laura Ingalls and, by the time I am done tossing and turning on my fleece or flannel sheets, I would be bound as tightly as a geisha's foot.  And was I ever shocked at the prices!  I much prefer natural fibers - cotton, wool, linen - so I bought one cotton and one cotton blend.  On sale.  With free shipping.  When I slipped on the cotton nightgown, I was immediately reminded of Uncle Fester.  Or, Uncle Fester joins the Army, as it is an Army-like green.  It went from neck to toes in a long, shapeless green tube.  But it is comfy and the dogs could care less about my lack of fashion sense.  The second one was tres chic and I had an overwhelming desire to sashay all over the place.  Until I realized that my present version of 'sashay' is more of a slow, crablike gait, entirely lacking in graceful moves.  

I am not sure that this switch in my nightwear allegiance will outlast its present convenience.  It is awfully nice to be able to get ready for bed in minutes, rather than 10s of minutes.  And there is a little Gloria Swansonesqueness (whoa!) about the idea of sashaying around in a nightgown, when my sashay comes back.  Plus, I can always pull on a pair of jeans under the nightgown and go do chores!  Woot!  Woot!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Older, yes, but wiser?

 There appears to be a cutoff date for age=wisdom and I have arrived.  Before you contest - "Oh, no, no, no, no.  You're such a smart cookie" (you were going to say that, right?) - let me lay out my case.

My sister provides a wealth of chicken goodies every visit.  I decided, in my 'wisdom', to put it all into a small, covered bucket with handle, so it's easier for me to manage one-handed (second hand has a death grip on my cane).  So far, so good.  I also have to carry a bucket of water in the same hand.  Hmmm.  Light bulb! (and what a dim bulb it was)  I will float the smaller bucket in the water bucket, thus having one bucket to carry!

Off I totter to the chicken yard, practically glowing with smugness.  Until I discovered that the covered bucket had small holes drilled around the bottom for gawdknowswhat reason.  Soggy treats and flavored water.

My neighbor, bless him, continues to make sure that all snow is shoveled off deck and paths.  With our wacky weather (rain/snow/rain/snow), most of the walkways have developed a treacherous layer of ice.  As I prepared to make the daily trek to the mailbox, I briefly thought about footwear/ice.  Then, poof, it was gone.  Out I went.  If I could have clocked my progress, it would have been about 1 mile per 2 hours.  I minced my way across the yard as far as I could go - heading toward grassy/crunchy spots.  Then there was the driveway - a virtual river of ice.  I ratcheted down my progress and contemplated levitating.  I eventually made it to the mailbox and then had to make my way back.  Yak-Traks for cane bottoms should be a thing.

Let me add here that I have Yak-Traks.  And they are conveniently set out by the boots.  However, I thought it was wise to set off over the tundra in my moderately skid-proof boots.  I rest my case.

To add insult to injury, I was recounting my adventure to the mailbox to my sister, comparing my progress as the graceful gait of a three-toed sloth (trying to smooth over the lack of sense by focusing on a much nicer visual aid), when she said, "Oh, I think it's creepy the way they move."  Okay.  Sloths are creepy, snails are slimy and hermit crabs move faster than I do.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Apparently, I exist in a Universe of my own.

In the countdown to New Hip Time, I was required to attend a class at the medical center for all joint replacement candidates.  Securely masked and safe-distanced, the six of us sat - canes propped beside us - in a semi-circle, waiting to be enlightened.  Well.  

In my universe, I would awake on the appointed day, take a shower, check my toenails for chipped polish, pack a few things, and head to the hospital.  There, I would be sanitized, anesthetized, pain-relieved, fitted with a new hip joint, then wheeled to my sister's car and scooted home.

In reality, I need to see my doctor, get a special blood test, get tested (again) for Covid, get an okay from my dentist, take extra strength Tylenol for two days prior to surgery, change my sheets constantly, changed my jimjams daily, take a shower every day for the five days leading up to and including the day of surgery, using special soap, use additional special body wipes the morning of, use a special nasal spray the morning of, drink Gatorade (never!), and more.  More!  I am not allowed to have anyone with me, but cannot take my phone.  I suppose I am to use ESP with my sister.  It is such a complicated procedure that I have to make a chart so that I don't forget anything.  I suppose I should be thrilled that they take such precautions, but good golly.

As we all sat and listened in stunned silence, the other 'hip' piped up and said that she didn't HAVE that many pjs.  Amen, sister.  Then the RN went around the room asking, "do you live alone? Who will be caring for you the first week?"  There were two of us loners - me and a long-haired, bearded fellow, wearing voluminous brown sweats.  He was a 'knee'.  Two of the other knees were there for the second time, both men and both with long-suffering wives in tow, who were obviously not looking forward to reliving the recovery experience.  When she came to me, I chirped, "I am being tag-teamed by my sisters, who will each take a week to take care of me and anything I need."  You could feel the hostility and envy being generated in my direction.  Then it was revealed that I was going in as an outpatient.  One of the wives seemed very nervous that there was a chance that her husband would NOT be in the hospital for two days.  

My neighbor is building a temporary ramp for when I (and my new best friend, Walker - not Johnny...yet) perambulate into the house for two weeks of shameless pampering recuperation.  My surgeon does not start PT for two weeks.  After spending two weeks in the loving care of my wonderful sisters, I may cry copiously after they leave.  I am looking forward to getting my life back.

On  seasonal note, I hope that everyone had a quiet, safe and happy Christmas.  Ours was very small and quiet and just right, although we missed the NYC sisters.  We did some face-time, had a lovely meal and I tottered home at a decent hour.  It's looking like New Year's Day will be a repeat, which is fine and dandy by me, although I would really prefer to spend it at home with the kids.  Fingers crossed that 2021 is a year of kindness and healing.  And good gardening weather!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

And I thought I'd be bored.

Although I now move in sloth-time, it seems that I seldom get to lounge around.  I left the house for a couple of hours last Thursday and, when I oozed through the front door, I found that Peanut had broken into the utility room and (with the help of his faithful sidekick, Lovey) had gotten into the kibble.  He resembled a fully stuffed bratwurst (emphasis on the brat).  After he had pooped his body weight twice (TMI?), I started the vigil to see how badly he had upset his system.  It's been a week of special diet (as in, I get up at 4A to poach chicken and cook rice) but I think we are making progress.  At least Lovey had the decency to look contrite, although that tends to be her normal expression.

I'm gearing up for the "Big One" this evening and into tomorrow.  I do hope the snow (10+") is as dry, light and fluffy as they predict because I can handle dry and fluffy.  I cannot handle wet and heavy.  Thank goodness I was able to shuffle around and get the interior of the carport organized, so that I could slide my car in.  She's zipped in, nice and snug.  The chickens have water and feed, the sheep and llama have a full, heated water bucket and plenty of hay.  Good thing, as it will take me a long while to make my way to either coop or barn in the morning.  Neighbor No. 1 is lined up for deck clearing and roof raking.  Neighbor No. 2 will plow the drive.  I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow.  Hurrah!

When I am not providing hand servant service to dogs and cat, I have been furiously working on some holiday knitting.  To entertain myself, I have been watching an old series starring Boris Karloff as James Lee Wong, detective.  It is so bizarre that I can't stop watching it.  Who, on god's green earth, thought Boris Karloff would make an excellent Chinese detective?  It looks as if he is wearing an oiled, rubber toupee.  At least he doesn't deliver his lines in the stereotypical bad English (chop-chop) of the Charlie Chan era.  He sounds just like Boris Karloff.  You really have to see it to believe it.  The supporting cast is cringe-worthy.  It's as fascinating as a train wreck.

I got through my annual dermatology check-up with relative ease.  There was one dodgy bit that she sent off for a biopsy, but everything else was okeydokey.  And the dodgy bit was on the opposite side to my surgery.  Apparently, this is a big deal.  My doctor is 12 and I do love the nurses and medical staff at the center.  The nurse that picked me up from the examining room to take me to the procedure room (they've gotten so fancy), was warbling away and swung the door open to discover the previous patient - an elderly man - was still in the process of getting dressed.  Luckily for all of us, all he had left were his socks and shoes.  As he looked up, startled, and the nurse gasped in horror, I said, "Well, now that I have seen your bare feet, I suppose we are engaged."  Sometimes I have no idea where these things come from.  At least he had a sense of humor, and we all had a good laugh.  I was sent to the ultraviolet room to wait.  I contemplated an upright suntan.

I'll check back, apres storm...