Friday, April 30, 2010


This week has gotten a bit better each day. My last physical therapy appointment was on Tuesday. My knee is doing great. The therapist measured my ability to flex the knee (111 degrees), stretch it out (neutral/completely straight), and strength to push and pull (both good).

Before surgery I could only get to 96 degrees, straiten to -8 cm, could push but not pull at all. So I am felling real good about the results. I still have some numbness on one side of the incision that may take up to 2 years to return, if at all. Small price to pay for being able to walk.

My back is still bothering me a bit. It is the sacroiliac joint on the left side. It is probably an arthritic flareup from moving those bins of yard debris, but it is getting better. Ice has helped most, though I have had to take some pain meds a couple times. I really hate not being able to just do what I see needs to be done.

The sun is shining and the yard is calling. I will concentrate on those things I can do without aggravating my back again. I can balance my accounts. I can work on a project for a service group I head up. I can enjoy a presentation Shelley is giving tonight at church. I can cook something (cake or pie) for a pot luck tomorrow. I will also pick up some potting soil and more weed eater string for Richard. The last few days have been rather wet so he hasn't been outside either. he is anxious to finish trimming around the flower beds and in the vegetable garden walkways.

Spring is here both weather wise and in our hearts. Time for new beginnings. Time to plant seed and watch it grow. We will also add to our family. A new daughter-in-law in June and a new great-grandchild in July. Our oldest great-granddaughter is officially a teenager today. Oh how they grow. Happy birthday Taylor. We love you so much. Wish we could give you a hug, but you are so far away in Florida. Hope to see you again soon or at least before you are all grown up.

Joy is all in the perspective. Today I choose to embrace life. To do those things that I can. To look forward to the future. To encourage others in their efforts. To be thankful for all that God has provided. Hope you have a wonderful day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Over did it

The week finally is over. A new one, hopefully a better one, has begun. We will see what comes. Yes I am being cynical again. The weather yesterday was so very nice. Richard went outside next to the deck to do some pruning. The deck has been sorely neglected for about 18 months. That is because we did not use it at all last year, what with me being completely non-weight bearing all summer. Two winters with no maintenance in between left a real mess.

I got leaves and blown-in debris cleaned up. Took the storage rack for firewood and some containers that held old newspapers (we had used these to start the fire) off the deck (we took out the wood burning fireplace insert and installed a gas-burning fireplace last September). Then swept and blew the whole thing off. Richard pruned roses and the claimants and cut the trimmings up into several plastic bins. I made the mistake of picking these heavy bins up and dumping them into the yard debris cart. I didn't think they were that heavy. But I haven't walked and carried much at the same time for almost a year. Long story short, I pulled something. I think it is in my sacrum. Anyway, I can hardly walk. It is still bad enough that we stayed home from church today. Bad enough that medication, the vibrator, or ice hardly touches it. I am tired of not being able to work. There is so much work that needs to be done. Please Lord, I really need a pain free, positive week.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

win some, lose some

This week has been one of those. You know what I mean. You win some and you lose some. You gain a little ground and then fall flat on your face, type of week.

Richard has been doing OK as far as his oxygen levels are concerned. A few months ago the Dr. even approved him to not have O2 connected to his C-pap while he sleeps. He had needed a hernia repair for a long time and then when he developed a bowel obstruction they finally got it done. He has healed up without any infection developing. That is so great. Then in December his A1C (sustained blood sugar) started going up. We have tried to control it through diet, but it isn't working the way it used to.

This week the Dr. told Richard that if he can't get it down by June, he will need to have daily insulin injections. Also this week, Richard's dietitian imposed a Gluten-free diet in addition to the very restrictive diabetic diet he is already on. This is because of the symptoms that he has displayed for years that indicate a sensitivity to gluten. These include joint pain (diagnosed as arthritis) bowel problems (diagnosed as Crohn's), and still other more minor indicators. Richard has previously been tested for Ciliac disease (an allergy to gluten). Tests came back negative. But evidently the tests are not full proof. Since we have a granddaughter who has been confirmed to have Ciliac disease and it runs in families, they have decided to err on the side of caution. Helpppppp.

I thought counting carbohydrates and making sure they are properly spaced throughout the day was hard. Now add this new restriction. Not only am I getting cross-eyed reading food labels, but this stuff is expensive. Guess I am in for a real learning curve again. Still, it is better than more medication. Oops, we still may need insulin.

Then there was the phone message from Phoenix. Richard's oldest brother had been admitted to the hospital. Seems he has some sort of infection in his blood stream. They are culturing it and won't really know what they are dealing with for a couple days. But antibiotics are working. He is on the mend. This man has serious health issues and has been fighting with the VA for 4 years, trying to get medical benefits related to injuries sustained in the Korean War. He had an appointment with an attorney today, but his wife is going in his place. Sure hope they get some results.

My car has had a rattle in the under-carriage for several days. I thought it might be something had come loose. So I took into Firestone and they conformed it was under the car, possibly the catilitic converter. But I would need to make an appointment just to check it out. Then they might need to refer me elsewhere. So I came home and called a muffler shop. They got me in within a couple hours. It is a baffle inside the the muffler. Not reason to panic. Unless it becomes really loud, starts interfering with gas mileage, or I plan to take a long trip, replacing the muffler can wait. I just need to give them 24 hours notice so they can order the part.

Today I was in the middle of checking my e-mail when my internet service went down. I tried re-booting, re-installing, even called for technical support. Actually I called 3 times. Finally I had Dianna bring her cell phone up so revision of settings could be tested without getting off line. Yeah it works. Thanks Dee.

I am stressed. Richard is hungry and concerned. We are both feeling old. Don't worry, we will adapt. We will recover. We will survive. Praise God we don't have to go it alone. There is no end to information and experts, or so it seems. In the end, most of the issues have resolved . But please let this week be done. Neither we or our loved ones need anything else right now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Scatter brain

I am recovering well from surgery. I have a physical theropy appointment on Monday and then just one more the following Tuesday. These really wear me out, but they are doing their job in that my strength and flexibility are both increasing. I can walk stairs with help, sweep the floor and shop using a walk-behind cart. Most of all I can drive. But sometimes I wonder about my mental state.
The service oriented group I head up from church will soon be having the last meeting before everyone scatters for the summer. I have been away from my office just long enough to not be able to find anything. Yesterday I nearly paniced when I couldn't locate notes from a very important meeting held just before my surgery. I did ask for help but it came from an unexpected direction. I had sent out an e-mail to all those I had previously shared the notes with, asking if they had a copy. No one responded. But the Lord did.
Richard usually gets a form from the VA (Rx meds) in September asking for income information for the previous year. This form came yesterday, 5 months early. While pulling the file for the VA, I found the missing meeting notes. If that VA file had not been required, I probably wouldn't have found those notes for a long time. Please don't ask how they got there. I am frustrated enough about it. Praise God for His timing and organization. Mine sure proved faulty, at least this time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

No rain today

The temperature outside is so nice. Even though it is overcast it has that feeling of warm weather to come. That is important on several fronts.

First of all, let me wish Paul a warm and safe Happy Birthday. Paul is on the road, as usual. Having been a long-haul truck driver for many years, he is rarely home or with family on his special day, but I want him to know he is not forgotten. Happy 50th birthday Paul. Don't feel bad about being 50. Try to see it from my view, by mid-June half of my kids and kids-in-law will have reached or passed this landmark age.
Warm clear weather will be important for Rick and Amy L's wedding in June. They plan on an outdoor celebration with family bbq. We all love his Amy and are looking forward to this event.
We are also looking forward to welcoming our sixth great-grandchild (a girl) in early July. A baby shower is planned (maybe outside) in mid-May. Lissa (Shelley & Eric's youngest) and husband Nate are so happy.
While life is adjustable around the weather, family and friends gathering outside is dependant on it being nice. We are so blessed to have really nice summer weather here in Oregon. Relatively little rain until the fall rolls in again. Enjoy your day. Take advantage of the sunshine.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life is short

Today I am again reminded that life is short. Don't blink and miss it. A friend died last night of cancer. Praise God she is no longer in pain. She was just a couple years older than me and had suffered so, having been in a horrible accident years ago that broke nearly every bone in her body. She lived with pain and partial handicap for over 25 years, finally succumbing to cancer and dying in a nursing facility.
Another friend died nine days ago at age 92. His heart just plain wore out. But he had lived a life of relative health and died peacefully at home, surrounded by family.
Then there was a friend's daughter who was tragically killed in an accident in her 30s. Why?
We may never know. Our years and circumstances of death are mercifully not something we will ever know. But be assured, death comes sooner or later to us all. We need to be prepared in the only way we can. We need to have our Lord Jesus by our side. He is our peace, our savior, our only means to the Father. Fortunately all three of those precious souls above knew Jesus as their own. Do you?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Let me introduce myself. You may think you know me, but do you really know me?
I am a complicated human being. On the one hand I am a scientist, having studied and practiced medical and environmental occupations that are based almost entirely on fact for over 35 years, you might think me cold and calculating. Well perhaps a bit. I am prone to look at facts and base decisions on what is known or can be extrapolated, but not entirely.
I am also an artist. I can look at an object, either in actuality or in my minds eye, and arrange color, texture, shade, and other objects in such a way that they will contrast, enhance, or blend together in a variety of patterns. This applies to patterns for sewing, decorating a room, arranging a bouquet, or putting brush to easel. I do have imagination. Some may say too much.
Along with my husband, I have raised a family of four children on a budget that would send most people into panic. But I am proud of how each one of our kids turned out. We now have 14 grandchildren and 5 (going on 6) great grandchildren spread out among 4 states and 2 additional countries. Not many "things" can defeat me. Yes, I have learned to roll with the punches, and believe me, there have been more than my share. I have been called tenacious on more than one occasion, simply because I choose my battles and I refuse to throw in the towel. I am also very loyal. I have a casual relationship with many people, but a very small group of close friends. Most share similar life styles and histories of hardship, family, and faith. These give us a common ground of empathy.
Finally and above all, I am a Christian blessed to have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. I serve a risen Lord. He is at the center of my entire life. Much of what I do is based not on fact, imagination, or experience, but on faith. Christ has never left me out to dry. He has often said "no" to my requests, but only because He had a better idea in mind. He just hadn't shared it with me yet.
I say all this because I am sometimes admittedly hard to read. In fact, nothing gives me a giggle more than irony. I look for and find it in places that no one else would notice. Unless you know me really well, you might take me dead seriously all the time, not realizing that I have an extremely dry sense of humor. If this is so, I do not apologize. I only hope you will stick with me long enough to be better acquainted with who I really am. I have much to offer in the way of compassion and love. You see, I've chosen the high road of positive thinking even in the midst of life's hardest trials. No, I am not naive, just determined not to allow "life" to control how I think, act, or live. OK, I admit to being cynical at times. Hang in there, it won't last long.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I am back

It has been some time since my last entry. My surgery went well and I am recovering just fine. In fact, I went tp physical theropy this a.m. without so much as a cane for support. How is that for progress. Yes, I still have swelling, there is still some inflamation, and I am stiff and sore. But not anywhere near what it was. In fact, I havn't taken a pain pill in about two weeks.

I see the doctor on Thursday and anticipate the all clear to drive. Not being able to drive has been the hardest part of this whole thing. Richard no longer drives because he falls asleep without notice (even in mid-sentence), so it just isn't safe. That either means we are stuck at home or must depend on someone else to take us. DIanna works full time and Shelley is several miles away. Not a good situation. We have been stuck most of the time. A friend has been taking me to theropy on Tues. and Shelley takes me on Thurs. But anything else is out. So I stocked up on everything and Dianna stops for little things on her way home.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and my car is parked there. Freedom is in sight. Thank God for all those who have prayed for me (us), come by to visit, called, sent cards, etc. He is faithful and friends are such a blessing.

My birthday came and went. I am now another decade older. I heard from the older of my siblings but had to contact my youngest brother just to make sure he was OK. He is just so busy working and studying for his masters. I am so pleased for him. He promised to drop by this summer when he can breath again.

My sister sent a lock of my hair in my birthday card. Seems it had been returned to her by a friend in Phoenix. According to a note, she had sent this hair to her friend some 50 years ago to compare with a dye job. It was really strange. My questions are 1) how was my hair collected, 2) what possessed the friend to hang on to it for that long, and 3) is there a voodoo doll somewhere out there?