9/30/2007

under the weather

I have a cold...and I am exhausted...going to bed early.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

9/29/2007

video

I don't think the video worked in the last post...so I am trying one more time.... if it doesn't work.... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
video

My Wonderful Day...

As promised...pictures from my day...This is me as I get ready to leave my house...heading for the beach...actually making sure I have my camera. So I can follow through and take pics. So.. this is me in my truck.... It's a BEAUTIFUL Day!!!






This is the a view from where I parked, looking out over the sea grass at the ocean, and then the beach... Beautiful, right?








These are some pics that incorporate my crutch into my beach adventure... look at the middle one...the footprints... can you see my crutch mark? Interesting... only one crutch... don't want to get too philosophical here...but think the shadow one is kind of cool...while the crutch is not a reflection of me right now... it does cast a shadow...











Just some more beach pictures.... ahhhhh....relaxing..... until this dog pranced over and tried to pee on the bag I had brought with me... I pushed it away and its owner yelled at me..."What are you doing to my dog???",,"Pushing it away because it was about to [urinate] on my bag." .... "You better not do that," they said to the dog. I said, "Maybe you ought to keep that dog on a leash so it won't happen." The woman said, "Oh Shut Up! Is your life that terrible that you have to be like that?"..... Ahhhhh...... "Well, if a dog [urinates] on my bag it might be pretty terrible..."...... so she says...."I wish she had [crapped] on it instead!"...... Wow.....way to reinforce my thinking that some dog people are just plain.... NUTS.... I mean, come on people.... yeah dogs are cute, but really... I don't want them near me...unless I know the dog... and I surely don't want a dog that pees freely to be running loose.... Oh well... apparently it is her life that is terrible... if her hopes and dreams involve her dog pooping on someone's belongings... Believe it or not... that did not take away from the beauty of the day at the beach.... Forget about it.... Right?











Ok... I am trying something new in this blog.... a video... I hope it works.... I hope it works.... I hope it works....Please try to watch the video below...and PLEASE add comments to let me know if this works... if you can see the waves AND hear them crashing. If you can... I will be sooooo excited. I'm posting this video mostly for my mom... she loves the ocean and doesn't get to go often, so whenever I go, I try to take her with me. Listen mom...... ahhhhhh..... can you feel the ocean breeze? (I hope so....it took forever to upload!) By the way... none of my beach rules were broken today... I went barefoot all the way... and got my feet in the water.... nice.....
video

Weak - end


I am glad it is the weekend.... I had a hard day with my knee yesterday and it was frustrating. I went to work about an hour later than I usually do...so I missed a half an hour of teaching. I woke up and my knee was stiff and I thought, uh-oh... this isn't good. Then I tried to bend it... ouch... tried to straighten it...ouch.. and thought.... well I won't type exactly what I thought, but I was not happy. So I did some heel slides...part of my PT, where I lay on my back and slowly straighten my leg then slowly bend it up as far as I can... usually that helps me a lot and I have been able to get up and get going. Not so yesterday... after the heel slides My knee hurt...the first real pain I have felt in a while... and I knew it was going to be hard to get going. I actually had to use a crutch to get from my bedroom to the bathroom, which I had not done in a while. So after hobbling to the bathroom, I was worried about getting into the shower. Geesh... I ahve not had to think about all of these tasks for some time. Step by step.... but I got through it... being frustrated and in some pain....... I am feeling weak this weekend. But I will say that today is better than yesterday and I am considering going to the beach...because it is so nice out....and before I know it, snow will be flying...yuck. I will remember to take my camera with me today so I can post some pictures later of where I go... Or maybe I will just go to a coffee shop and read...even though I don't drink coffee... it would be getting out and would get me away from doing some school work, that I need and want to do. So I am going to sign off for now, go take a really long hot shower...to try to help the knee losen up a little more... and then get out of here for a while.
By the way... I went out on a date this week... and well... let's just say that sometimes the dating pool seems really shallow.... Geesh! Oh well... at least I got my first date while using a crutch behind me...

The picture above is of the new guinea impatients I have out back. The color is really pretty.

9/27/2007

Fall Clematis


I planted two clemais plants this spring. One of them grew really well and had a pretty good number of flowers for being the first year. The other one was slow growing and had no flowers... until yesterday...This is its only flower so far. Pretty!!! I have some other flowers that are still blooming...my impatients... I hope I spelled that right. Anyway... today was a good day... did well eating again...4 days in a row... Yee hah.... My knee is very tired today. In fact, I felt like I needed to use my crutch today in order to get around, but I think it is because of having three days in a row of therapy.... torture....nah.. therapy... I am ok.. but was tired today. tonight... more premiers! Yay! I am not going ot make it through Grey's Anatomy...but I will record it...so nobody better tell me anything about it... got it?

That's all for today...gotta get to my tv watching!

9/26/2007

Splat!!!

I pictured myself like this bug...splatted on a window.... why would I think such things? Well because yesterday at PT they told me today I would start walking on the treadmill, BACKWARDS..... The treadmill is located right across this little office where PTs go to enter info into computers and there are also some people there who are office staff who are there most of the time. There are six large windows that are in the wall between this office and the gym area of the PT place. If one was normally walking on the treadmill, the office people would be watching the person's behind...and the direction of the track on the treadmill goes towards the office... so... I figured that having to walk facing the office so I could walk backwards, might have a bad outcome... I thought perhaps I should get shot of the back of that thing and would go SPLAT on the windows and slowly slide down the glass...like a bug on a windshield....that is if I didn't go through the glass... .but maybe it is safety glass. So... I figured I would be a bug on a windshield before the day was over. I told my students about this impending dangerous act and one student looked at me and simply said... have them turn the treadmill around!!! Then later, he randomly laughed while working and asked if there was any way this event could be videotaped... he offered money....

I was scared... but they started me out on the bike today... So while I pedaled the bike for 12 minutes, I stared at the treadmill, which was occupied at the time...and tried to send the machine messages...be good to me treadmill....don't throw me off treadmill...you are a good treadmill, treadmill....I won't hurt you, I promise, treadmill.....then I did some of my other exercises and then it was time. (insert dramatic ominous musical: dunt dunt duhhhhhhh...)

I got to start going forward... ok... doing well... I was able to increase speed as I felt safe to do so...but they wouldn't let me go higher than 1.3... which is slow people... I know... but they didn't want me to fall, and wanted me to have good walking form.... and after five minutes of that... I was tired... but I liked it... next up.....BACKWARDS. I turned around...and the PT person was pushing buttons and said ok.. i will tell you when it is going to start... eek.... I decided to put my feet on the sides of the treadmill as the belt started moving then 'jump' on there...and I did... it was WEIRD!... but I did it... for a whole... are you ready for this? a whole TWO minutes! Yay Me!!! Then I did some other exercises and then my mini squats...and let me tell you... my quad muscle was tired... T-I-R-E-D tired.... and almost gave out on me a couple times. But I did it... now I am icing it...and have a feeling it will be sore and tired tomorrow. We'll see.

Other than that... it was a good day... ate well...just had a ceaser salad..... but I gotta say I am craving my sugar....just say no...just say no..... I can do it... I always told my mom... it's not the willpower I don't have.... it's the WON'T power that I need... Anyway....

9/25/2007

ALMOST crutchless

I went without crutches for about 90% of my day today.. Yahooooooooooooo! I walked through the halls at school today, to go to a meeting...just walking... ahhhh... slow...but walking. Yahooooooooooo!!! Then I had PT... and tomorrow... I am going to add the treadmill into the mix.... but here's the catch... I will be walking BACKWARDS.... probably code for falling on my Arse..... ! I will let you know.

oh yeah.. almost forgot... did pretty well today eating... ate a lot of veggies...and well.... feeling their effects... almost farted at PT when I was laying on my tummy and he was bending my leg up as much as he could... but I didn't.... thank goodness.. he may be married...but he is still cute... and I don't want to do that! ;-)

9/24/2007

Day 1

As I was waiting for this page to come up so I could type, I tried to take a drink of water and spilled it down the front of myself... I know I know... You are all amazed at my talent. So am I! I ate well today eating and health wise...with one small indulgence...but overall I did GREAT. I felt full and also felt satisfied. I forgot how much food I can eat this way... healthy food, but I felt like I ate all day. I am getting ready to have another snack...some pineapple... for something sweet. [Leslie, if you want to email back and forth about being healthy, that would be great! Email me at ihavePVNS@aol.com!]

I had PT today and they told me I am doing great. I hardly used my crutches at work today...I think I can get used to being crutchless again. I did use one after PT today, just because my quad was tired. The PT cautioned me to do too much walking on the beach because it will tire me out... ahh... Yeah... I know that already.. but I had to go to the beach.. and if it is 90 tomorrow, I may have to go again. (Hopefully with less red stuff in the water...ewwww!) My knee is a little stiff tonight, but not bad. I probably should ice it....though that would involve getting up off my...behind...and I am not sure I can do that...

It is supposed to be HOT here tomorrow...we're talking 90's...GEESH.... I prefer the weather that we have been having...warm days, cool nights. But Mother nature apparently has different plans.

I hope you all enjoyed Monday and the start to this important week.... you know... season premiers!!!

9/23/2007

The beach...

I forgot my camera tonight... and realized it when I was about half way to the beach... and decided not to go get it. I should have though... so you could all see the sunset... it was beautiful! There was a moment when the light in ths sky changed...felt like when you are in a bar/restaurant and they dim the lights on you...the sky went form blues and yellows to purple...almost instantly. I broke two if my beach rules today.... the first being that I automatically go barefoot... I broke that because I was trying to carry a chair and a crutch...and a bag that had a sandwich and an iced tea in it....so I figured I couldn't also carry my flip flops.... the other rule that I broke... I ALWAYS have to feel the water on my feet... I have to be in the water...at least up to my ankles... not today... the water was filled with...well... I am not sure exactly...maybe algae...did I even spell that right? It was this brownish reddish stuff that washed up and it almost looked like the ocean was bleeding... which matched the mood of the ocean... looking out over the ocean today it was quite calm...small rises, yet, when the waves met the sand, it was loud and fairly good sized waves considering the calmness there... I did walk in the sand...which my friends...is not easy when one does not have complete balance... I managed and did have a crutch to help...but the crutch sank a little in the sand so... it was not perfect... BUT... that was the first time I have been to the beach since surgery...since before July 17th!!! That is CRAZY... I left my chair in the back of my truck so that maybe I will return to the beach after school sometime this week when I don't have PT. My knee feels pretty good, though I feel a little bit of a...well...not a pop...but a little something when I straighten my leg when I walk...so I am not sure what that is all about. It doesn't hurt, and doesn't make a sound, but I feel it. It feels strange.... Overall it was a good weekend... I was a little unsettled last night...so I ran errands and went to a bookstore...I didn't want to be with anyone, but didn't want to be alone... so I was alone while I was with people....

Tomorrow is a big day... I am once again going to do the Dr. Phil food plan...so I can get the weight off that I have gained throughout this PVNS process...I have to figure out my goals still, but I know that tomorrow is the first day...and I am excited about it. Hold me accountable blog buddies....remind me to fill you all in on how I do with the healthy eating...

Hope you all had a great weekend!

9/22/2007

Addictions...

Ok... I have to confess.... I have developed several addictions...that I see as the direct result of having PVNS. Some may be less healthy than others.... you decide... My list of things I have become addicted to since PVNS got its claws into me:
- reality television
- Big Brother ...recently replaced by Survivor...(HELLO JAMES!!!!! The pic is him.... from the survivor website...ahhh.....enuff said!! )
- Ace of Cakes (Food Network...check it out! Duff is a shorty, but a cutie!)
- Hogan knows best.... brothahhhhh
- House Hunters (people are shown three houses and choose one...sounds lame....addictive!)
- Ghost Hunters (Can't watch this at night when I am alone....DVR it and watch it in the daylight!)
- Rob and Big (beyond description....)
- Iron Chef America (mesmirizing)
- Internet (I check email a million times a day....and now have too many accounts to keep track of...)
- Scrabble (on my cell phone.... I play....a lot! Come on triple word score!)
- plastic silverware and cups... (not good for the environment...even if they are green...they are green in color only!)

Wow... I need to get out more! (Or turn off the television!)

9/20/2007

Knee Progress

I had PT today and there is good news. My left knee, PVNS knee, is bending almost as far as my right knee...that's good... also, the straightening is coming along more and more. I am starting to do some exercises at PT other than the bike and having them forcing it to straighten and bend. I have started doing some lunges with my left leg...with my left foot up on a stool that is probably 12" high. Today I also did some squats...and I can't remember the last time I had done squats without pain... I actually went deeper than the PT wanted me to...he told me to not go that deep yet... imagine that... me doing squats too deep...without pain!!! I really want to try to figure out how I can start going to the gym. I want to see if I could go to the gym and do the bike and maybe some weight training with my arms. I know I can't do things like abs yet because I don't think I can get up and down to the floor....and that would not be pretty...especially at the gym. But I do want to start having my outside match my inside...meaning I want to get back to that healthy energetic me that I was before all this PVNS crap started.

I thought of Gramie a lot today during PT...and how it hurt...and how I had told Gramie that PT, even when it hurts, is good for us... so...I did it... all the reps they told me to do...

Thanks for everyone for sending me their thoughts and prayers... I appreciate it...I am glad people add comments... I feel your support.

9/19/2007

Some things from home...

On my way home Sunday, I wanted to take some pics of my journey...not sure why I chose this trip, but I did. I want to share some pictures with you all...pics of my hometown...where I grew up... The first picture is taken on the highway.... trees....trees....trees....and more trees....
This is a sign near my hometown. There are still places in Maine that do not have town names...I happened to grow up near some of them. There are a lot of places that are considered unorganized territories...this picture is especially for Rico... who thinks all of Maine is an unorganized territory. (There are a lot of trees there!)
This is taken from a bridge on the road I call "highway to heaven." This road has numerous churches on it, not unlike many roads in New England. My hometown has many churches...
This is Main Street... notice another church? The Main St. has changed a lot over the years, but it still looks like home.

Oh yeah...there is one part of my hometown I couldn't capture on film...the smell...of a mill town.... mmmmmmmmmmmm....there's no place like home....

I felt like I wanted to put these pics on here today...my last trip home...while I still had two grandmothers. Life has changed... I am still a granddaughter...always will be...for all of my grandparents, but it feels strange. I wondered about mom today...she has lost both of her parents...if she were a child, we would call her an orphan...but she isn't an orphan. She is a daughter...always will be...a daughter who made her mother very proud...

I was asked to update you all on my knee and how it is doing. It is ok. I feel stronger and didn't use my crutches much while I was at my parents' home. I had PT today and didn't get tortured too much. They see progress with the straightening as well as with the bending. The back incision is once again giving me problems...there is one place that has bubbled up with blood underneath...so I need to keep an eye on it.

I am going to dinner with my friend Phil tonight. It will be nice to see him and get a big hug from my big brother.

9/18/2007

I am ...

I am home....it was hard to leave my parents today...but I know they have each other and they are ok... they are sad and hurting, but they are ok... I am ok too... I am sad and hurting too...but I am ok.

Someone I know has a blog who has confessions every Tuesday... here's my confession... One reason I am relieved that there will be no sevices for my grandmother is because I would be there...alone. Yes, I would have my family, but... as a single person...I did not want to face going to a funeral alone. I did that...when my grandfather died. I had my parents, sister, and other relatives, but I wanted someone there who wanted to be there to comfort me...the way spouses comfort each other...with that connection.... selfish? maybe...

I hope to sleep tonight. I hope mom can sleep tonight. I hope dad can sleep tonight...and I hope Sis sleeps tonight...

I am sad today...

9/17/2007

She's gone...

Not long after my morning post... I went to the hospital...to find mom and dad leaned over Gramie's bed...and Gramie was taking her last breaths... she was surrounded by love... rest in peace Gramie... I love you...

Vigil

Yesterday I woke up and knew I needed to head north...so I got ready and started driving...wondering if I would be strong enough to face what was ahead...As I was driving I passed my friend Kris on the highway...that was kind of a cool thing...so we chatted by cell phones for a few minutes...I drove north...and when I approached the exit for my hometown... I wanted to drive by it. I met my parents at the hospital...and there were a lot of tears. I stayed for a little while and then needed to escape for a while...and so I went to the store to buy some ingredients to make chili...so mom and dad can have some food here that is just ready to be heated up... then I returned to the hospital.

My gram...is still alive...her IV came out yesterday...because her body is not longer able to hold an iv in its veins...Gramie did not acknowledge me....which is ok... I leaned over her...told her that my sister and I love her, that I think she has been so brave...and that she doesn't have to fight anymore...that we will all be ok. Hard? Yes.... Am I glad I came....well yes... perhaps not for the reasons one might assume...I do feel that my good bye to gramie when she was in the hospital after her surgery a few weeks ago...I feel like I had done well by her at that point. I am glad I am here because Gram does seem more peaceful now than she did in the other hospital...she is not gasping for breaths...she is not complaining of discomfort, and she does not look panicked...she looks peaceful...finally...but the reason I am most glad I am here is for my mom and dad. So much of this all falls on mom...though it shouldn't have to...it does. Thank God mom and dad have the friends they do...it has been comforting to mom. Mom knows she has done all she can for her mother... yet there is some guilt because she just wants Gramie to go...and she feels she shouldn't try to rush her...but...she doesn't want Gram to 'live' like this anymore... but I know that mom is wondering if she is being selfish to want that...so that it is 'easier' on her...no more hospital vigils..etc... but my mom is not being selfish...at all. She is brave...today she did not want to go to the hospital and watch her mother die... but she is on her way up there right now...I am going to shower and go up too....but wanted to give mom some time there with her mom...and with dad...not that I am intruding... I know that...but there is something to be said for those private intimate moments...

My dad is an amazing man... I know why he and mom are such a good couple... they are both amazing. dad loves mom...and gramie so much...he is so strong for us all..and he will not leave mom alone at the hospital...so that mom isn't alone when Gramie dies... Mom encouraged him to go home for a while yeterday and there was absolutely no way he was going to leave without her. That's beautiful.

I watched my mom...stroke her mom's face and hair, and tell her everyone was ok... that we all love her...and to not be scared.... also beautiful...in a tragic way...

I don't want to have to face the death of one of my parents...ever...but when that time comes... I hope I have a fraction of the strength my mom and dad have shown...

I am not sure how long I am staying here...I feel like in some ways being here helps pass the time a little for mom and dad...and even if all I can do to help is bring mom her M&M's...then I will... but like my mom says...life goes on..and she knows I have a job to get back to... It's times like this that make me wish my hometown was closer to my current hometown...

Mom... You are brave... you are beautiful...you have given your mother so much love, respect, and have allowed her to keep as much dignity as possible throughout this. You have much to be proud of...in yourself. YOU have done the right thing...I love you.

9/15/2007

holding pattern...

I don't know what I should do...stay here...or head north to be with my family...Gram's kidney's are shutting down...they are going to stop IV fluids today...and they are keeping Gram comfortable. She is lucid at times and is sleeping comfortably. That makes me feel good because before, she was not sleeping soundly, she was gasping almost, and fought to prevent herself from sleeping. She's afraid to die...she told mom that yesterday. There are a lot of people there right now...supporting my parents...their friends Donna and Kenny are amazing...and I am thankful for their friendship to my parents. If I go, is that being selfish...because I wouldn't have to be alone...if I stay put...am I being selfish? I am not sure I can handle saying good-bye to my grandmother again. I had planned on heading up there next weekend to visit...but I am scared to see her like she was before...or worse than before. Am I strong enough for that? Am I strong enough to live with myself if I don't go? I don't know... If I go...Maybe I could help by cooking some meals...maybe make a chili...something that could be warmed up. If I go...will my knee regress like it did before when I was at the hospital a few weeks ago? Should that be a factor? Am I letting that be an excuse? I don't know... I don't know....If I go up.... is there a place for me to sleep even... a place that will be at a height that is high enough for me to get up from...given my knee...My aunt and her family are staying in my gram's apt. so I would not want to stay in there. I would want to stay in my parents' part of the house. is that do-able?

What is Gramie experiencing? Is she in pain? The medical personnell say no...that she is comfortable....she's complained of her hands and feet being cold....which they have told mom is often a sign that nature is taking its course....nature....taking its course.... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

9/14/2007

waiting

Mom called this morning...Gram had a heart attack last night...they are trying to keep her comfortable...but this is most likely the end....

9/13/2007

100th Post!!! [and new scar pics!]

Wow... I can't believe this is my 100th post...what a journey it has been.... pain...fear...pain...validation...relief...pain...hope...and the possibility of...freedom...amazing really...Am I any wiser after 100 posts? Maybe...maybe not. What I know for sure...today...when I started the blog on 6/3/07...I didn't anticipate how many people would view it...how many people would come on this journey with me. I didn't anticipate that other people with PVNS would be grateful...I had hoped that, but it is amazing to have realized it. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for...my doctor here, my doc in Boston...my family, my friends...high toilet seats...walkers...crutches...modesty (not having to have sponge baths from nurses!)...painkillers...physical therapy...being able to depend on people...laughter...tears... it has been quite a journey...(New pics..scroll down...)

Ok...enough reflecting... oh yeah... I also know that Kenny is missing!!! Yep... I saw a sign today on my way to PT that said Kenny is Missing, under which there was a picture of a beautiful siamese cat...I hope Kenny is ok...random, yes, but these are the things I think about. I had PT today, and as usual, while I waited there were other patients in the waiting area. Patients....hmmm...does that mean I am unwell? Hadn't thought of that until now....I don't want to think of myself as a patient...as being sick... I am not sick...but need help....so where does that put me.... anyway...as I sat there another patient...person...who I had seen before asked how I was doing, if I was progressing. It seems typical at a PT office that those who are waiting share their war stories and scars...I met one man who was one of those "one -uppers"... he had worse scars... (or so he thought..HA!) ...he had more surgeries...more doctors...more specialists...could offer names of chiropractors or doctors to anyone there...and said he could himself, probably physically adjust someone... EEK.. no thanks.... Another man who was there today does not weigh in on many conversations...I think because his English is not so great and he struggles trying to get his ideas across... well today three of us sat...and somehoe Boston came up in the conversation...the older man, who speaks littlel English, had some opinions about Boston....strong enough, so that he shared his view...talked to us...Seven years ago he had been mugged in Boston and was in a coma for 80 days because of it...someone snuck up on him and hit him in the back of his head...and stole his $13.00..... interesting stories... we all have...I hope Kenny's story has a happy ending...

PT hurt today...again... but I did the bike today for ten minutes again and got a full rotation on my first try, which is cause for celebration. The parts that hurt most are the hamstring massage...OUCH... today I could have sworn the guy was cutting my incision open again and again...ouchie.... then... after that He put a rolled up towel...rolled up THICK towel...under my lower calf, close to my ankle. then... he pushes on my knee...with one hand below my kneecap and one above it...and he pushes down until I flinch...and I gotta say I let him go pretty far. Then...after that I have to bend it... after forcing it straight...the bending...well...SUCKS...a lot... then...I had to do the electric stimulation again...after ten minutes of that my leg was tired... then...there's more??? Yep.... then PT guy had me walk without my crutch...hello....didn't you just witness that torture dude? You think I will be able to walk well??? Hmmm??? well the first few steps were not pretty, but eventually I got into a rhythym and did ok. He was happy...of course in one of the last steps I felt like my leg was giving out on me, but I caught myself...and he said that when I walk any distance I should have at least one crutch...two in crowded areas....still.....

While I am complaining a bit about the PT I know it helps... I feel stronger...I am stronger. PVNS has tested me...and for a while I think I was failing...feared I would fail..completely... and I am now starting to think I will pass...perhaps ace it...I know it's early...and there won't be an MRI until January or even February...that will truly allow me to exhale...but...I am hopeful...

Ok... since this is the 100th post... I will post new pics of the scars...taken today... PRETTY... huh??? Of course the left one is the front...and the right is the back....Getting better.... Thank you all for being on this road with me... I appreciate and love you all!

9/11/2007

Reflection

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." -Martin Luther King


I woke up this morning, after not sleeping well last night, feeling sorry for myself. The pain from PT kept me up last night...I did not take any pain meds last night, but think I will tonight...after yet another painful PT session....I am beginning to miss "P" the therapist who came to my house...her torture was bad, but at least I was already home...plus she didn't have some of the gadgets that they have here...including that electric current thingy...So... back to this morning... I was running a little late because of my knee...very stiff, and called one of my co-workers to say that I would be late for my morning duty and may need help covering it. I then got ready, slowly, and drove to school. It was really dreary out...and as I backed out of my driveway, the morning radio show I listen to was talking to a woman who, along with two other women, stand on the main street of their town, holding flags, every Tuesday, for an hour. They have done so every Tuesday since 9/11/01... then I realized what day it was...and felt like an ass for feeling sorry for myself on a day that is difficult for so many people in our country. I still remember that day...vividly...and can't believe it has been six years. After realizing what day it was I was driving to work and passed some construction. Holding one of those stop/slow signs, was a man, smiling and waving at every driver in every car that passed him. His smile was one of those that made me smile instantly...it seemed the only appropriate reaction, along with waving back to him. Something simple...greeting people...making people smile...on the anniversary of 9/11...that's a pretty big job... Then I stopped at a store...a place I frequent on my way to work... for some orange juice and when I left they gave me a free flag sticker in honor of 9/11. The morning radio show said that there were reports about people's plans for the day...how many people were going to attend some form of a memorial service, how many weren't...etc...and they said that therapists think it is healthy for people to not take time out of their day to recognize/remember the events of 9/11...because that means life is going on and people are returning to normalcy. I disagree...how is NOT pausing normal...granted I did not plan for today being 9/11...did not plan a specific way to recognize 9/11, but it is Sept.11th and I can't not think about it...what happened that day, my personal experience in that day, the experiences that my friends/family had...and what has happened since...what IS happening. The quote by MLK, above, is one that I have in my classroom, on a picture of the WTC. I also have some pictures I had taken from atop the WTC and the kids at school today were very interested in them...but I was painfully aware that they don't understand all of the ramifications of 9/11...they remember their parents talking about it, being worried...but they said they don't remember much about it...after all, they were between 6 and 8 years old. They did not understand why some teachers had tears in their eyes this morning in our moment of silence...yet these kids could be heading to the war if they are in the service in 4-5 years...unless somehow the war is over and/or the US is out...

While it is important to reflect...it is also important to live...to continue our lives...as the radio said... we are getting back to "normal." Which makes me once again ponder the word normal...and what that really means. Normal...maybe it means...what we get used to...so maybe normal isn't so good...yet we strive for it...

I am working hard to get back to normal with this whole knee thing....but I don't want my life to be what it was... I want it to be better...

I hope that we, our country, gets better...if this is normal...we're in trouble...
PEACE

9/09/2007

Preparing for another week

Tomorrow starts week two of school with the kids. I was able to get some work done this weekend, though I did not plan very far ahead. This week the kids have some schoolwide standardized testing which will mess with our schedule. Who would think that the second week of school would be the time to mess with kids schedules....oh well. So I think this week will be a good one, but I think I will have a lot of work to do in the evenings.

It was an interesting weekend. I wrote a little about my adventures which I am happy to share, but I was thinking about how happy I am to be having adventures. When Sara and I went to our favorite spots on Thursday...that was the first time I had been out...besides going to people's houses or out to a restaurant for lunch...I was out, just to hang out...just to realax and have fun. Perhaps I pushed myself a little hard, staying out late and doing so much walking, but I feel good...and my spirits are higher than they have been in a while. Today I did laundry, myself...up and down the stairs several times...and I survived. I also changed the sheets on my bed and did some other household chores. So does this mean I am getting back to normal? Not yet... although I will say that a couplle of times this weekend, when I got up to do something I forgot I needed crutches...but on the flip side of that, I had other moments when I didn't think I could get going without a crutch...but I still see it as progress. I have PT three times this week...THREE times... yikes... Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday... eek...I hope to get some more time in on the bike...with complete revolutions...and hope to get my leg to straighten more.

I am trying to figure out how to get up to visit my grandmother too...one of the upcoming weekends. I look forward to it, but gotta try to figure out which weekend to do it, based on what's going on at school. This week we have open house...an evening thing where we meet and greet parents. I am debating on whether or not I should go...I am restricted to 6.5 hours a day and the open house would exceed that time, however, I feel it is important to be there to meet parents. Maybe I will wait and see how my knee holds up and let that determine it.

So... I hope you all have a great week...

9/08/2007

Weekend


Sara and I went out again tonight...though it was a much more tame night than Thursday. We returned to a couple of our favorite places and heard some live music. We actually did a lot of walking, probably the most walking I have done since surgery, so I am hoping that tomorrow I can move. I am icing my knee now to try to avoid the pain and maybe sleep tonight.
I got an email from a woman today, also with PVNS, who had surgey a month ago. I hope to hear more from her, about what kind of surgery she had as well as her recovery. It was nice to hear from her. Hey Girl!!!

Overall I do think my knee is doing well, but I wish the process was not so slow...baby steps...I do see a future without crutches...Yahoo!

That's all for deep thoughts tonight...hope all is well.

9/07/2007

Life is an ADVENTURE...

I apologize for not writing last night... I got home a little later than expected. See...My girl Sara had a rough day at work yesterday so we decided to go out for dinner...which turned into quite a long and INTERESTING evening....I don't think I can even begin to describe here what went down last night...but we did make a pact with a man from Greece that whatever happens in Maine...stays in Maine!!! TOO funny. I was exhausted today at work after very little sleep. My knee was stiff today, I think because we spent so much time out last night and sitting in the same position on one of our favorite spots. As always we played things safe...but I can say that I have not laughed so much in such a long time. It was fun...I needed it. I will say that I noticed that something has shifted in me...I feel so much better...I think the best word is hopeful. I feel like I will be able to have a life...with little or no pain in my knee...and while that scares the crap out of me... I feel...hopeful. I think that part of me had really gotten pushed down somewhere...and I think it is back. I think my passion for the kids at school is there again...my passion for life is back again... and just being myself...feels GREAT.

Cheers!!! To the Future!

9/05/2007

I got zapped....and stretched...

I had physical therapy after school today...and yes..it hurt...but there were some new elements to it... they hooked me up to these electrode things that send electrical impulses to mu muscles...specifically my inner thigh and quad muscles. I would relax for about 20 seconds, then the electricity would start and I had to contract my muscle as much as I could until the current stopped... about 10 seconds...this lasted about 12 minutes...I guess tomorrow when I go they are going to try to hook up more electrodes and higher the juice....until my muscle spasms on its own...wihtout me controlling it...weird... the sensation was very strange. After that I had to ride a stationary bike for about 5 minutes to try to get my muscles warmed up for stretching. I was on a recumbent bike and I can't get a complete rotation on it...so I go forward about 3/4 of the way and then back as far as I can... I think it is because of my long legs... I can't put the seat back far enough to be able to get extend enough to do a full rotation at this point...I could prior to surgery...but that's ok. After the bike I had to lay on my stomach and the therapist did a very deep massage on the back of my leg...hamstring. Sounds like it would feel good? Well... at times it was ok, but she pushed hard and it hurt... I am afraid I might have bruises tomorrow. But I know I need it. Then I rolled over and tried to straighten my leg and she pushed down on it...hard......as far as I could stand it....wow..... it was not pleasant...but afterward I did feel like my leg was straighter. I am sure tomorrow will be more of the same. ahhhhhhhh... I am going to try not to take pain meds tonight...I haven't taken any in about two weeks and don't want to start again. My leg was stiff this morning, I think from yesterday. When I first got up I wondered how tough the day would be, but it gradually worked itself out.

The kids at school are too cool! Today I had a kid who was MAD because he had to come into my room during a study period. It is the only part of the day I get to see him...like a lot of kids he hates being associated with special ed. But I have to say that I think I got to him a little...as I talked about how things will work and why they have to come and see me...he started to smile a little...until I noticed he was, then he got very somber again... but I think I will be able to get to him...I think he is my challenge for the year...and I am psyched for it. Another kid that I have is awesome too...he has a condition called Aspergers...a form of autism...and I love that kind of kid...He is soooo serious at times....buttons ALL three buttons on his polo shirts and is very structured. Part of Aspergers is not always understanding people's humor and seeing things very black and white. Today I tested that a little bit and I think it's going ot be fun...ok...one more kid story... there is a kid to whim I have no formal connection...he is not identified as having a disability, so legally, I have no attachment to him...however, he is a kid who needs a little extra TLC and some space where things are a little less hectic than the crowded halls...so he is keeping his things in my classroom instead of a locker. Today he was in and out of my room a few times and had big grins when he saw me in the halls.... ok..I know... I said that was all...but just one more... One of my students comes from a family of lobstermen...he lobstered all summer and will continue to do his own traps on weekends during the school year...he doesn't have cable because he is always out lobstering. How cool is that? He knows a lot of things that public education will never teach him...or even value for that matter...yet he has skills that will sustain him throughout his life...very cool. Hmmmm I wonder if he knows Captain Tom.......(from the lobsterboat I took my nephew on this summer...hmmmm....)

Oh yeah... as I was waiting for PT today I was people watching. I saw a man come in...maybe in his 40s...he had a ID that appeared to mean he worked at the facility I was in...he was followed by an elderly woman and I am not sure, but I think perhaps he had provided transportation for her to get to her appointment. The key part of that statement was that he was followed by her.... even if they were not arriving together...what was he thinking? First...hold the door for the little old lady.... heck...hold the door for the lady....come on man....Not long after that a couple came into the waiting area where I was seated and the man came in first and he didn't even hold the door open after himself for his lady...what's up with that??? Maybe I am getting picky in my old age...but I want chivalry!!

Ok... I gotta go and type up some student profiles....didn't know my head was so busy today. Later Gators!

9/04/2007

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school with kids. It went well. The way that our school is designed there are three grade levels and within each grade level there are three teams. Typically we have a school wide schedule, but today each team got to do what they wanted to do. This meant that for me, because I see kids from two grades and a total of four teams, I did not get to see all of my kids and didn't see them in the groups that they will be in once we get into a regular routine. It was cool getting to know a little about the kids today. My knee felt pretty good today...knock on wood. I was able to keep my leg elevated and got to do a little icing. Tomorrow I have to make sure I do the same thing because I have physical therapy after school..that reminds me I need to pack clothes to take..can't do PT all dressed up for work...right? Maybe if there was a hot therapist who wasn't married....but I have yet to find him.

I gotta say that I am very happy to be back at work. Although I could have handled getting paid for just hanging out....my dream job is to be a professional vacationer... but I have yet to find that listed in the classifieds... But being back at work is good...knowing that I will be working with kids and getting to know them. Meeting them today was fun...their personalities are so different. I had some kids who were painfully shy and others who craved the spotlight...so interesting. I love it. I have to say that having to focus on something besides my knee is refreshing. I am tired today, but think that I am getting stronger. I didn't use my crutches all day today...but used them when I left my classroom. So hopefully I will get rid of them soon... fingers crossed.

9/02/2007

Trust

Tonight I met some friends for dinner. For some reason as I was driving I was thinking about my knee and about how trust has played a role in this whole journey. When I look at my knee I am still unsure of what to think of the scars....I know they are there because it was necessary to do the surgery and to hopefully eradicate the PVNS tissue....Tonight as I was driving I was rubbing the front incision, part of my physical therapy routine...and thought about how little time I spent with the doctor who operated on me. Prior to having the surgery I met with him for maybe 30 minutes at my initial appointment with him. Then I saw him on the day of the surgery for maybe three minutes before the drugs kicked in and I was sleeping. But...I trusted him completely. Why? Because I wanted to...A...and B...I really had no other choice. So far, that choice has paid off...thankfully. Generally, in my life, trust is something that is difficult for me. The people with whim I feel closest are my family....related by blood or not...It takes a lot of time for me to feel that I can trust people...maybe because it takes a long time for me to trust myself, trust in my decisions and judgements. I analyze everything and by the time I reach a decision I have plaed things over in my head so much that I am certain of my decision, but doubt it too... there have been a few people in my life to whom I gave my trust to quickly. I can't explain why those people gained my trust quickly, when I tested others. Why are there people in our lives who we are supposed to automatically trust who challenge that trust? Maybe its not the trust that I question...maybe it is the connection. I know who the people are who are truly there for me...and this whole experience has reinforced that... I think that part of my reason for thinking about trust was because I talked to my mom this morning and she was questioning herself. Questioning whether or not she had done right by my grandmother. Apparently the nursing home that had a room available for my grandmother and that could provide the level of care she needs, is not what my mom had envisioned for her mother. While mom did not describe the room to me, the picture I have in my head is of a place that is more run down than it should be, given the important role it will play, does play, in the lives of its patients. Mom said she felt that she had abandoned Gramie last night, leaving her in a place that wasn't a great place. Mom said it wasn't a place she would want to be. Even if mom doesn't completely trust herself right now, I trust her. I trust that her love for my grandmother is driving her decisions. My grandmother's current condition is one in which she needs care, 24/7. While my mom would do anything she could to take care of my grandmother, of my dad, of me, my sister, her grandkids....the care that Gram needs is beyond what is possible. The only way mom could do it is if she went to nursing school and stayed at Gramie's bedside 24 hours a day. It isn't possible. Mom, you are doing what you need to do, including supporting Gramie as she gets stronger at the facility where she is. We trust that you have made the best decision, Mom....I love you.

I am trusting that my knee is going to get well, that the PVNS isn't going to come back...that this is the beginning of me being healthy again.....In what am I placing that trust??? Good question....

9/01/2007

Labor Day weekend

I woke up this morning at 6:30 a.m...not because I wanted to, not because I set my alarm, but because my phone rang. While I was still sleeping I realized my aunt was calling and ignored the call. I felt a little guilty, but it was 6:30 in the morning and I have been wiped out from trying to get ready for school. She was calling because she had left our hometown on her way back to NJ and wanted to see if I felt like meeting for breakfast. It is nice that she wanted to do that...but not that early in the morning. She proceeded to keep calling until I answered the phone. When I did answer it she and two of her kids were getting close to where I live and wanted to stop in. Truth be told, her youngest wanted to see and play with my cats. That's cool. I am glad that they appreciate my cats. They got here and I had barely thrown on a sweatshirt and a pair of shorts, and was in a daze. They visited for about an hour and then continued on their way. I think that my aunt just figured since she was up and on the road, everyone else was up too. It is what it is.

I think I am going to stay home today, though I do need to go into school again this weekend. I am going to try to get some cleaning done, I swept my living room today and am hoping to do the rest of my place as the day progresses. I am also trying to get all the cats brushed...so far Stella has been my only victim. She was less than happy. She is so fluffy that her fur grows between her toes, and today I trimmed that hair, she was growling at me, but she looks so much better. Tess is my next victim and just jumped up beside me...unsuspecting.

My knee is stiff, but it is ok. I just need to work on straightening it. I am a little worried about school starting, making it through the day without pain and swelling...but I will have to wait and see. Yesterday I did go into my classroom and got one of my bulletin boards covered. I also did a few things that I know my mom would not be happy about....but I wanted to do. I did not want to wait for help. and it all worked out...although I did cut my toe. I need to go through all of my files and try to get a handle on the kids. I try not to depend on the files too much because how much of a person can be captured by a file? Not much. I am excited because I went online last night to Amazon.com and ordered some books that I think will be helpful and fun for the kids. They won't come in for about a week, but that's ok. I am excited about starting a new year with kids. I will be teaching only one subject, math. This will mean I can do more with one subject which is great for me. I will help kids in other subjects throughout the day, but will focus on math.

Mom just called as I was writing...and Gram is on her way to a nursing home/rehab facility. I gotta say that I did not expect it. The time I spent sitting with her, I truly believed were my last moments with my grandmother. I felt like she was fighting so hard...too hard to survive and feared she was running out of energy. I really expected that mom's calls were going to be announcing that Gramie had stopped fighting and was gone. My aunt got here about a week after all hell broke loose with Gram. By the time she got here things had improved. I am happy for her sake, and for her kids, that she got to see Gramie improving and recovering and did not have to see her suffering so much. At the same time, I resent it a little. She wasn't here when things were at their worst and my mom bore that burden. Mom was very stressed and should have had her sister there to support her. Granted, my aunt had to make her own decision about when/if to come up through all of this, and her choice is her choice. My mom was more forgiving than I was, and perhaps others in my family were. And for Mom's sake, we kept our cool and will continue to do so. Family is wonderful, but can be stressful at the same time. Everyone was stressed and perhaps said things without thinking...and in stressful times we become protective of each other as well....there were comments made that could cost future relationships. It's ironic because tough times are supposed to bring family closer, but can also put wedges between people. I don't want to offend people by what I write here... my family has access to this site and I hope that when reading this, they remember that it is my thoughts and feelings and this is a place for me to express myself. Anyway.... before I get off on too much of a tangent...I think it best to sign out and go sweep another room....

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