Evening walk

My pain got a little more bearable as the day went on...so Mean P...., my physical therapist, is back to just P.... She is not mean at all, she's pretty cool in fact...but I have to focus my pain on something/someone...so I directed it at the physical therapy...which she is in charge of....

I did get out for my walk this evening and did my exercises again, even the ones that are so hard and hurt...I was supposed to do them three times today, but I only was able to do them twice. P comes again tomorrow afternoon for more physical therapy... I am going to take my pain meds beforehand. While I was outside tonight I tried to get into my truck...to see if I could drive yet... nope... can't get the leg bent right yet to do it...maybe tomorrow.

Pain Scale

This is a sign that hung in my hospital room. Several times a day, various people inquire about the level of pain one is feeling. 0 is no pain 10 is the worst pain ever. Prior to surgery my pain, on a daily basis, ranged from a 3 to a 7 or 8. I did have a couple of days that it was closer to a 9. Since surgery, with meds to manage the pain, my pain has not been above a 4 or 5. After PT yesterday my pain was definitely higher than a 3...higher than 4....after PT I iced my knee and the pain was noticeably higher than it had been. When I was in the hospital a doctor told one of my roommates who was complaining of pain that the best way to relieve pain was to move. Easy for him to say... but there is some truth to it. I had a really hard time getting to sleep last night because my leg hurt and because of the pain it was even more difficult to find a comfortable position. After tossing and turning I decided my pain was at about a 6 and took some pain meds, it was after midnight...I took the full dose...not the half doses I have been taking. I did sleep after the meds kicked in, but woke up with pain, still around a 6, closing in on 7... on the scale this morning. I was not a happy camper. My physical therapist's name went from P... to Mean P.... The pain made me feel unsteady on my feet so I went back to using my walker vs. my crutches when I first got up. Then I decided that I needed to move my leg to see if the pain would decrease. I used my CPM machine and asked mom to get my cryocuff filled so I could numb (ice) the pain as I was trying to work some of it out. (I also took another full dose of pain meds around 8 a.m.) The combo of meds, ice, and movement did alleviate the pain. I rested and cried from frustration a little as the CPM machine helped me out. (Just frustrated because I want to stop having pain from this...period.) Around 9:30 I beckoned my mom who helped me do my PT exercises. The ones that she has to help me with are the ones that involve me trying to get my leg off the bed while laying on my back... She says I make awful faces when I try to do it. I am sure I do...but it is HARD...and it does hurt. I then did the rest of my exercises and will do them all again later this afternoon and again tonight. I don't really think of my physical therapist as Mean... I just needed a scapegoat for the pain...and I know...or my head knows that I will have some pain as things improve. I just am tired of pain....very tired....but I know this pain is a means to recovery...not just suffering.... No pain, no gain...right? Right.

Speaking of pain... Meg came by today and mom kicked our butts at canasta. Meg has been wanting to challenge us for a while, since we beat her last time, and today was the day. Mom showed us who was boss in the canasta arena. Meg came bearing gifts... she has thrown her hat into the Pimp My Walker arena. (By the way, I am extending the competition to the crutches too, because I am beginning to use them more often.) Meg brought additions that my mom, and cats, just LOVE. I attached the bell that she brought to my crutches. It is a bell that you might put on your bike to nicely signal to someone to move aside. She also brought a handy dandy rear view mirror so that I can see when people try to sneak up on me. My mom's favorite though was the pink horn...it is LOUD and absolutely obnoxious! I love it! Mom is thrilled at being beckoned by it... ha ha ha.... I wish this blog had audio so you all could hear it.

So the day has gotten better... waking up in pain...not fun...but all of my new noise gadgets....priceless!


illegitimate comment

There was a comment posted today by someone that is basically like a spam email. As a result I have enabled a feature here that allows me to choose which comments to allow an which ones not to... the only comments I will not publish will be the spam ones. If this effects your ability to add comments, please email me and let me know and I will change it back....and we will just have to deal with the spammers... grrrr.

Just an update...

Nothing big to report today...Last night I told mom to speak to me around 7:30 a.m. today if she hadn't heard from me yet. I figured that I would get up early, shower, and be ready for anything. (Well...ready for the visiting nurse and PT at least!) You know what they say about good intentions... I got up around 7:00 and told mom I was going back to bed. I did not sleep well last night. I kept waking up and repositioning...it was humid, yet my fan was causing me to feel chilly...but I was too hot without it on... Crikey.. I was like Goldilocks...too hot...too cold.... so I told mom I was going to go back to bed. I did get back in bed, but did not sleep. I used my CPM machine for about 30 minutes, only up to 70 degrees to help things get moving. I did get my shower in before lunch and the visiting nurse came at 1:30 or so and drew some blood. She did not have the handy dandy machine that the other nurses have been using. The machine is like the monitor diabetics use and the only blood required is from a pin prick. Today the nurse had to draw a tube of blood...but it didn't hurt too badly. Then my PT cae by around 2:00. She got me out in the driveway walking around and it felt good. She has added that to my daily regimine, which is nice. I wonder when I can add going to a pub for a drink to my routine??? Soon??? We did the exercises we had done the other day and I am still struggling to lift that leg up independently. It is so strange to not be able to do something that seems so simple...and that I could do two weeks ago...pre-surgery. It will come. It, the therapy, was more painful today than it has been...wondering if that is because I really have cut back on the pain meds. I am still taking it, but not as often. She did tell me that it is a good idea to take some before doing PT... I agree. We also worked on stretching that front incision...by bending it as far as I can when sitting in a chair. After I bent it as far as I could, the PT pulled it even more. Ouchie! It did hurt, but not beyond what I can handle. I hope that I gain more motion there soon.

Regular blog readers know that I have had a lot to complain about when it comes to health care and insurance red tape...today I am going in the opposite direction. It has been so nice having people come to my home to help with my recovery. At this point I am not sure I could bend my knee far enough to sit in a vehicle so getting places would be challenging and most likely painful. So having people come here is great. Mom has been rounding up the cats and barricading them in a room to prevent them from getting overly involved in the therapy sessions. The cats aren't thrilled, but it does make things easier and I don't have to worry about letting the cats outside accidentally. The PT person who came to my house today is good at her job. Not only is she focusing on my knee and me making gains, but she is genuinely interested in what this journey has been for me. I am impressed by that... and appreciative. In passing, last week, I had mentioned to her that I was blogging about my experience with PVNS. Today she asked me about the blog again and asked if she could read it. I think that she really is interested in the whole healing process, not just the incisions. (By the way P... the physical therapist's first initial...I am not just blowing smoke here because you may read this... I really do appreciate your interest in this. Thank you!)

I am not sure what the evening will hold. I am still a little tired...and am currently icing my knee with my cryocuff. B(y the way... if you have not heard of or used a cryocuff before... they are a great invention. It uses ice and water to help reduce pain and swelling. I am using mine a lot these days!) I am feeling like I may be able to beat mom at canasta tonight...and am trying to get my friend Meg to come down so I can kick her butt too.

I had a good chat with Pele last night...he has been in San Diego at a convention for Sci-Fi/Comic stuff...movies, tv, etc. (Science Nerd Fest 2007!!! Just kidding Pele!) He asked me about Dr. McDreamy from the hospital...asked me if I had tried to exchange numbers..... HA... not when I had not showered for days, washed my hair for days, and had these two huge, gross, incisions on my leg.... the timing was not quite right... who knows, maybe when I go down for my follow up appt. McDreamy will be there.... A girl can hope, right?


A Few Big Steps...

Today was a big day. The first big deal was that I was able to get both legs into the shower at the same time! Yahoo! Perhaps this does not seem like a big deal, but let me tell you... the shower set up I have right now involves two chairs...one outside of the tub and one inside. I have been sitting in the one on the outside and carefully transitioning to the inside one. I have then been trying to get my left leg, the one that had surgery into the tub as well. Until today my leg was not bending far enough on my own to get it into the tub...my tub/shower is pretty standard size, but get a chair in there AND try to swing my long leg into it without bending...difficult.. but I did it today!!!!! yahoo!!!!

I also went 12 hours without pain meds... 12 hours people, come on...that's pretty good. I also got my CPM machine up to 90 degrees today! 90 90 90 90 90 90 90 90!!!!! I think having less humidity today helped. And... hold onto your seats..this one is the best...

I left my apartment! Yep. Using my crutches I went down my porch stairs and 'walked' down part of my driveway to look at my gladiolias then walked back and came up the stairs! WOW... it felt great. Makes me think that there will be adventures in my future that do not involve walkers, cats, and television!

I feel good! It must mean that the people taking care of me are kicking ass! That inludes people here and away who are keeping my spirits up!

My Mom is still here and most likely will be here throughout most of the week. (I may have her do a blog one day this week!) Dad headed north today to get some things done. They have been away from the house for two weeks, today, and he wanted to check on things and get the lawn mowed etc. He did a lot here to help me out, for sure! Thanks Dad. I am so thankful that he and mom have been with me for this. My cats are going to miss my dad... he plays with them... or maybe I should say, harasses them throughout the day... it's good for them, and for him. Dad is someone who needs ot be outside. Around here it is hard for him to do that because I live in a more urban area than what he and mom are used to...plus the humidity the last few days made it hard to want to explore anything. Dad will drive back down whenever Mom decides I will be ok here by myself. Like we said today, I think I would be ok here by myself right now, but it would be hard. I also think that it would be very easy for me to have a "useless" feeling day and not get out of bed...having someone here right now is helpful...physically and emotionally.

Also wanted to say Happy Anniversay to my sistah and her hubby! Eleven years! Congrats you two! She may be heading up this way with my nephews one day this weekend so that my parents can see the boys and the boys can see them. I am trying to think of a way that I could get to the beach because I would love mom and dad to see the boys at the beach...they have so much fun!

One day at a time.... right? Today was a good one!

CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) Machine

This is the CPM Machine. It moves and bends my leg. The goal is to be able to bend my knee 90 degrees within three weeks. I am at around 80, though I think if the humidity slows down, the swelling will decrease, I will hit 90 soon.

This is my leg in the machine, not bent much and Tess in the background...overseeing my therapy.


Game On Baby!!

I am happy to announce that some of you have taken the "Pimp My Walker" competition seriously! Today two competitors stopped in to add some flare to my walker. This is Sue and Kris with my decorated walker. Of course they could use my walker as parallel bars because they are not quite as tall as I am. ;-) They added silk flowers to the left and right sides, wrapped ribbon around the top bar of the walker that says SMILE... and hung some really cute flowers from the lower front bar next to the piggy from Lola! So I am looking good as I strut my stuff. They took a picture of me using the newly decorated walker, but I thought featuring them was better! By the way ladies, I hope the concert was AWESOME! Thanks for stopping by and adding some sunshine to my day! As for the rest of you... the competition bar has been set pretty high! Anyone else gonna enter the competion? or have the gardening fairies won?

I also wanted to post a picture of my CPM machine...since some of you have asked what it looks like. For some reason posting pictures on here today is proving difficult. I tried blogging earlier but it wouldn't let me post pics, so I waited until now... and was able to get the pic above on, but now it is giving me error messages... soooo... next time I will post pics of the CPM machine. Anyway...

Today was a good day. I tested my independence and made some brownies...even did the dishes afterwards. Things went well, but it was tiring, mostly because of the humidity...ICK... We did have a small thunderstorm here today that helped alleviate some of the stickiness, but could use another one. I felt pretty good energy wise today, though I did take an afternoon nap. Mom and Dad were sleepy today too, I think the heat was getting to all of us. Joleen came by after my nap and brought me abag filled with sweets! Thanks chickie! The back of my leg, where the incision is, all the way down my calf, was a little red today, but it did not feel hot. We think maybe my stylish stockings caused a bit of a heat rash. I hope that's all it is. I also used my crutches a little today to try to make myself put a little more weight on my leg. It is nice to be able to switch between the walker and the crutches to give my arms and hands a break.

Sorry this is short tonight, friends...and perhaps a bit scattered. Not being able to post pics the way I want to has frazzled me a bit. I will try ot write more tomorrow. Night!


Partly Cloudy...

Today I felt pretty good...but was left with a few clouds from yesterday. This is an image I found through google at http://www.kshs.org/publicat/kaleidoscope/graphics/2003april_clouds.jpg , figure I should give credit where credit is due... Jill, thanks for your encouragement... I needed it. I guess it is ok to feel sorry for myself here and there...

Today was actually a good day. I was pretty much pain free all day. I had taken meds at about 5:10 a.m. and did not take more until 5:10 p.m. which I think is pretty good. I was up and down more today than I have been and had a few visitors! Meg came by first...bringing some lasagna and homemade french bread...along with muffins.....then Kelly came by with some pasta for the freezer, along with some chips and salsa, and then Sue stopped in and kept me company while I spent some time in my CPM machine. So the day was broken up nicely by company! Thanks guys... I also need to recognize Sheila who brought breakfast over for me and my parents on Wednesday morning... Yummy...

Oh yeah, the visiting nurse also came by this morning to check my blood. It's pretty cool really... I am on this medicine that is supposed to prevent blood clots...because this surgery has higher risks of blood clots. She tests my blood and calls the results into the blood clinic in Boston, at the hospital where I had surgery. They then notify me of how much of this medicine I am supposed to take that night based on the lab work. I guess the goal is to get my blood to a place where it is clotting, but not too much... I think once my body can keep the levels steady I can come off of the meds. I hope that happens sooner vs. later... one major reason being that until I am off that medication I have to wear these sexy white circulation socks that come all the way up to my knees. FUN! If the incision won't drive men wild, these babies surely will! I am NOT going out in public wearing these things... seriously. They are a pain in the ass to get on too, let me tell you. I have this doo-hickey thingy that is supposed to make it easy for me to put socks on...well... it is a workout and currently is a 2 person job! NUTS. And... I can only take them off when I am in bed.

Some of my bandage thingys came off today and I can better see the incision on the front of my leg. I don't think the scar is going to be wide... the doc did a great job... but the skin looks... well... for lack of a better word... puckery... maybe that will dissipate with time.

I think mom and dad are getting antsy to get home. I can't blame them... they have been away for almost two weeks. I do think that if they left I would do okay without them...but it would be much more challenging. I am hoping that they stay through the weekend, giving me a chance to practice my independence a little bit, and to keep me company. It is nice to know they are here if I need something. But, I also want them to get back to their summer, their camper in the north woods.... and who knows, maybe I will make it up there again this summer. Several of the people who camp at the same campground with them have sent me cards which is very sweet.

Today I can see that there is normalcy in my future. Though I wish heading into town for a beverage at my favorite pub was in the closer future....but again... those socks are not being worn in public! (And maybe I should wait until I am using crutches more...) My big accomplishment of the day today was carrying a cup of milk from the kitchen to the living room...Do I hear applause??? Granted I spilled a cople of drops...but I made it... with my walker...not easy. I still have only one thing decorating my walker... a lonely pig... but have a feeling that a horn or bell will be added soon.

Anyway friends... thanks for sticking by me... I do need some words of encouragement... and appreciate those of you who have seen my scars and have not run away yelling.... "It's hidious! ahhhhhh!" That's all for tonight. Hasta manana!



Today was a hard day. I woke up and just felt like a giant paperweight. My legs felt achy today and did not want to cooperate with what my brain was telling them to do. My right leg was tired and sore and my right heel has been sore all day...I truly wanted to stay in bed all day. Physical therapy called this morning and said they would be here between 12 and 12:30 to work with me unless I had a conflict. My conflict was that I was feeling useless and wanted to spend the day that way. Mom and dad left me home alone for a while this morning to run some errands. I used that time to sleep and to consider calling physical therapy and cancelling, but I knew I shouldn't... knew that the PT is good for me. Mom and Dad got home around 11:00 and I was still in bed. Mom got her "momma knows best" attitude going and got my ass out of bed. I wasn't happy about it. I hate to admit she was right, but I did feel better after sitting up for a while.

PT got here about 12:15, someone different than yesterday. She was cool. She says that I am a patient of interest because of this rare condition and that many people are monitoring things. They have never worked with a patient who has two huge incisions...by which they seem fascinated. The good news about that is they are unsure what to expect...which means that they are going to be caustiously pushing me to improve. I do want to improve and I am motivated, but today I felt like nothing was going to help...even though I saw improvements today... I lifted my left leg off the bed without assistance and could not do that yesterday. Granted there was only enough room between my foot and the bed for the therapist's fingers, but it was progress. Although I tried them again tonight, just now, and couldn't do it.

The PT told me to day that things will ebb and flow and that there may not be any good explanation for it. It depends how my body is healing. I told her that I felt useless today and wondered if I had overdone yesterday. She said it was possible that my body was making me take it easy today.

I need to be patient with myself. I know...it will come... things are improving...and I can't expect to be back to walking normally.... because I wasn't even walking normally before surgery. My left leg has a hard time getting into a straight position. Prior to surgery I favored that leg so much that I rarely had it straight...it was less painful to have it somewhat bent. So...not only am I retraining the muscles because of surgery, I am trying to regain movement I had lost before going under the knife. Patience...patience...patience.....

I was wiped out this afternoon and took a nap...it is so humid I am surprised that I did sleep. I am tired tonight too and think I will sleep well. I have been waking up a lot, trying to position myself in a way that is comfortable that doesn't cause pressure on the incisions. Ideally I should be sleeping on my back with my leg straight... I can't... I am a side or stomach sleeper...so I am making due. The nurses and PTs that have come to my house agree that above all else, I need to sleep well and rest...I guess I did that today, even though it makes me feel as helpful as the letter z when spelling the word dog...

Maybe tomorrow I will feel less useless...


Day 8...post op

Not counting the day of the surgery...I have been recovering for 8 days. Wow... doesn't seem possible. Today I feel like I made some gains. I waited longer to take pain meds and was able to bear more weight on my leg. I even stood with my walker and took my hands off it for a minute...couldn't do it for extended periods of time, but maybe soon. PT came to my house today, it was nice. She has never worked with someone with these kind of incisions andagreed that the back one is nasty. She says I am strong though and to keep up with the exercises. Istayed awakeall day too... no nap... though tonight I am tired and think I will fall asleep early.

I got a nice email from a woman today who was thankful for my blog because she felt she found someone's story to whom shecould relate. That really made my day...not that she is feeling pain, but that she knows she is not alone. Thanks R.

There are a lot of things about this journey that have made me feel old... the walker, the raised toilet seat, all the other patients in my wing were like 90, the sllllloooooowwwwwww pace at which I have to walk... but I guess it is all good. My parents have been working hard around my house. Cleaning things out for me that I probably would have done as part of spring cleaning, but just didn't have the energy to do... Thanks mom and dad!

I am not posting any pics today of the incisions...but will post more as thelittle bandages come off and more of the scar is visible. I am sure that will make you all happy. I talked with Lola today and she thinks the incisions are gross! especially the one on the back. I agree... mom says I have been attacked by Zorro...

I do have to say that Lola's ideas about pimping my walker are great... although I think the stripper pole goes a little too far. I do think a horn is a good idea. Right nowI have a little piggy hangingfrom the front...bought by Lola... I will take a picture of it sometime and show it to you...maybe after I get some more decorations added to it.

Today I think I can actually see myself being able to do some things on my own - and think that I would get tired, but that when mom and dad head home I will be okay... with a little help from my friends of course.

The PT today told me to not be too optimistic about returning to work without crutches. She said it is possible, but does not want me to get my hopes up and be disappointed... we'll see. I am pretty determined, but also want to heal properly...

Oh friends... I am beat... Hope you all are well... Turning in for the night.


Viewer Discretion Advised...

Warning... here are the incisions. They are not pretty friends. These are the incisions from an anterior and posterior synovectomy for PVNS. As you will be able to tell, the healing will take some time. I had a visiting nurse come to my house today and she said I need to leave the incisions uncovered as much as possible. I am sure that the people who come to visit will greatly appreciate it.

The first one is the front of my knee. The two small holes are from a drain that was placed in there to get the yucky stuff out of there. The drain was in for just over two days and hurt like hell when they pulled it out. The doc that pulled it out was a resident and quite opposite from Dr. McDreamy. He seemed to be working with my main doc because he had to...McDreamy seemed to want to be there, helping people, appeciating the knowledge of my surgeon.

This other picture is the back of my knee...remember folks...my leg is swollen. It is pretty nasty. I do not have any staples. The incisions were closed with stiches that are under the surface of the skin and will dissolve. Then the rest was covered with small bandages that will fall off with time. I am sure that will be a lovely process.

Today I took a giant step. I took a shower! I was not allowed to do so before now because of the risk of infecting the incisions. It felt good to take a shower, but it took a lot of energy. Seems like everything does. It is frustrating, but I know I have to give myself some time.

Meg came to visit this morning, brought donuts and coffee for me and for my parents. She is planning to see me a couple of times a week and is bringing lasagna later this week. I am not sure how long my parents will be staying with me, but I do know that if they were not here to help, I would have had to go to a rehab center...which I did not want to do. I can do some things for myself, like showering, but getting things set up to shower is time consuming and would drain my energy...like getting towels... I would have to take a couple of trips to get them... setting up the shampoo and conditioner at a height I can reach I have to sit on a chair... I am beginning to understand that it is frustrating for the less vertically enhanced in the workd to not be able to reach things up high in he shower. I usually store my hair stuff on the very top... but not now...

I am wiped out... tried to call some people tonight, including Rico, but got a message that the call could not go through tonight. I am thinking of you all and will slowly get in touch with everyone. I am up for visitors, but people should call first because I am napping a lot.... (The nurse told me today I should try to nap a couple times a day.) But it does feel good to see people...and to hear from those of you who can't stop in.

My leg is in the CPM machine. Maybe I will post a pic of the machine at some point... it keeps my leg moving and realy helps a lot.

That's all for tonight bloggers... Me


I did leave the building...

Hey bloggers...

Thanks for Lola for updating ya'll. I am home...glad to be here. I have to say that I was surprosed when I came home... a couple of great garden fairies had weeded my flower garden and arranged things on my back deck so that I can use it.... not to mention that my cats all looked happy and healthy..... a HUGE HUGE Thanks to Suellen for all the cat care and for Suellen and Kris for the garden work... I felt very welcomed when I got here.

I am exhausted my friends...exhausted. I didn't think I would have the energy to say hey, so asked Lola to help me out. THanks Chickie! I think today was maybe the most tiring and emotional day so far. This morning mom came to the hospital early because I was breaking out...dad was to be waiting by the phone for when we needed our getaway ride. So mom and I had some time to ourselves. Nothing was different, really... she helped me get into my CPM machine and afterwards I started crying...not like upset cry... the kind of really hot, quiet tears that come fast and run down your face. The surgery is over...the 4-5 nodular tumorlike things have been removed...and it wasn't cancer. I had no real reason to think that it was cancer. The doctors I talked to said it was not cancer...but to be honest folks... I was afraid that I was going to wake up in recovery to learn that I had a huge cancerous tumor... irrational? Maybe. So today... as I was in my CPM machine at Brigham's I cried...relieved that this is what was expected...For a one in a million condition things have been 'by the textbook' so to speak. By the way... the fact that I have the nodular kind of PVNS, not the diffuse kind... I think that means that I am 3 in a million, not 1. It also means that I have the kind that is less likely to recur. YAHOO. Yahoo... YAHOO!!! So this means, that I may actually...someday in the not too distant future...know what it is like to not have pain in that knee.... it is a concept that is hard for me to grasp..and one I am nervous about hoping for.

Getting home was good... it has been hard trying to adjust to the furniture here compared to the hospital...the chairs here are lower than the ones I had there.. and I am getting into the opposite side of the bed than I was before...so I am training different muscles. My leg is swollen tonight...like the blimp... sure wish it felt like it could fly... it feels heavy. My cats seem happy to have me home. Tess curled up with me pretty quickly when I tried to have a nap. Stella has not gone too far from me, and Sheldon has been very affectionate. Lucy...is a little freaked out... by the walker... oh yeah.. which brings me to my big announcement....

(Clearing my throat here to yell loudly!) I announce the first competition of its kind... and hopefully the last...You are invited to join in the PIMP MY WALKER competition. I need to add some character to this thing... it's so... metally... so far, the only thing pimping my walker is a canvas bag I have hung over it so that I can transport some things myself. Any/all ideas/suggestions will be taken into account! Come on people... get creative! (For the record...there are no wheels on this beauty!)

Anyway folks... I have more to share, but need to sleep...a big big thanks to my parents for getting my butt to Boston and bringing it back...and getting me all situated at home. Love you guys!!!

Tomorrow blog buddies... I will post pics of the incisions... I have yet to fully see the one on the back...can't lift my leg to get the right angle.... so I need a pic to see it for myself...and to show others with PVNS...


Elvis has left the building

howdy again, y'all!

this is lola reporting in for her sister station WKJB in the city by the bay. she left the hospital this morning/mid-day and arrived--exhausted, but elated--late afternoon. she has everything arranged in terms of equipment, meds and nursing. she is back with her kitties and resting, resting, resting. mom and dad are there to help out, too, until they wear out or she asks them to leave. anyone up for some friendly bets? :)

she'll write more later or tomorrow i'm sure, but she was off to bed when i rec'd the instructions to infiltrate blogger security yet again.

wonder when she'll change her log-in data? i still owe some people dirt ...


I wanted to be grumpy today...

Yep... I woke up this morning and decided I was going to be grumpy. I had crazy dreams last night...vivid dreams...though I can not remember the details I did not like them. I felt like people were constantly seeking me for something. In my dreams just as someone would go to grap me, I was wokem up here with someone wanting my vital signs... it was crazy how my dreams overlapped like that with real life. So I woke up tired...and decided I was going to be tired all day...and grumpy. Like that book, Alexander and the No Good Very Bad Day, where the kids sees everything as a sign of a bad day... but as the day has progressed... I have decided that I am not grumpy.. Yes I am tired, and have a little of that silly laughter that comes along with it. Mom has been trying to kill my dad and I with poisonous gas...and it makes me laugh. Just typing about it makes me laugh. Mom is tired too and between the two of us, Dad is shaking his head. Mom just asked dad if there was any score on the game and I cried from laughing so hard.... how crazy is that? Crazy...

The picture above is one I just took of the arrangement that Debbie gave me... isn't it purty? It is very nice...sunflowers, roses and lillies... I have gotten a lot of comments on them. They brighten my days here! I am not sure if they will wilt too much before getting them home, but they are gorgeous. What's not so gorgeous is my knee... Here it is:

I know you can't see it very well, and that is a good thing, but this is it. I am posting it to show you all and also to help myself get used to what's underneath there. I haven't thought as much about the one behind my knee. My leg is swollen... like huge... like someone pulled the rip cord on one of those emergency rafts and WHOOSH... HUGE raft..shaped like Kim's leg... although I can say that I don't want anyone sitting on my leg as if it was a raft. No thanks.

Ok.. to the important stuff. I saw Dr. McDreamy this morning. He is cute...did I tell you that? I asked him about that damn machine and he said that even if I had the machine my doctor would not let me go home. He said that my doc is VERY protective of his patients...especially the ones with PVNS and that he will want to discharge me himself.....So... I guess this one in a million role has some responsibilities that go along with it. They should stop reinforcing this mentality of how special I am... you all know I already know that! Ha!

Also... I have to give a big HUG to a woman here named SUE. She is not aware of my blog, but she deserves mentioining. She has arranged it so that the machine I have been using here, the CPM machine...is going home with me! Not sure how it will all work out.. but it's going with me!!! So tomorrow I am going home Baby! I'm going home... I'm going home...(you can't see me, but I'm dancing... well sitting down moving my hips to the extent that I can.) So for a grumpy Lady... I am pretty damn happy!


There's no place like home.... There's no place like...

I am ready to come home...I even have the ok from the docs...but the hitch is the insurance company. They have yet to approve a piece of equipment I need to use every day... for three hours... so I can't leave until I make sure I have one to use at home... But my physical therapy place may have one... so I wonder if I could go there until the insurance company once again gets it proverbial head out of its ass. So... they approve the surgery... but not the equipment afterwards... the woman I spoke with yesterday said that PVNS was not on their list of "approved" conditions that require a CPM machine... Crackheads!

We'll see what I can figure out here. It would be good to go home...today.. now... but... I am trying to be patient. I do feel ready to go home...today they taught me how to give myself injections for a drug that I won't be taking when I get home. Right after I shot myself in the belly, my nurse came back in and said that the doctor had changed what I will be taking. Oh well.

Bright and early this morning my very own McDreamy arrived to check my incision... ahhhh... cute...smart...gentle...with a sense of humor...and did I mention cute? He looked at my incision and said it looks good... no blood... I told him it may look good to him, but that I was disappointed that I can no longer be a leg model. He laughed...we bantered... and he told me to run a marathon today... funny guy this McDreamy. I did not do any running, but I walked...around the wing, which is not very big...but it took some time... and energy. I did that twice... the pain is there, for sure... being controlled by some strong medication. Though while my leg is at rest, I would say that the pain is less than what it was at rest on many days pre-surgery... so that is good. It makes me feel like it is already worth it.

I did see the incisions today... umm.... YUCK. the front one is higher than I thought it would be. They did have to cut into my calf muscle... and I am afraid of having a leg cramp there.. that would...perhaps kill me.

I have talked to a few of you on the phone and it has been nice to do so... it has been great to read that you are also following the blog...I appreciate that. Jill... I am not sure if this has prepared me for having babies...not that that is in my near future anyway... but at least I do know that staying at a hospital isn't toxic. Even when modesty is gone.

I must say that the nurses here and the PCAs are great...very friendly. My height is a topic of conversation for the masses, but in such a positive way. The people here have been pleasant.. mom and dad have even survived in the big city.

My official release date is Monday... unless I can finagle something tomorrow... or steal a CPM machine...which would be hard to do since 1- I couldn't carry it, and use a walker... and B - would be easy to identify in a line up.

I'll keep you posted! Can't wait to get home and see everyone!


Out the window

Well folks... one thing this has taught me is to throw modesty out the window... Yep...LOTS of folks have seen my shiny white hiney... and to be honest... I don't care. Today I feel pretty good. The catheter came out this morning and I am on a deadline to pee before 5:30 tonight on my own or else it goes back in... YOUCH... apparently that is not an experience one wants to be awake for. So...wish for me to pee....

Ok.. Before I get too far.. I need to say Happy Birthday LOLA!!! Lola is 25 today... again... Love ya chickie. She was so good the day of my surgery.. she really wanted to stay with me until I got settled into a room, but eventually as the clock ticked she had to leave. It was a good thing she did as I did not get to a room until 12:30 a.m. She came back on Wednesday and brought me a gift bag... with lots of little goodies in it. I think that there are some left... and today I feel like opening them. Yahoo... So Sistah... I will be opening presents on your birthday. Love ya.

Ok.. progress notes.. Yesterday... most of the day I felt pretty good, was alert and felt pretty strong... Debbie came down to visit... and brought a little ray of sunshine with her... Thanks Deb... While she was here they tried to get me up. So Deb went to hang with mom and dad for a while They got me to the edge of my bed, had me stand up, bear weight... all my weight...on my left leg. OUCH!!! That, my friends SUCKED! And I was discouraged. But My doc told me not to be discouraged, that I was doing great....The pain was pretty bad... on a scale of 0-10... I was at about 23! After that I was woozy...and wasn't sure which way was up... I got laid back down and then Deb came back to visit for a little but, but I was so sleepy. But is was soooo good to see her.

Today PT came in early and told me they would be back around 1:00 p.m. and that before they got here I needed to be edge sitting... sitting on the edge of the bed...so that my lightheadedness wouldn't be so bad. So I sat up around 12:45... and PT came a little after 1 and I walked... not very far ... dad guestimates about 20 feet total... with the use of a walker... I think I could have gone a little further, but I did get a little light headed and did not want to fall on top of anyone...so I said, time to turn around. I now have been given permission to edge sit as much as I want to..and to get myself back and forth to the commode as needed... (2 false alarms so far....)

That little walk and knowing I can get up and down a little... makes me feel a little better...less like a hostage....Mom and dad say I look better today... that my color is good and that even though my hair is askew... I look good... Of course, they are just trying to keep my spirits up! So while my modesty may be out the window... all of ya'lls positive thoughts and energy are here with me... and I feel them...

Love you all.


It's me...

Hello All.

It's me. I am typing with allkinds of things attached to me so i am sure there will be mistakes. Today is day three... and I feel a little alert. Thanks to Lola for updating the blog. The day of surgery wasn't too bad... for me at least. The epideral felt strange going in. The only way I can describe it would be to say it felt like when you try to hang something heavy into sheetrock and you have to first drill a hole then drive in a plastic cone thing then screw in the screw... it felt like popping the plastic thing in... not painful really... just a weird sensation...

grrr,,, i had typed more but it deleted... I am doing ok ... and will write more tomorrow... I am in a machine that is moving my leg and it hurts a little.. just took some drugs... the good stuff... I am supposed to walk later... we'll see.

That's all for today blog buddies... I love you all and know that I am hanging in there...


good news!

howdy, y'all! this is lola. THE sistah. i've been entrusted with the blog update while the queen's tiarra is being polished. i've promised to use this power for good and not evil, but with the right sort of financial incentive i may be prompted to reveal some embarrassing moments or juicy little factoids ... i am, however, forbidden upon an "unbreakable vow" (harry rules!) to provide any information about the presence--or lack thereof--of a message on a certain shiney white hiney.

it is nearly 11 p.m. on tuesday night as i write this. we've (me and the old folks) all been up since 4:30 this morning and arrived at the hospital between 5 & 5:15. they admitted her on time at 5:30 and after a short wait escorted us to the PACU for pre-op prep. we were able to sit with her for most of the prep but as they started IVs and such, she wanted to go forth solo. she was positive and seemed confident, although i'm sure she was terrified.

we were the first family to arrive in the waiting room early this morning (and i was there this evening until they kicked me out!). her good friends (i don't remember if i'm allowed to use real names so i'll skip that) joined us mid morning. we didn't hear anything (which, they say, in the hospital is a good thing) until 1:30, which accurately accounted for the prep time and surgery time (6 hours of surgery) they had expected. the surgeon met with us and said she'd done great. he's sure it was PVNS. they took a bunch of stuff out but the rest of the knee looked good.

mom and dad saw her briefly as she arrived in recovery (and i think our favorite pals were there, too). they told us she wouldn't be ready for visitors for a couple hours so we crashed at the hotel. we checked in every 45 minutes or so until they told us we could come back.

things are a blur, but i think we went back to the hospital (she was still in the PACU) between 5 & 6. we took turns going down to see her to say hello as they got her ready to go to her room and also to wait for a room to become available.

the room was ready before she was, however. she has been having trouble with the epidural since leaving the OR before 2 this afternoon. it's not a harmful thing or a health issue or even a complication. they are trying to strike the balance between pain control (a decent level of meds through the epidural) and motor control/sensation (a lower level of meds to grant the ability to move your own leg and feel touch/temperature). she needs motor control in order to go up to her "real" room so they have to get the epidural meds lower. but they need to keep her pain down b/c she has to "rest" her knee in that machine-thing that bends it several hours each day. she won't be able to tolerate it if her pain isn't control. it's a delicate balance they have yet to achieve.

i was told that it would be well after midnight before they could think about taking her to her room and i was relieved of my duties. i hated to leave but she is alert and in good spirits and tired, of course. the resident had been in to see her and she liked his answers to her questions, including that the "kind" of PVNS she has is the least likely to recur. she was thrilled with that news. and it is encouraging!

it appears that my sister isn't the only long-winded one in the family. so i'll close shortly. but that reminds me she'd want you to know that she is using one of only 6 bed extenders in the whole hospital. she'd also want you all to know that she appreciates--we all appreciate--all the love and support and help that everyone has sent this way!

i apologize for two things: 1) that i may have the timeline and such confused b/c we're all so tired and 2) that i do not, at this time, have any pictures of the new, sexy, long leg. i'm not sure if that falls into the category of the unbreakable vow or the "will tell for bribes" category. i'm sure we could work something out!


I'm here....

This is the view from our hotel room... FENWAY PARK... There is a game going on right now and we can hear the cheering fans... talk about irony... we are this close...and the tv in our hotel room does not have the channel that broadcasts the games... we can go to the restaurant, but not in our rooms. NUTS...

Anyway... I did not sleep last night...well not much anyway. Seems like that is my pattern lately... no sleep. I do know I will have a good snooze tomorrow with the anesthesia and all... Maybe I will just stay awake tonight... listening to Phil and Sara snore. :-) I love you Phil and Sara... even if you do snore.

I had my MRI today... and it sucked. Having to keep my knee in the same position for a long period of time is so painful. I cried during the MRI... felt a little stupid, but geesh... it was sharp pain, lasting for a long time. At one point I begged them to tell me how much more I had to take and they said 20 more minutes.... I really wondered if I was going to just tell them to stop and that whatever pics they had would have to be enough. They felt bad for me and was surprised that I was in pain. After that, it takes me a while to be able to walk normally, well, as normally as I can. I guess that is a good way for me to know that it is time for surgery... I tried to not cry when I saw mom and dad after the MRI...but I did. Sis met up with us just before I went in for the MRI. She got lost coming to Boston and apparently almost hit two pedestrians. Key word being almost...

So.... I can't believe it...but I am not sure what to say... mom just said that maybe this is my last night sleeping with my bad knee.... true.... I am sure that there is pain ahead... lots of pain through the recovery... but... it will hopefully be pain with a purpose... recovery.

Thanks to you all... thanks seems like such a minute expression of how I feel for what everyone has done... I am blessed..... I know I will be okay...

I may have my sister do a blog tomorrow post surgery if she feels comfortable doing so...just to let people know what is going on... and for those of you who are curious.... I left the sharpie at home...Sara was disappointed.


Special medication for my I.V.???

Do you think that the doctors would approve filling my IV line with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum? With Diet Coke? and a Lime??? Hmmmmm? I doubt it...

This blog may be a little choppy... when my head is full, it tends to unload in a random manner.

Today is my last day at home...pre surgery... I was a little less stressed today than I thought I would be. Maybe that is because my parents are here and we stayed busy today. They got here around noon time and immediately picked up some sandwiches for lunch and drove to the ocean... We sat by the ocean for about a half hour or so, appreciating the relief from the humidity felt more inland. Then the air changed...we all felt it, and we knew it was going to rain. Not long thereafter a park ranger approached us and told us that due to the thunder storm that was quickly approaching, we needed to wait in our vehicle for the storm to pass. The storm did not pass so we left and ran some errands. We came home and I cooked dinner...Mom offered to do it, but I told her she will be cooking enough for me, so I could manage tonight. I also mixed up and baked some cinnamon muffins for breakfast... while I was at it, I figured...why not. Then tonight, Mom kicked my butt (my word free butt) at canasta... nice mom, beating me before surgery... ha ha ha...On a more serious note... is there a vehicle that I can stay in while this whole surgery "storm" passes? nope.... I gotta stand out in the open field and see where lightening is going to strike.....what the cards hold...

Speaking of cards... my sister, Lola, is in Salem, MA. She has been there exploring the witchiness of the area. She had a tarot card reading and was told that there was an event coming up, I think medical, for someone. Lola mentioned that I was having surgery... the woman told her that this has been a hard struggle for me and that the surgery will be hard, but that it will have the desired outcome... so apparently I am going to get my knee fixed, and... if all goes as I want it to.... I will find some wealthy doctor while I am there... I will recover quickly...fly to Vegas to get married... flying first class of course... and then go to Hawaii....Ok... maybe I will settle for a good surgery outcome...

My parents are going to carry my computer to the hospital for me...I had planned on putting my computer in this pink bag that I have that would be very convenient... however...Mothah told me that Fathah would be the one carrying the laptop and that pink just isn't his color... so ... I found another bag. This means that I will hopefully be able to blog... I may not write much...but as soon as I can... I will.

I can't believe this is it... But I want it to be behind me.... Tonight I am going to try to sleep well and think about my mountain... how peaceful it is there... how serene.

I will try to feel the breeze and smell the trees and hear the sound of my kayak paddle in the river... and feel the warmth of the campfire and of the people surrounding it... and picture the bright stars in the sky...

I am going to have a drink tomorrow night... Yes... the captain and I will spend a few minutes together, with lime of course... and I will raise my glass... to health and friendship... I love you all, and look forward to spending time with you all after this adventure...


The washer came around...and a shout out...

I stayed up late last night to try to get the washer going. Turn the knob, pull it out to see if anything would happen... nothing... Around 1 a.m. I smacked the knob and then pulled it out...and it worked....Yahooooooo! Guess I just had to show it whose boss.

So... today is going to be interesting...not sure what it has in store for me. I am trying to get things ready for my parents to stay here... they will be taking over my bed and I will be sleeping in a twin bed...partly because my PT said that I should sleep in a bed that enables me to get up on the left side...and the twin bed is set up that way... and partly because usually when my parents stay here mom sleeps on the couch... she loves sleeping on my couch.. I am not exaggerating... she says it is very comfortable... which it is... but...with four cats who run all over the place at night, I think it is best for mom and dad, who are used to no animals at their house, to be in a space that they can close the door. This way they will not get trampled. At first the cats will scratch their door...trying to get in, but they will settle down.

I want to make sure I give a shout out to my friend in CA... Pele! Hey Pele! He has become a great friend and has been following the blog. Thanks for your support P! (MC)

While I am saying HEY to people... I want to make sure I mention my friends SueEllen and Kris...they are sisters...I met Kris in college and have become friends with her sister as well. Sue is taking care of my felinnes while I am gone. Thanks Sue! They came over last night for dinner. Last week I had offered to grill for us all, but yesterday just did not foresee me standing at a grill and going back and forth into the kitchen...so I called them to let them know that. They brought dinner to me instead... Thanks!

Lots of people have called to let me know they are thinking of me... and I appreciate it. I will do my best to answer calls/make calls to people tonight, but I can't promise I will because I have a feeling I am giong to be emotional and may withdraw a little.... sorry for that, but sometimes that's how I cope. Also, my parents are going to be here and I want to make sure I get some quality time with them before they start having to play nurse to me.

Yesterdays main blog was not very upbeat. My instincts say that I should apologize for that and hope that it didn't cause people to worry, but... this is my forum to be who I am and to express what I am feeling. I don't want people to worry about me, but I know that people will... and someone even told me that knowing what I am thinking helps them worry less because I often try to keep it together for everyone...when everyone knows I am not ok.

I will post another blog tonight...and will try to post one tomorrow night, before I head to bed...but I am not sure that the hotel has WiFi. If I don't get to post something tomorrow night... know I appreciate everyone and will do my best to keep people updated on what's going on..... Sara will be calling most people who have asked to be called...

I will be back later...


Another Bump in the Road... Grrr

I was trying to do laundry tonight...getting everything ready for Boston... and... the washer died... in the middle of a cycle... I tried to get it going and no luck.... flipped the circuit breakers...nothing.... ahhhhhhhhh... maybe it is tired and will do better tomorrow. Otherwise... I am off to the laundromat. ANGRY..................


I don't feel great today... I want to get into bed and pull the covers over my head. I'm not sure why... It is a beautiful day outside and I should be enjoying it. I'm not. Partly, I think because I have a headache...one that started last night and won't go away. I would love to take some Aleve for it, but I can't... following the dr's rules...I suppose I could take one of the pain pills I have that are for my knee, but don't want to do that.
I had a great night last night... hanging out with Sara, Phil, Matt, Melissa, and Tobes... it was awesome. We sat outside until about 10:30, then finally decided maybe we should eat dinner. It was nice sitting around and chatting.
My friend Craig called me yesterday to wish me well with the surgery... He is hiking this weekend and didn't think he would reach me before I leave for Boston. I am not sure if I mentioned him on here before, but if not, I should have. He's a good guy. We met about 7 years ago...maybe 8 when my best friend from high school married his best friend from high school.
Today when I left my friends Melissa gave me a big hug and said good luck...we'll be thinking of you. I almost cried... I feel so lame... I know this surgery is...on the spectrum of major surgeries... not huge...it's not life or death... but I am scared... for the first time in...well... as long as I can remember... I feel like I am losing part of myself... my independence. I have been on my own for a long time... living solo and not leaning on people much... my friends have tried to help me learn to lean on people, and I have learned to do that...some... but it is still hard for me. And now... I won't have a choice. I have been working on my mantra for when people offer to help.... I will say, yes, thank you, I would welcome that.... which of course I do...but I would rather do it myself. I like to take care of people. I like to be the one doing things to help out... and this whole tables being turned thing is hard... I got a handicap "plackard" from the DMV... two actually... 0ne for my vehicle and one to carry with me if I ride with someone else... nice that they try to make it more convenient that way... I know I will appreciate having it, and will need it when I go to some places, but it's weird.
I know this is what I need to do.... I know that there really is no other option.... I know people want to help me...not because they feel obligated, but because they care about me... but it makes me feel bad in a way. Stupid? Maybe... but it sucks... I am not going to be able to drive myself to the store...how the hell am I going to carry food from my kitchen to a place where I can eat it? Maybe I need to put something in the kitchen and eat in there... I won't be able to do laundry because it is in the basement...I won't be able to just walk around town and enjoy it.
Silver lining...silver lining... the doc says the prognosis is good...that in six months I should be able to do whatever activity I want to do... this has shown me how much and how many people care about me...love me... I want to be worthy of that.
Yuck...yuck...yuck... I want this to be over...to be on the other side of this...to be recovering from this disease/condition instead of suffering from it. My knee hurts a lot today...and yesterday it did too... I think from standing so long Friday at the concert...Every movement hurts today... As I sit here on my couch... my knee is up... and it throbs...today it seems to be the upper outside of my kneecap where the pain is most acute. My right knee has been hurting a lot this weekend too... I hope that as my left knee improves, my right one will feel some relief as well... it has hurt...I hope from picking up the slack from the left one... but I can't just sit around... I have things that need to get done before Boston...so... instead of writing more feelings of self pity I will sign off and start to get some things accomplished so that today isn't a total waste...


For Rico...

Thanks RICO!!!
I appreciate you...
more than you know...

Crazy Days of Summer...are Here

Last night Sara, Melissa, "Tobes," and I went to an outdoor concert in Portland. The weather was PERFECT for it. This pic was taken as I looked up into the sky... the sky was so blue with only a few clouds, and the clouds were so whispy it was beautiful. The bands that were at the show were Jason Spooner and Carbonleaf. [Maybe it is Carobon Leaf...] Both bands were AWESOME. The second group was from VA and commented that the people of Maine have to fit a year full of outdoor activities into the three months of summer. How True! Yeah, I know there are winter activities, like skiing, but I prefer the summer activities... like concerts...that are outside... Sara and I met up with Meliss and Tobes. When we got there they were already dancing. It was so cute. Tobes was on Melissa's shoulders and he was dancing... arms going and smiling... too cute. He is about 15 months old and was so well behaved the entire time. He loved the music and playing with other kids. He also had some fun moments with a balloon...pictured here. (I have some much better pics of Melissa and Tobes, but...I didn't want to post the pics that could be used for you crazy folks to identify them...but trust me they are CUTE!!)

This is my friend Sara! (The one who is going with me to Boston for my surgery...who went with me to Boston to the first appt. down there... who makes me laugh so hard...who I love like a sister!) After the show Meliss and Tobes headed home as it was close to bed time for the little man. Sara and I then headed into town and hit a couple of our favorite places. At our second stop we ended up talking to a woman who was seated at a table next to us. She is a teacher during the school year and is a crew member of a lobsterboat, the one I had taken my nephew on, in the summer. I told her how much we had enjoyed the trip and how great the Captain had done. Well...he was there also... Captain Tom... As Sara and I were leaving I got a chance to talk to Captain Tom... He remembered me...though I am not sure how...since people never remember me the 6'6" tall woman...wink wink...I told him how much my nephew and I both enjoyed the trip. He thought that I was from "away" and was surprised I was still in town. I explained that I was a local and that my nephew was from away. He thought it was cool that I had taken my nephew for a few days without his brothers... We talked for a while... and he said I am a pretty cool Aunt... well Captain Tom... you are a pretty cool captain... I wonder if he needs another crew member...Maybe next summer I will see if I can get hooked up with that job. Sorry... I got distracted by Capt. Tom... Back to Sara...
Sara and I had a great time. And it was a perfect night to dine outside. It was nice to sit down for after the concert... actually I had to sit down during the concert because of my knee...but I lasted for part of it....thought I am paying for it today. I love seeing Sara listening to live music... a different part of her comes alive and it's beautiful. She has a happiness about her...freedom I think. I love music too and thanks to Sara I have become familiar with groups that I now listen to regularly. She is my music guru... though, to her chagrin... am I using that term correctly... oh well.... to her chagrin I still listen to Bette Midler and Billy Joel.
The free concerts in Portland happen throughout the rest of the summer. I hope that I will feel up to getting to at least one more before summer is over. (Though next time... I will bring a chair!) Rock On!!!
4 days until surgery.....well... three days and a wake up......
I'm not scared... well...maybe a little...


Dinner...a movie...and an umbrella??

Last night I spent some time with my friend Meg and her niece. We had planned an adventure. We had planned on going to see the newest Harry Potter movie that was released yesterday. We wanted to go to the Drive- In. the movie was scheduled to start at 8:40 p.m., but with the buzz about the popularity of the movie, we decided we wanted to be there as soon as the gates opened....7:15. During the day we touched base because the weather forecast predicted thunder storms. we considered trying to get tickets to the movie in a regular theater...but then determined that we were going to go to the drive-in no matter what! We figured that the worst case scenario would be that the power would go out and we would have a good story to tell. We were supposed to have several other people go with us, but most thought the idea of a drive-in in the rain was not good. (We did have two other people join us in a seperate vehicle.)

We stopped on the way and ordered a HUGE pizza...essential drive-in food... chips, soda, and of course, chocolate. We took my truck...along with some comfy chairs for the back and a cooler, which made a great footstool! So we parked...with the front of my truck away from the screen and set up in the back. We got to the drive -in at about 7:00 and we were NOT the first people there. Meg and her niece played toss with a Nerf football, other families were playing catch...people even brought their dogs! It was great. The skies were cloudy and threatening, but the rain held off... well it held off for most of the movie. A couple of times there were some raindrops, and there was lightening off in the distance...It actually added to the ambiance of the movie... until it started pouring. Perhaps we should have turned the truck around and gotten inside the cab...but instead, I got out my big umbrella ant managed to keep the three of us dry...mostly dry. There were parts of our bodies that did not fit under the umbrella with the rest of us, but for the most part, we were dry. The rain was loud on the umbrella, but we could still hear the movie. When the rain let up, we closed the umbrella. We only needed the umbrella twice.

Yeah, we got a little wet...and it was a little chilly...BUT... it was the perfect way to see the movie. I am not a movie critic, but the Harry Potter books are so much better than the movies. I wish I had remembered my camera so I could post some pics from the night, but I forgot it.

There is no way the HP movies can contain the detail in the books, but they are still pretty good. I am more excited for the final book to be released next week. It will be a good book to read as I recover form surgery. I had my final PT session today...at least pre-surgery PT... Hard to believe...

If you get the chance to go to the drive-in.... GO... even in the rain!



This is a picture of a mechanical bubble blower owned by one of my friends... yeah... the bubbles are being blown by his bum...Bear with me... it fits with this blog's topic...
I had dinner tonight with my friend Debbie, who I mentioned in an earlier blog. There is so much about her that I love... her heart is about as big as they come. We talked about my surgery and about the big events in her life... She and her husband are in the process of having a house built...while exciting it is also stressful. It was so good to see Deb. While we do not see each other as often as we may see other people, our friendship is still strong. Debbie and I can laugh together....hard. When 'Little Miss Sunshine' came out in theaters we went and laughed so hard we cried. I love that movie...because it is a great movie, but also because we had so much fun going to see it together.
Tonight much of our laughter involved me being the "butt" of our jokes. We talked about my surgery and some of the possible/probable embarrassing moments that could happen. My surgery in March was very different than this one will be... I was able to wear shorts under my johnny throughout the procedure. This time... I will not have that luxury. Yep..I will be naked under the johnny... and well... that brings up a lot of things to discuss... funny things. Besides.. you gotta laugh. I know most of my friends will not be offended by the sick humor here, but I hope I don't offend anyone. So... one of the things that we talked about...how many people will see my shiny hiny....(How do you spell hiny?? hiney??) I had not given it much thought until recently...someone reminded me that the hospital I will be at is a teaching hospital and asked if I knew how many people will be involved in the surgery... hmmmm....suddenly images of the show 'Grey's Anatomy' flashed into my head... An operating room that has an observation deck...above the OR so that the students can observe and look down over the surgeons.... Hmmm... so I suddenly had this image of me...after having been turned over onto my stomach...face down on the table... johnny WIDE open and my butt....there for the world to see...ahhhh.... so Debbie and I were talking about it and thought perhaps I should write a message on my butt to see if anyone does get a glimpse...or more accurately, a panoramic view... We thought about... For a good time call...(there would be room here for international numbers).... Advertise your business here...or... what are you looking at? Okay, I just thought of that last one, butt you get the idea. We also talked about other things...however I think you would have had to have been there to fully appreciate it.

On a more serious note, Debbie did put some of my fears to rest... she told me that her epidural did not hurt and that having a catheter isn't bad. AND... She is going to come to see me in Boston! I am so impressed with that. I think another one of my friends is planning to come down too.... wow... how cool are my friends?

When stressed it is so good to laugh...laugh hard...and we did that tonight. It was good, really good therapy for me. Thanks Deb! I love you!

Cat comfort

Yesterday was a bad day...I ended up taking a long nap...surrounded by my cats. All of them stayed extra close to me yesterday and through the night...and today Sheldon apparently thinks he still needs to take care of me. He won't leave me alone. If I get up to walk into the kitchen, he is there...it is comforting.

I played some phone tag this morning with the doctor's office. I was told my dr.'s office here had left a message for the woman in charge at my Boston dr.'s office. I then got a call from the woman in Boston, we'll call her Babs, and she said she still had no referral from my local dr. and that she had tried to call their office, but the number left for her was wrong. I gave her the correct number as well as some of the history of all the hoops I have gone through...she said, "Don't worry honey, I'll take care of it." (Babs has kind of a gruff voice with kind of a Brooklyn accent...reminds me of someone who would be a tough cab driver smoking a cigarette asking, "Where ya wanna go honey?") She called me back minutes later and said that she told the person who answered the phone she needed to speak with the office manager about an emergency. Babs apparently told the office manager that enough was enough, that I had been in tears about this. (Apparently the office manager, to whom I cried yesterday, was surprised I was so upset! Yeah RIGHT!) The office manager had faxed the referral to the wrong number. So.... apparently they are taking care of it all. Thank goodness... Oh...and I got in touch with a rehab nurse to start planning for post surgery...I may have to have visiting nurses come in to check my blood after surgery, and may have a physical therapist come to me instead of me going to them for a couple of weeks. That sounds good, but it might be nice to get out of the house a little. We'll see. She was also going to call a local medical supply store to get info and to order items and deliver them to my house after I get home. So... I guess this is really happening.

I had physical therapy today...came home and looked over some of the paperwork I have to take with me to Boston...living will...who gets to make medical decisions if I can't... fun stuff.

My mood is better today, but I have that groggy/foggy feeling after a day of crying. I want to give a special shout out to a couple of friends... Debbie - who was very supportive when she happened to call whenI was crying... and Craig...who graciously accepted my refusal of a dinner invitation because I was not feeling sociable. I have great people...who Ican be so honest with... I told Craig exactly what I was feeling... I am lucky that I don't feel like I need to make excuses or do things I don't feel like doing with my friends. Love you all! Deb - I am sooo looking forward to those Wings tonight!! YUMMMMMMMM! (No Hell Fire wings though! I learned my lesson!)


Health Insurance

Ok... so I am not in a good frame of mind right now.... Last week while I was camping I had contacted my primary physician's office, when mom and I went to town for some groceries, to see if the referral for the surgery had been approved... I was told, yep, all set. I was relieved...wow... it went off without a hitch... Too good to be true?? Apparently.

I called my insurance company today...just to put my mind at ease that everything was taken care of... they had nothing about an inpatient surgery. They had approvals for doctor's visits, but not the surgery... that is ONE WEEK away!

Let's just say that I am in freak out mode! I was dumbfounded.... started crying on the phone with the insurance lady.... then immediately called my doctor's office and spoke to the office manager...again.... and she did not understand why the insurance company had no record of it... so the insurance company says it is the dr.'s office...the dr's office says it's the insurance co. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH..... I broke down on the phone with the office manager too.... I hate this... It's not like I WANT this surgery... I have to have it...and to have to fight so hard for it.... pisses me off!

The office manager was sympathetic and I appreciated that.... she said she will call me as soon as she figures out what is going on....so I will be waiting by the phone.... I am so mad...and still crying..


In Vain?

I was just writing my blog...about cleaning my apartment, about my cats shedding too much...about my gal pal Sara being gone on a business trip...about the humidity....and about me having to stop taking any OTC meds like aspirin that could thin my blood. Then my phone rang... which mde me scrap all the stuff I had written....

My friend, Sara, who I had just typed about, just called. Unfortunately she had some sad news to share. One of her friends called Sara to let her know that the husband of another friend was killed in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Husband, father of three kids under the age of five...killed for this war. It's so frustrating...yes, he will be honored as a hero, but he shouldn't have died...because we shouldn't be there. I don't want to get to political, but when is Bush going to say enough is enough? This man, who I have never met, was already a hero to his family...and sacrificed his life...for what... for George Bush??? What a legacy this president is leaving behind. This man wanted to serve his country...he did so...

I support the troops, but can not support this war.

Bring them home...

Many many people dislike Rosie O'Donnel...I am not one of them, but I respect that, but like her or dislike her, she has a lot of accurate information about this war. I like Rosie, like that she speaks up, like that she has a strong voice. I visit her blog regularly and am thankful that she is sharing the information she is sharing... http://www.rosie.com/ is her website. The issues pertaining to Iraq that she has on her site should not be ignored because of who she is...

Support the troops....



The topic of my blog today is...scars. I have been looking at my knee...trying to picture what it will look like after this surgery. My knee is not scar free. I have a few scars on it.

Here is a picture of the scars that exist already... not a great picture...kind of ugly actually....but it is hard to photograph my own knee. If you look at the scars there are three pretty visible ones. The two darker smaller scars are from the arthroscopic surgery I had in March. The one that is almost in the center has been with me much longer. This scar was the result of a birthday accident.... I am sure many of you will be able to use your psychic powers to foretell how I got the scar by simply reading the beginning of this story... so here goes.... No laughing, ok? Okay.... so it was my eighth birthday. I was very excited with my birthday presents...a new pair of sandals and a new jump-rope. (Did the psychics figure it out yet?) I remember my dad leaving for work that day and telling me to have a great birthday and to have fun with my presents. I also remembered that he cautioned me...he said, "Don't use them at the same time." Did I heed his advice? Nope. I put on my new sandals, got my new jump-rope, and headed outside to our gravel driveway. I began jump-roping singing one of the songs I sang while jump-roping...Strawberry shortcake, apple pie, who will be the lucky guy.... A, B, C.... and before I knew it I caught my jump-rope BETWEEN my toes and one of my my new sandals...and...crashed to the ground. TIMBER!!!

Fortunately I do not recall the pain from that fall, but I remember fearing that I may get in trouble because I had disobeyed my dad. I also don't remember how I got into my house, but I remember crying and remember the blood flowing down my leg. I remember my mom scooping me up and taking me into the bathroom to clean me up. I remember she tried to position me on the edge of the tub so that I couldn't see my knee and told me not to look...but I did. Our tub was yellow...the 70's shade of yellow and I remember seeing my red blood running across the base of the tub into the drain. I also remember mom needing to use tweezers to get out all the little pebbles that were embedded into my knee. Mom stayed calm as she poured peroxide over my knee, dug out all the dirt, and bandaged me up. How did she stay so calm? I am not sure...because it was pretty gross. I didn't go to the hospital and never got any stitches, but it healed. And it scarred.

The redness of the scar has faded over the course of the last 24 years, but it is there...as is the memory of that day. I share that story with my students when they are taking their health class. In that class they have to tell about an injury they experienced and how it could have been prevented. My story is a good example. How could my accident have been avoided? By listening to my dad...yup...

I have other scars... on my elbow there are small scars from when I learned to ride my bike. I was camping at Knowlton's campground with my grandparents and Grampie let go after he told me he wouldn't. Even though I got hurt, he helped me learn to ride my bike. On my right knee I have another large scar...not from jump-roping, but from slipping on gravel that covered a paved hilltop. Smaller scars cover my hands...from being scratched when I played basketball...I have a larger scar on the inside of my left hand...from falling when I was rushing to get to work one summer day.

Scars tell stories...most of mine tell stories of me being less than graceful...stories of accidents or being a klutz...so what is the big deal about a scar that will be intentional, from surgery? Is it the size of the scar that intimidates me? Is it that I am allowing myself to fear the operation itself? We associate surgery as a bad thing...no matter what kind of surgery... If someone says they have to have surgery, we feel a pang of sypathy...oh...sorry to hear that... why do we not associate surgery with hope? Organ transplants....miraculous...surgery that can 'correct' what society deems as disfigurements... surgeries to remove things that shouldn't be in our bodies like tumors or things that have betrayed our bodies, like one's appendix. Surgery often relieves many conditions...extends lives... so why fear it? Because it is a risk I suppose...

Many people have scars that are from surgeries that saved their lives... so are those scars a badge of honor of some kind? Perhaps.... One of my friends told me last night that I was brave to go through all this.... I'm not brave. I see bravery as a choice...One is brave when one makes the choice to do something brave...not by going through something in which one had no choice. For now, this is the hand I have been dealt...I am going through it...but I am not brave.

Then again... I think people who face cancer do so with a certain kind of courage. And cancer is not a choice. Cancer scars people...sometimes physically...always mentally...and the scarring extends to family members... One of my grandmothers has had and survived cancer three times now... and my mom has survived it once... it has scarred us all...even though those cancer stories have had happy endings... in that the cancer is no longer present... others of course, have different endings...deeper scars...

Scars...permanent... so what will my new scar tell? I don't think I know that yet...


I am back from my camping adventure. My cats are thrilled to have me home and are trying to help me type as I sit here on my couch. (So I a-paw-logize if there are any typos...blame it on the cats!)

My camping trip was good. I got to see my parents and some of the people who have also camped up there for years. "Don't like the weather? Wait a minute..." This expression was the theme of the time I was there. Each day had sun, rain, wind, more sun, and more rain. It was crazy. We also saw some rainbows...one was encircling the sun - I had never seen that before. I wondered where the pot of gold would be.

This picture of the moose was taken from my kayak in between rain drops. So, this means that I was able to kayak. I got in two trips. The first one was a short one, partly because it was raining pretty hard for part of it, but mostly because my leg went numb. The strange part was that the leg that was numb was not the leg on which I will be having surgery. So I am not sure what that was all about. My left knee seemed to do okay during the kayaking, but was troublesome when I was getting in and out of the kayak. I had to have my mom help me.

I did some of my physical therapy stuff while I was there, but was not as committed as maybe I should have been to it. I did okay with my knee...I did have to take some pain pills, but overall, I felt great being there. The people who know me well know how much peace I find there. This trip was no exception to that. My mind did return often to the upcoming surgery and the details surrounding it. But...it feels different there. The air...is clean...the sounds...birds sinigng, water draining from the antlers of a moose...are hypnotizing...and the view of the mountain is amazing.

This is one of the sunsets from this trip. I have gone to this place for years...since I was a child. I have seen the mountain, its reflection, the sunsets, and moose every time I am there. Yet every year I need to take pictures...because every visit is inspiring. This was no exception. It was nice to be there. It was great to sit with people and talk about what is going on. The people who I saw there are people with whom I have no contact during the rest of the year, but I still feel connected to them when I go there. There are several people, including my parents, who spend the entire summer camping there. In many ways it becomes a community. People help each other and share the love for the area.

Many of the people there are my parents age or older. They all have various experiences and they all are drawn to this place. I like to sit around the campfire with them and listen. They tell
stories about different things and also discuss politics. (Though some of those discussions get more heated than the fire!)

Going there is familiar...in many ways, feels like going home. And we all know there is no place like home. I also got to see some other family members. I spent a night in my hometown with my maternam grandmother. She had a major surgery last fall and is still recovering. She insisted on buying me lunch yesterday and making me breakfast this morning. She talked a lot about remembering me as a little girl, running down the road to her house with my sister. Then today I got to see my other grandmother and one of my aunts from my dad's side of the family. We met up for lunch at a diner and had a good visit. My grandmother's eyes looked so blue today...just beautiful. My aunt looked beautiful as well. She is a beautiful woman, elegant, creative, and thoughtful. I feel a special connection to her. It was wonderful to end my camping adventure with some quality time with some people who I value so greatly.

So now that I have had some adventures with my nephew and some adventures in the north woods, I feel like I at least had some fun this summer. I can now go into surgery knowing that I got to do some of my favorite things and got to see some of my favorite people. I know that the surgery does not mean that I will become a hermit...at least I hope it doesn't...but I know that I will not be able to kayak again until next summer...so getting up close and personal with a moose again this summer is not going to happen. I also know that I will not feel like driving too far and my family lives far enough away that it would not be a comfortable drive for me after surgery...at least for a while.

I am going to call it a night... I hope that people didn't lose interest in my blog while I was gone. What do you think of the pics? Hope you are all well...I told people about my blog community and how much this has helped me... until next time....

My Favorite Place

My Favorite Place