Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hot Pink Cast....

It's been less than a week since I had a ganglion cyst removed from my left wrist. I had opted for that lovely "twilight" anesthetic and awoke to a huge bandage from wrist to past the elbow. I thought this to be a bit overdone. The surgeon wasn't available to talk after the surgery and I have yet to talk to him. Three days after the surgery, I had the wrappings removed and a real cast was applied. The surgeon's assistant explained that the surgery was a little bit more intensive than anticipated and the cast was to prevent wrist movement.

This has taught me a few things we so often take for granted....

1. Typing is to be considered a slow art when one is wearing a cast - especially when typing within a format that doesn't have an "undo" feature.

2. Resting is restorative - even if it means suffering through half a day at work and slinking out for the remainder of the day.

3. Peeling hard boiled eggs with one hand is not possible. Therefore, volunteering to make a couple dozen deviled eggs for the office birthday party is not a good idea.

4. As a quilter, it is not possible to look at quilting magazines in a leisurely manner. The impulse to jump up and just put together one quilt block is overwhelming.

5. Always choose an eye catching color when selecting a fiberglass cast.

And now I am going to exercise number 2 - and the quilting magazines are safely put away.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Day before Surgery

Tomorrow I'll finally have the ganglion cyst removed from my left wrist. This has been bothering me for more months than I care to think about. Life threatening - no. Cumbersome - yes. Terrified about tomorrow - no. Mildly scared about tomorrow - oh yes.

I've had several surgeries in my life - most of which were considered "major". Not to go down a road of tangents - but who determines what's major and what's minor? If it's a removal of an ingrown toenail, it's major.

I've been reminded of these surgeries when the question came up several times in the past two weeks. Dates of previous surgeries? Who remember dates? You want details - I can give you details.

Eating at White Castle the day prior to the first surgery - and which time the diagnosis was 'unknown mass, possibly cancer'. Okay - so I loved White Castle then. I've since moved up to Wympee's, a real down-home 40 year old plus diner not too far from where we live - which has sadly transitioned to the addition of Mexican cruisine. By the way - it wasn't cancer, praise God.

Second surgery - much less cause for a trip to White Castle. That was the hysterectomy. That was when we bought two Australian Shepard puppies. Word to the wise - puppies bought in the winter are not a good idea. Especially when the winter involves snow, ice and lots of cold and going outdoors.

Third surgery - suspected hernia, emergency room, phone call to husband to come home from his trip to Georgia. Pain pills afterwards got rid of the pain - but also robbed one of sleep. Doc's solution - prescription for sleeping pills. Wasn't a hernia - but a regrowth of what the first surgery was supposed to have taken care of.

There has been a fourth surgery since then ... and nothing monumental comes to mind except a plea to the doctor that when I wake up from it, please do not subject me to the indignity of a catherater. He didn't, I was pleased.

Dates? I suspect that I will never remember dates for events so mundane as surgeries. I have to refer to my date book for birthdays - except for two of them. Husband's birthday is one that I won't have to find the date book - and granddaughter Rheya's birthday as I was there at her birth and will cherish that memory for the rest of my life. And oh yes, wedding anniversary. Memory of eloping and our 25th anniversary when we renewed our vows in church - having dad walk me down the aisle and seeing my dear husband as if for the first time.

Dates are reserved for momentous occasions...and wonderful, funny memories. Thank God I can still remember the good ones.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Not Just Another Day....

Today my sister Carol has surgery. While it's not major surgery, it's surgery just the same.

We "listened" to the procedure via computer over a week ago. Computer information has now replaced the doctor's explanations and support. Sad. Technology has its place - but this goes beyond the pale. Nice thing about providing comments afterwards - you can.

So today is the day for her - and I'm so grateful to have a job that allows the ability to take off the day to be with her.

I haven't been there for my sister in a long, long time. She is now legally separated from her husband of 15 years. This wasn't a decision she took to lightly...and my prayer is that he'll wake up some day, realize he needs help and will seek God for wisdom and strength.

Today isn't just about the surgery...it's about learning to give. Carol has said more than once: "I like to help people". It's just not that she likes it - she loves it. God gave her such a gift for helping people. It doesn't matter if it is just listening, pushing a broom or cleaning a bathroom - she's 100% helping.

So today, I'm trying to follow the example she set. The day I can say "I like to help people" and mean it deep inside is the day that God will smile and say 'you got it'.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Yearly pilgrimage

12 October 2006

I am home after being away for a couple of days - and it feels good to be here.

Both my sister & I are over 50 now. The fact we have parents in good health is a blessing - not to mention, amazing. Every year we visit them, either by driving or by flying. This time, we drove. Actually, I do the driving - as sis does not drive. We left later than usual. My grandson is now 2 years old and we couldn't miss his birthday party (which will be another post). Sis & I left around 5:30pm on Saturday & arrived around 10:30pm at what we call our "half way" point. 10:30pm in Merrillville, Indiana is not exciting. Finding the hotel after 20 minutes of cruising the streets wasn't either.

After we located the hotel, we unloaded a few pieces of luggage and then we located a Dennys and a very friendly waitress (even if she couldn't rustle up a bowl of soup for sis). A word for the wise. Late night traveling does not lend itself well to anything that contains BBQ sauce.

The next morning - beautiful but cold traveling weather. What should have been another four hours of traveling turned into a little under five hours. Another traveling tip ... try to stick to Yahoo map directions as much as possible, no matter how tempting that 'short cut' looks (it probably isn't a short cut anyway - and no doubt it will go through many towns and slow speed limits).

Finally, we arrived in Oshkosh where our folks retired many years ago. Dad is retired Air Force - and they both grew up in Oshkosh. They have a history that we get glimpses of every year. It was only in the last decade or so that I learned that my father grew up living with relatives & orphanages. His large family (12 or 13) was split up - not uncommon during the depression era - and dad never really knew his siblings. This trip we learned that mom and several of her siblings also lived with relatives and in orphanages. She also came from a large family. I am still trying to take that piece of information in.

This year's visit was a little different. My husband flew in on Monday to join us - which was a most interesting tale in itself. Dad learned that the airline definition of "on time" is quite different than the world's definition of "on time". I learned that it's possible to have a decent cappuccino without a Starbucks price and that cappuccinos taste pretty darn good in an airport.

On Tuesday, the four of us went to Oneida for an hour with the slots - again a yearly tradition. Hubby stayed behind for a teleconference. Just as well. I would have hated his witnessing his wife of 35 years totally out of control after winning 35 nickels. Yes, Virginia - there are still nickel slots out there. Sis lost her $2.00, dad won over $55, and I came away with $5.55 more than what I started off with. Dear hubby lost a little under half of what I threw in the slots for him (and yes, I solemnly swear the money he gave me was totally separate from the money I threw in the slots). Mom is still not talking. You can bet that it wasn't more than $3.00. A trip to Michiels restaurant afterwards - where they have the world's best small salad bar and a hot bacon dressing to die for. You bet - another tradition is to stop there for lunch. Oh yes - my first taste of Cream of Cabbage of soup. I have got to get that recipe. Chunks of sausage, cheesy creamy base, potatoes...and of course tender cabbage. Mom & I both took back pieces of broasted chicken for later.

Somewhere along those couple of days, I helped dad pick apples in their backyard. Dad grew a Cortland apple tree from a seed some twelve years ago - and the crop this year was amazing. Standing on a ladder with an 'apple picker' was so much fun. I hope that the inventor made a billion bucks on this invention. Picking apples made me seriously think about our apartment living...for about twenty seconds. Picking apples = upside of having a home. Shoveling snow & raking leaves = downside of having a home.

While there, I laid out squares of flannel for one of my next quilting projects (which my wonderful husband participated in), cut out several blocks, bought a nice portable plastic quilting 'frame' for my current project and bought 1 1/2 yards of cute Christmas print flannel - which I realize now is totally unsuitable for the squares of flannel we laid out earlier. And best of all - went out for a birthday dinner for dad with the added bonus of my niece and her husband joining us. My brother and his wife live in Oshkosh also - and of course they were at the dinner. Some day I will write about my brother - who is quite a guy. His wife is a wonderful woman I'd like to get to know better someday.

Before we departed Oshkosh, dear husband promised aunt Joyce a visit in July for the family reunion - and his traveling home with sis & I made the trip much more enjoyable. Nice to have a chauffeur for most of the trip!

What makes each of us so special is where we came from - and for now, knowing we can go home for awhile makes life that much better & more precious.