• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 552 other followers

  • “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers” — Isaac Asimov

  • Recent Posts

  • Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 154,969 hits

Christmas 2017

Whew!  This Christmas season has been quite the whirlwind, let me tell you!  Now that I’m back at home, I finally have time to sit, reflect, and write.

Our Christmas celebrations were very different this year due to a number of things.  First of all, Rooster and his wife were 3,000 miles away.  We opened presents with them via FaceTime a few days before Christmas.  Second, the Mr. was on call this year, so we were stuck at home – a first, I believe, in all of the years that he’s had his job.  I guess we should count ourselves fortunate, eh?  Because of that, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home.  Thankfully, Chicky had driven to our house on the 23rd, so we got to enjoy the holiday with her.

The Mr. got called in to work in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Day.  Poor thing.  He texted me when he was on the way home – my wake up call since I still wasn’t sleeping through the night.  I’d left the tree on all night so I could see it, in all of its loveliness, whenever I turned over in my chair.

He grabbed a few hours sleep when he got home before we opened gifts.

It’s a good thing that Santa got the message that we would be home this year.  He left our stockings under the tree instead of the usual spots at the in-laws’ house.

It doesn’t take long to open presents, even going one at a time, when there’s only three of you.  We had fun, though, and enjoyed the looks of surprise when each recipient discovered an unexpected or much-longed for item.

Chicky gave me a chopper that I’d read good things about on my Detoxinista Facebook page.

This thing does everything!  It even has an egg separator, a salad spinner, and an egg whipper, which I can use when making my aquafaba “eggs.”

The Mr. gave me these Vionic boots.  I’d tried on a pair at Dillard’s a few weeks ago.  He had found them on Amazon for much cheaper.  I cannot wait to wear them after I finish healing.

He also gave me a much-longed-for adjustable bench.  He’d hidden the box in the garage.

I also got a pair of workout pants, a cute little Auburn shirt, and a couple of dressier shirts.  My stocking had been filled to the brim with a couple of magazines, sneaker balls, Twizzlers, gift cards, and an insulated cup.  The Mr. always spoils me.  ❤

I didn’t take many pictures this year.  Shame on me!  Chicky gave the Mr. a lap desk.  I gave him an iPad mini, a hedge trimmer, and a wireless charger for his new phone, along with an Auburn puzzle and this adorable totem pole . . .

I’d filled his stocking with a plethora of goodies.  I had taken advantage of being able to drive in the weeks before Christmas this year.

We gave Chicky a good pair of ear buds – a brand that she had not expected but that she’d been wanting.  We also gave her a pair of shoes, an Auburn shirt, and gift cards.  Her stocking was overflowing.  We love pampering our kids!

The Mr. had to work Christmas night, so Chicky and I watched a movie on Netflix.  We turned in early, though.  I was still plagued with frequent post-surgery fatigue.

She drove me to Bigger City, Florida for my follow-up visit with my surgeon (I wrote about this in my prior post), but we had to leave the Mr. behind because he still had to work.  He drove over on Friday.

We treated Friday like our traditional family Christmas Eve.  Super Sis and I made plans to spend the morning together, as we always do, and she agreed to pick me up since I couldn’t drive.

Now let me tell you, God certainly meant for us to be sisters because we are always such a hot mess – in the same, exact way.

When she arrived, we discovered that we had chosen similar shoes.  Of course, she’d opted to go without the Darth Vader boot, but I digress . . .

The first stop we made was Starbucks.

Go ahead and admire our cuteness.

I was super excited when I realized that I finally had a partner who could/would do fun Snapchat filters with me . . .

She has to work on her timing with that tongue thing.  Of course, she was trying to place our order and stop laughing while posing, so there was that.  I need to work on looking in the right spot.

Told you that we’re a hot mess.

We went to Dillard’s first, and she showed me some of the charms she wanted for the new James Avery bracelet one of her sons had given her for Christmas.  She’d received a gift card and knew exactly how she was going to spend it.  I, of course, was an enabler who encouraged her to buy what she liked.

We had a bit of an experience while we were shopping at Express, one of my favorite stores.

Have you ever seen videos of people spitting out their drinks when they’re laughing or sneezing?

Yeah, she kind of did that, although it was because something went down the wrong way, and for the FIRST time ever, I was on the receiving end.  One minute, I was scrutinizing a possible dress to wear to this year’s high school graduation, and the next second, I was watching my Apple watch get sprayed with her chai tea.  I mean, it went ALL OVER THE PLACE.

She later told me that the look on my face was one of shock.

Truly it was.

I was worried about her because she’d choked on her drink (thinking the same thing that I was about the dress, which had lace panels down the back in a ‘HELL NO – not appropriate for any graduation” kind of way).

Then, we hurriedly tried to clean up the floor and my watch as we hightailed it out of the store.

THEN, I threw away my kleenex in what I thought was a trash can . . . only to watch it float and then sink into what turned OUT to be a can of water (I didn’t notice the chairs that people could sit on to get their feet done, I guess?

The giggles, y’all.  We could hardly walk because we were laughing so hard.

I seriously love my sister.

We went back to Dillard’s, since we’d parked there, but did a bit of shoe browsing (ahem) before leaving.

That’s when I fell in love with these . . .

Oh Vionic shoes, you get me every time.  I texted a couple of photos to the Mr., told him that I really liked them, and then bought them.  I’m saving the receipt in case I find them cheaper somewhere else or discover that I can’t wear them when I can actually put two on at a time.  I’m not allowed to put any weight on my right ankle unless it’s in a boot, which means no regular shoes on that foot for an entire month.

We went back to the house, picked up the Mr.’s mom, and took her back with us to the mall, where Super Sis bought the charm she’d been admiring and had it put on.  We also visited another store outside the mall but didn’t buy anything.  Oh, and we had to go to Trader Joe’s, where I found some canned coconut milk that will be perfect, later, for some desserts I’ve been dying to make.  Most coconut milk has an ingredient (can’t remember the name now) that prevents it from being whipped.  Not so with the Trader Joe’s brand.

By the time we got back to the house, my ankle was shot.

It’s quite clear that I still have a LONG way to go in my recovery . . .

But our fun wasn’t over yet!  We still had dinner and presents to go!

But first, another Snapchat selfie with my seester . . .

Can you just see her face . . . forty years ago.  Quite the imp she used to be.  And please admire my hair.  My hairdresser had washed and dried it for me on Wednesday.  She’d done a FABULOUS job.  I love good hair days.

Chicky and my oldest nephew cooked most of the dinner.  Super Sis got a picture of them, but I didn’t.  Boo!

I did manage to snag another selfie with my sister though.  When you don’t see each other very often, you’ve just got to take lots of selfies.  Ahem.

Dinner was fun; everyone squeezed around one table.  We sure were missing my boy and his girl.

Then, it was time to do presents.

Super Sis and her family had already opened gifts with the in-laws, but we still had a few presents to open.

Cali jumped right in the middle of things.

As usual, we went from youngest to oldest.

The Mr.’s parents gave me the Instant Pot I’d had my eye on.

This one is f-a-n-c-y, let me tell you, and even has Bluetooth!  I’d seen a number of vegan recipes that call for this appliance but that I’d been unable to try (yes, I know that I could have made them, but it would have taken far longer to cook).  I’ve got a New Year’s recipe all picked out already!

They also gave me an Amazon gift card!

Super Sis and her family gave me a Books a Million gift card and this fabulous jacket . . .

It’s the only Hogwarts item I received this year.

The Mr. got several nice gifts, including this Auburn plaque for the wall . . .

The Mr. and I gave his mom a couple of gift cards and his dad a Roku, which the Mr. spent the rest of the evening setting up.

What an eventful day!

Our time with our family wasn’t quite over, though, and we woke up on Saturday raring to go.  I made another couple of trips to the mall and did a bit more shopping since the Mr. had not been with me the first couple of times.  I texted the following picture to Super Sis to show her that I’d worn my new jacket . . .

I did a bit of a DIY project and tightened the screws on the banister in the Mr.’s parents’ house . . .

Untitled

Later that evening, we visited Blaze Pizza, which I’d never eaten at.

I was duly impressed with the care they took with my vegan / dairy-free pizza.  I got the gluten free crust and just WOW.  I ate half and saved the rest for today.  It was delicious!

Then, we went to Shoe Station – a family favorite.

There were two sections of Vionic shoes . . .

I didn’t see too much that I liked, but I did find this pair . . .

I liked them, but the price was not any cheaper than Dillard’s.

So, I bid them farewell as I left them at the store . . .

We went back to the in-laws’ house, but it wasn’t long before Super Sis and I decided we had one more errand to run . . .

We were all about the nail polish – clearanced ones at that.  Of course, we had to act goofy and managed to clear the place out by the time we were ready to pay.  I think people were afraid that we’d escaped from the loony bin.

Alas, Super Sis had to go, though, so the beautifying would have to be done individually.  She had church to prep for the next day, and we had to get ready to head back home.

As I got ready this morning, Cali kept me company . . .

The Mr. and I said our goodbyes.  I hugged Chicky tightly; it will probably be a few months before I get to lay eyes on her again because of our work schedules.

We stopped for hot chocolate at a local coffee place on the way out . . .

The drive home was quick, or so it seemed, as the Mr. and I listened to old-time church music.

Our dogs greeted up happily when we got home, and I found the cutest calendar waiting for me in my stacks of mail . . .

I think I’d seen a story online about this little boy and his dog.  The foster family just adopted him; the proceeds from the calendar sales will go towards charities that support foster children.

Yeah, I’m going to enjoy this one all year long.  ❤

And that about covers Christmas.

I’m exhausted.  I think I’ll take a nap now.

Talk to you in 2018!

Day 7 Post-Op

Wow, wow, wow.

This second surgery has really thrown me for a loop, y’all.

I went into it expecting to be back on my feet right away.  That has definitely not been the case!

As you know from reading my Day 1 Post-Op story, I’ve had a tough time from the get-go.

The Mr. went to work the day after my surgery.  I managed pretty well without him there, but the pain pills really started doing a number on me.  I had gone up to two every four hours by then, but they made me terribly sleepy – and itchy.

The Mr. did come home in time for my new dryer to be delivered.

The Best Buy guys were uber-professional!  They quickly removed my old dryer and set up the new one.

It’s pretty fancy with a lot of features to choose from . . .

Poor Gambit was having a hard time though.  By Friday evening, he’d finally figured out a way to get close to me.

I didn’t sleep well that night and scratched like crazy every time I woke up, which was once an hour.  I gave up the fight around 7:30.

I suspect that my sleeplessness was due to another thing . . .

The Mr. helped me get my first shower since the day of my surgery, and I sort of felt human again.

That’s a compression sock I’m wearing on my left leg to help prevent blood clots.  I took it off mid-day.

Chicky arrived around lunch time, and we decided to have a mother-daughter date at the nail salon.  I haven’t had acrylics in a couple of years, so I splurged . . .

I took what would be my last pain pill while I waited for Chicky to get her nails done.  I knew that I wouldn’t be taking any more because of the icky way I’d been feeling.  I had two goals:  1)  To make it to church for the Christmas Eve service, and 2) To not sleep my way through Christmas.

I paid the price for this decision.  While my head wasn’t loopy, my pain increased.  The boot was the biggest culprit.  Every time I put it on, I felt a burning pain on my ankle bone.  The friction was terrible.

I made it to church the next morning but crutched my way around even though I was allowed to be weight-bearing.

I took my boot off during the service to alleviate the pressure.

I’m glad I was able to go, though, because the lighting of the candles at the end was breathtaking.

I was faking it until I made it though.  People kept telling me how impressed they were that I was out and about three days post-op.  I just didn’t want to be left behind, which is why I went grocery shopping Sunday afternoon, albeit with the motorized cart.

I was exhausted when we got home and, if I remember correctly, napped.

Chicky and I did some cooking later that day.  I made the Mr. a cake and started on my 15-Minute Peanut Noodles, which Chicky had to finish up for me since I got tired by the end.

I can’t remember if we started to watch a movie.  I think so, but I fell asleep halfway through and had to finish watching it the next day.

Y’all, the struggle has been REAL!

We celebrated Christmas the next morning.  I’ll share that fun stuff in a different post.

The Mr. had work Monday night, so Chicky and I chilled at home.

Tuesday marked five days post-op, and according to the instructions left by the doctor, I was supposed to change my bandages.

The Mr. supervised while I removed the ACE bandage first and then cut off the white padding . . .

I was still a little swollen, and the doctor’s writing had not faded . . .

Then, I turned my leg and saw my incisions . . .

It looked as though the doctor had marked lines on my previous incisions so he could follow along rather than making new cuts (thanks Dr. B).  The lines going across marked where the staples were to be placed.  The incisions looked pretty bad though, and I counted 28 staples total – 10 on the inner side and 18 on the outer side.

The incisions hurt like fire when the cool air hit them.  The area you see circled, below, was especially tender.  That’s the spot where the boot had been rubbing, and boy, was it aggravated . . .

I still couldn’t get my ankle wet, but I dabbed around it and tried to remove the beta dine from my leg.  It’s going to take quite a few showers to get it all off, I’m afraid.

The Mr. helped me put fresh gauze on both sides, and he wrapped it in a clean ACE bandage.

What an exhausting task!

Still, I was able to catch my breath and muster up enough energy to treat Chicky to lunch at my favorite local Thai restaurant . . .

Leftovers for days

On Wednesday, Chicky drove me to my hairdresser so I could get my hair washed.  It hadn’t been clean since the week before, and I was miserable.  I wasn’t feeling too well and wound up hitting the sack when we got home.  A cold had attacked my body rather quickly, the result of stress, I suspect.

That afternoon, we drove to Bigger City, Florida.  I had a post-op appointment the next day (this morning), so we came on over to stay with the Mr.’s parents.  He’s going to arrive tomorrow since he’s been working this week.

By the time I went to bed, I was feeling horrible; the cold was in full throttle.  I pulled out all the stops to try to get my symptoms under control . . .

The ibuprofen was for my ankle.  I’d emailed my doctor’s nurse to find out what I could take instead of the prescription, and she’d told me that I could take up to 800mg 3x/day, which sounds like a lot.  I only took 400 though.  My ankle had been on fire for almost a week.

Thursday (today), I woke up to find Chicky’s dog, Cali, eager for attention . . .

I got myself showered, and Chicky drove me to my appointment.

My surgeon has a fairly new PA who’d met with me for my pre-op.  I really like him; his bedside manner is excellent.  He is very patient and knowledgeable – impressive given his youthful appearance.

The nurse first removed my staples.  She did my inner ankle first.  Oy vey!  That hurt like a mother – especially when she got to the tender spot.  Then, she wiped the area with an alcohol wipe.  Y’all, I may have had a few tears in my eyes, but they didn’t come out – because I’m brave like that.  She proceeded to remove the staples from the other side.  This wasn’t nearly as painful . . . until she used another alcohol wipe.  Ugh.

She applied strips to both sides.  They’ll fall off in about ten days.  Until then, I cannot keep my foot submerged in a bath.  Dang.  I was sooooo looking forward to a hot bubble bath.  Guess I’ll have to wait a little longer.

The PA came in after the nurse finished, and we discussed my surgery – how sick I’d gotten – what a rough time I’d had all week.

Then, he took a look at my ankle and told me that it looked really good.  I asked him a few questions – I only had three, if you can believe that.

One thing that has become an issue is that my pointer finger on my left hand has gone halfway numb.  It’s as though it’s in that in-between stage of wanting to wake up after having fallen asleep.  The PA had no answer for what might have caused it.  I assured him that my finger was fine before my surgery, and that I’d read that having a cuff (blood pressure) on that same arm could cause it.  He didn’t agree because he said that the cuff wasn’t on the entire time.  He also told me that they had not numbed the left side of my body; however, I remember that before I passed out in the OR, I started losing feeling in my left arm.  Hmmm.  He told me that although he didn’t think it was from the surgery (I think it is the result of it), I should get back feeling eventually, after the anesthesia comes out of my body completely.  If it stays numb, I have to let them know.

The PA discussed what I’m allowed to do for the next few weeks.  I have to wear the boot for three more weeks.  During that time, I’m only allowed to work on range of motion exercises, with no board or bands.  After I’m out of my boot for a week, I can start low-impact exercises, such as walking.  I am not allowed to do any jumping.  He said that I could do some of my at-home physical therapy exercises.  I’ll have to go back in six weeks and have another x-ray to ensure that my bones have filled in.  We will discuss if I need physical therapy at that point.

I also have to start massaging my incision areas with Vitamin E oil to prevent scar tissue from forming.  I’ll do that as soon as the strips fall off.  The massaging is actually a painful process because I have to dig hard into my skin.  I didn’t do so well at this last year.  I hope to do better this time.

I asked him if I could have the boot section of the practice loosen the sides of the boot since the friction was causing me a lot of pain.  He fixed this by removing the cushioned part that had been attached to the inside with velcro.

Y’all, my jaw just about dropped to the floor when I saw what a simple solution this was!  I’m a rule follower as far as my ankle rehab goes, so I never even considered (or knew) that this thing could be removed.  When I put my boot back on after he’d wrapped up my leg in yet another ACE bandage, all was good, and what pain I felt was simply from the irritation that my inner ankle had been undergoing since the staples were removed.

The PA commented on my bright Tweety sock

I was able to walk out of the office without using my crutches at all!

I felt so much better that Chicky and I ran by the mall.  She needed to exchange a pair of shoes, and I wanted to do a bit of looking / buying at a store we don’t have in Podunk, Florida . . .

I spent the afternoon at Super Sis’s house chatting while she made up a batch of vegan vegetable barley soup.

I feel as though I turned a corner today.  I’m still sore, even without the boot on, but that’s to be expected.  I had twelve pins and a plate removed from my ankle, and tissue and bones need to finish healing.  I slept in a bed for the first time in a week last night, and the pressure from the covers made my ankle hurt – to the point where I had to stick my leg outside of the blankets for part of the night.  I tossed and turned and actually had to lift my ankle each time I rolled over.  I know that this will get better with time, but I haven’t had a full night’s sleep since before my surgery, so I’m a bit weepy if I think about the word “sleep.”

I’m also desperate for the feeling to return to my finger.  This is aggravating and, at times, painful despite it being partially numb.

This recovery has been a long, long road – one I knew I’d have to travel down immediately after learning the name of my injury.

I’m learning valuable lessons that I’m actually putting into practice.  I’m listening to my body and letting the pain be my guide.  I’m giving myself grace to rest when I need to.  I’m not pleased with not being able to exercise, but honestly, I’m too exhausted to do much, so there’s that.

As always, I am so thankful for the prayers that my friends and family continue to lift up on my behalf.  One of my church’s pastors told me, on Sunday, that he’d been praying for me.  I’m very much an introvert, but his words touched my heart.  My church has watched me struggle these past thirteen months, as all of you have.  I’m still struggling, but at least I know that I don’t have to do it by myself.

#findingjoyinthejourney continues to be one of my mantras as I walk into this final phase of my healing process.

DIY Fail

Y’all know that when something breaks around here, I’m usually pretty good at fixing it.

Well, I think I finally met my match a couple of weeks ago.

It all started when I woke up one morning and reached into the dryer to pull out what I expected to be dry towels, which I’d put in the night before.

That’s when I had an inkling that something was amiss.

Everything in the dryer was still very much wet.

I wondered if I’d forgotten to turn it on, so I did and went about my business . . . working out, showering, etc.

When I finished, my clothes were still wet.

Y’all, when my stuff isn’t working properly, I don’t function well.

I quickly googled what might be the problem and realized that I could be in for a pricey fix.  I left the Mr. a note beside his coffee . . . just so he wouldn’t miss it . . .

After posting a picture of the note on Facebook, because I’m all about posting everything on social media, or so my family tells me, the Mr.’s cousin sent me a message listing out possible fixes.

The first thing I needed was a multimeter to check the connections of a few parts . . .

I had to do some reading to understand the difference between open and closed circuits.

Then, I began taking the dryer apart – after I watched a video on YouTube . . .

One of the thermostats that controls the heating element

This is the heating element

This is the fuse.

I’m not going to lie.  I don’t think I ever quite figured out how to read the multimeter as I tried to test four different parts.  By that time, the Mr. had found a kit with the parts I needed . . . the more inexpensive ones . . . for only $30, so he ordered it.

In the meantime, we found ourselves needing clothes.

Thus began our weekly treks to the laundromat.  We’d wash our clothes at home and then carry them a couple of miles up the road to dry them.

It had been awhile since I’d had to use the laundromat and couldn’t remember how to operate the dryer.  A lady patiently told me that I’d put my money into the wrong dryer.  Then, we figured out that I couldn’t get my money back, so I had to move my clothes over.  Then, I figured out that I didn’t have enough change, so her husband gave me a few quarters.

Because this is how I do life.

Sigh.

Of course, I didn’t realize, until eighteen minutes in, that I’d set the dryer on medium heat.

I repeat, this is my life.

You’re jealous, aren’t you?

The Mr. visited the laundromat the next day, because we wash our clothes separately, and made the same mistake with the heat settings that I did.

Welcome to our life together as a married couple.

Betcha feel sorry for us now, eh?

Ha!

Unlike me, who did not enjoy the experience, the Mr. actually enjoyed the time he spent there.  He likes people watching.  We’re in a good town for that too.

It’s a good thing though because even after spending a couple of hours installing the new parts when they arrived, the heat still would not work.  The dryer was also making a funny sound when it ran – a sound that had not existed prior to my magic touch.  Ahem.

As a last-ditch effort, I pulled out the Mr.’s wet/dry vac and tried to blow out the dryer vent.

Picture the Mr. standing outside, at 10pm, while it’s cold, looking for dryer lint to fly out.

This didn’t fix the problem either.

I knew, at that point, that the fix would involve a lot more than $30.  The Mr. knew it too, so he reluctantly agreed that it was time to find a new dryer.

Truth be told, even though we’d had our current unit for about five years, it had never really dried clothes all that efficiently.  Simply put, I think we’d gotten a lemon.

So, we spent another week visiting the laundromat until we got our butts in gear and ordered a new one online from Best Buy.

The Mr. thought he was going to get away with getting me a cheap one.

Yeah, no.

I told him that I was going to pay for it, so I could get what I wanted.

We researched the heck out of them, ran to the store to look at them (they didn’t have the models I’d narrowed my search down to), and finally made our decision.

It had really good ratings, and I also liked that this model was made in America . . .

That was last Sunday.

I set up delivery for Friday afternoon, the day after my surgery.

Now, let me tell you that the only place I’ve ever bought big appliances from has been Sears, and I’ve always gone into the store to do that.  It’s usually been a bit of a hassle.

Not so this time.

I signed up for text alerts and was updated and reminded regularly that my appointment was coming up.

Not only that, but someone from the Geek Squad called us two different times to tell us they were on their way.

The second call came about ten minutes before they arrived, which I appreciated because I was in quite a bit of pain, trying to navigate around on my crutches.  I called the Mr., who’d gone to Walmart, and he made it home a few minutes after the delivery guys arrived.

They were well-dressed and uber-professional.  They carefully removed the old dryer and quickly got the new one set up.

As Yoda might say, “Thoroughly impressed was I.”

They even saved me $30 by suggesting that I keep the dryer vent I already had since it was longer and more flexible than the one I’d been required to order with the dryer.  They set up the refund before they left.

Totally cool, eh?

The Mr. and I went back and forth over who was going to use the dryer first.

I won.

Naturally.

He stuck a load of sheets in to help me out since I’m unable to put weight on my bad ankle, and when it was time to turn on the dryer, I took over.

My new dryer has a lot of bells and whistles and a fancy menu screen.

You know me and technology; we are a match made in heaven.

I used the Sanitizing setting since they are sheets that Chicky will be sleeping on the next few nights.  She’s got a lot of allergies, so I wanted everything squeaky clean for her.

The dryer was super quiet and yeah, the heat worked just fine, as evidenced by my hot laundry room.

While I’d love to brag and add another item to the long list of things I’ve fixed over the years, I can’t say that this DIY fail was, in fact, a fail.  I wound up getting an early Christmas gift out of the situation . . . From :  Me . . . To:  Me

Day 1 Post-Op

Wednesday afternoon, the Mr. and I headed out of town.

I’d tried to pack lightly but . . .

The Mr.’s parents, brother, and my sister live in the same city as my surgeon, so the plan was to stay with the in-laws.  We thought my report time was going to be at 7:30, according to the patient portal account I’d set up.  I had to call the surgery center after 3pm my time to find out for sure.  It wound up that my report time was 10:00 . . . still early but not too much so.

After eating dinner with the hubby’s parents, I headed over to Super Sis’s house to watch the Survivor finale.  She and her hubby are big fans of the show, and we were all rooting for Ben to win.

What a finale it was too!  Did you see it?  We were shouting at the TV, cringing at stressful moments, and praying like crazy (God says that we can pray for anything).

In the end, our guy won!

I had a hard time sleeping that night.  It wasn’t that I was worried, but the anticipation and uncertainty of what, exactly, I’d be feeling after the surgery kept me tossing and turning.  I finally gave up around 4am and opened up my First 5 app for my daily devotion.  The opening lines brought tears to my eyes, y’all . . .

I don’t know why I’m always amazed when God shows up in such tangible ways.  ❤

After I finished reading, I got up and did my physical therapy exercises.

I’d been told that I wouldn’t be able to do lower body workouts until my boot comes off . . . FOUR WHOLE WEEKS.  Sigh.

This was my view as I did lunges and squats . . .

Isn’t the tree gorgeous?  I’ll miss sitting in front of it on Christmas morning this year.  The Mr. is on call for the first Christmas ever, so we are going to have to wait until the 29th to do Christmas with his parents and our siblings.

When I finished with my workout, I grabbed a shower.

Y’all, I’m going to have to rely on the Mr. helping me get semi-showers, where I sit in a chair, drape my right foot over the side of the tub, while he holds the nozzle over my body.  This is what we did last year, and I was miserable . . . while he chuckled each and every time.

Yeah, so the shower yesterday morning was amazing.

It wound up being a good thing that I’d gotten up so early because I got a phone call from the surgery center at 7:30 asking if I could be there sooner – at 8:30.  The Mr. was still sleeping, so I woke him up, and he got ready really fast.

While he was driving me there, his dad went to pick up my post-surgery pain pills, which he and the Mr. had dropped off at the pharmacy the night before.

The hubby dropped me off so I wouldn’t have to walk very far while he found a parking spot.

They called me back quickly, and I had the joy of peeing in a cup for them to do a pregnancy test – something they do for all non-menopausal women.  Ha!

Then, I changed into my gown, and they brought the hubby back to sit with me while the nurse put in an IV and got me to sign off on more paperwork.

I love the staff at my orthopedic center.  They are very gentle and tenderhearted.  They see patients at their worst, suffering from so much pain.  Their care is top-notch.

It didn’t take too long before I was wearing compression and no-slip socks, waiting for my surgeon.

I took pictures of all sides of my foot just to compare with what it will look like when I get to see it post-surgery (it’s currently wrapped up in thick bandages) . . .

My nurse checked in frequently, and I had to call her three times to help me to the bathroom to go potty.  Nerves were starting to kick in big time.  When I returned to bed each time, I was cold.  She patiently gave me a new blanket every time.

Warm blankets from the blanket heater are the absolute BEST!

I was told that I was my doctor’s second surgery, but we still had to wait . . . and wait . . . and wait.  This doctor is very popular because he’s got mad skills.  I was glad that I wasn’t last in line like my first surgery.

The Mr.’s dad came back and waited with us, cracking jokes along the way.

The surgeon finally came to visit, went over the procedure, and marked my right foot with his customary smiley face.

Then, I got to wait a while longer.

Finally, the OR nurses appeared and whisked me off so quickly that I barely had a chance to bid the hubby farewell.

Things were so different from last year.  When I had my first surgery, I went into a pre-room first where they gave me something to sleep before administering my nerve block.  I guess we skipped this step since I refused the option for the block.  Last year, after I’d gotten my cast off, I’d experienced a burning sensation that ran down my big toe and across that toe’s knuckle.  The pain was constant and had me in tears for days.  I’d also been numb down the rest of my foot for weeks.  I didn’t want to go through that again despite the relief from pain that the block promised.  Talk about a catch 22!

So, instead, I was wheeled directly into the operating room.  It was FILLED with nurses and other techs, and I said hello to all of them.

I helped them move me from the gurney to the operating table, and they got my surgical cap on for me.  Then, the anesthesia nurse began giving me good oxygen.  At the same time, I could tell that they had put the anesthesia in my IV, although I was surprised that I wasn’t out in two seconds flat.  I’m a lightweight, don’t you know.  I keep breathing deeply and finally felt myself drift off.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.

My mouth was so dry (the result of not having anything to drink since the night before as well as the anesthesia).  They brought me Gatorade.

They gave me the hardware that they’d removed, sterilized and sealed up in a bag.

See that long bar with the holes? That’s the plate. It doesn’t look anything like what I expected! It’s also a lot smaller than what I’d thought from feeling it in my leg (a strange feeling indeed).

If you look closely at the next picture, you’ll see the LONG pins that were used on the inside of my ankle.  There were THREE of those, to be exact and played a big role in the swelling that stayed with me on the inside/top of my foot.  The doctor had told me, back during my last appointment, that once I healed from this surgery, the swelling would eventually go away.

I was in a LOT of pain down the right side (outer part) of my ankle.  The next picture reflects just how badly I was feeling.

I couldn’t feel a thing on the inner side of my ankle, and my toes were numb, but that right side was something else.

Now, I’m really not one to complain much, but I did some advocating, let me tell you.  I knew that I shouldn’t be feeling that kind of pain.

They gave me two Oxycontin and promised that I’d be able to tell the difference within thirty minutes.

They didn’t touch the pain.  I was in tears.  The Mr. was beside himself because he remembered how I had not felt anything for a day and a half last year.

The anesthesiologist came by and mentioned the nerve block and another medicine.  I opted for the second thing (I have it written down somewhere but can’t get to it while I’m writing this).  He said that the medicine would make me a little sleepy.  I was all for that.

The nurse had to administer it slowly, in two batches.  I felt the effects of it immediately and began to relax quickly.

It seemed as though it took forever to get discharged; instructions had to be given, and the IV had to be taken out.

She also gave me a folder that contained the x-rays the doctor had taken during the surgery.

The first picture is when they were halfway done.  You can see, if you compare it to the next picture, that there’s no hardware!  It looks like he used staples instead of stitches.  I’m glad because they are easy for the nurse to pull out, and the pain when she does it is like pulling out hairs from your leg.  They will remove the staples on Thursday.

No hardware!

We finally got to leave and headed back to the Mr.’s parents’ house.

That’s when things went south.

I had started feeling sick as I’d gotten in the car.  I made the Mr. pull over while he was driving so I could throw up.  I didn’t, but the feeling remained.

Ugh.

It was just awful.

I couldn’t get into his parents’ house fast enough and crutched my way to the bathroom as fast as I could.

I still didn’t throw up though.

Oh Misery, you and I got well acquainted.

I tried to eat a few crackers, but my mouth was so dry, it was a struggle.

We stayed about an hour before heading home.

The Mr.’s mom sent two Sprites (or 7 Ups) with me, along with more crackers, but I still had a hard time.  I sipped on the drink but mostly tried to sleep.

The first half of the drive was okay.  Not so much with the second half.

As I rode, stretched out in the back seat, I struggled.  As I sat up to take a drink, I got super sick and threw up in one of the bags the Mr. had put back there with me.

I never want Fruit Punch Gatorade again.

I felt better and rested more; however, as we pulled into the garage, I got sick again before even getting out of the car.

More Gatorade.

Ugh.

The dogs were happy to see me.  Although I wanted to love on them, I just couldn’t.  It was all I could do to get to my recliner.

The Mr. helped me to the bathroom a couple of times where I threw up more.

The protein bar I’d eaten in the car came up.

Along with more Gatorade.

Total misery, I tell you.

The nurse had told me to start taking my prescription pain pills when I got home, so I took two; however, the Mr. started comparing what the directions said with what I’d taken last year and discovered that I had taken fewer pills with each dose after my first surgery, so we decided to go down to one pill every four hours to try to alleviate my sickness.

I was exhausted and turned out the light around 8pm.

Thank goodness for my new recliner.  It’s incredibly comfortable, and although I woke up nearly every hour, I slept well when I was sleeping, if that makes sense.

Untitled

The Mr. got up and helped me to the restroom around 11:30.  I still had a lot of nausea, and my stomach hurt.  When I got him up at 5:00 to help me potty, the nausea was gone!  I stayed awake and haven’t been sick to this point.  I’m praying that this side effect is gone permanently.

And so this is how things currently stand . . . or should I say recline.

The Mr. had to work today.  A couple of days ago as we were discussing the rest of the week, I was very apprehensive about him not being home today; however, because the nausea is gone, I was able to tell him to have a good day as he left this morning.  He’ll be home around noon to check on me and wait for Best Buy to deliver a new dryer (a story for another post).

I am so thankful for all of the prayers that people are lifting up on my behalf.  I put in a request on the military support group page I’m a member of on Facebook and have gotten dozens and dozens of supportive comments.  My friends have been texting me, and I’ve been in constant contact with my family.

Of course, there’s the Mr.  He’s been his usual wonderful self, fussing at me because he’s worried that I’ll do too much, all the while caring for me without complaining.  He’s a good man; I am very undeserving of him.

Thank you for the kind comments you’ve left as I’ve traveled down this challenging road.  Your prayers and words of encouragement always make me tear up in joy and gratitude.

I’m still #findingjoyinthejourney despite how difficult it’s been.

God is so good.

God’s plans are perfect.

God’s love for me is steadfast and true.

Here I Go Again

. . . cue in Whitesnake . . .

Tomorrow, I’ll be going under the knife for the second time in just over a year.

This time, my surgeon will be removing the hardware he used to hold three of my ankle bones together after I broke them last November.

This is a surgery that I’ve actually been looking forward to.  Just admitting this says a lot because I am a person who is deathly afraid of needles.  Just the sight of blood makes me feel faint.

Over the last year, I’ve developed a strong stomach.  I’ve kind of had to considering all I’ve been through.

I had my pre-op appointment Tuesday afternoon . . .

I asked a lot of questions.  I’m glad the Mr. wasn’t there because he would have cringed.

I’ll be in a boot for four weeks while the holes in my bones, left from the pins and plate, fill in.

The doctor said that it will take between six and eight weeks to complete the healing process.

Heck, what’s another two months?  I’ve been through thirteen of them already.

My prayer is that the pain and swelling that have been a part of each hour of each day since 11/13/16 will gradually become a distant memory.

I’ve been ordered to take it very easy the first week, keep my feet up, and simply rest.

You know that’s going to be hard for me to do.

Still, I will baby my ankle because of the stitches/staples that I’ll have.  I don’t want to do anything that will make them pop out.

The doctor did say that I could do upper body exercises if they don’t require putting pressure on my foot.  It’s a good thing my weights are close to my recliner.

😉

Seriously, though, I really will be good.  Listening to the Mr. fuss at me is never any fun.

I’m supposed to be weight-bearing; however, I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk much at first – especially while I still have my stitches/staples.

One of the things that makes this a little hard is knowing that I’m going to be taking some steps backward as far as my fitness goes.  I’ve worked really hard to get strong again, so the possibility of almost starting over has me a little down.

Oh Piyo, how I love thee.

Still, as Super Sis told me on the phone a few days ago, I can draw strength from the knowledge that I have already come back (sort-of) once from my injury; I can do it again.

I sure would appreciate your prayers for the surgery to go smoothly, for the pain to be bearable, and for the healing to be complete.

Thank you! ❤

Changing the Lesson Plans and Taking Time to Reflect

Tomorrow marks the end of over six weeks of ACT preparation.

My students are battle-weary, as am I.

In the midst of some of the most boring lessons ever, there’s been an underlying tension.  My students took the FSA Retakes early in October, and we had all been waiting with baited breath for the results.

Well, y’all, we got the scores back two days ago.

My assistant principal quietly delivered them to me late Tuesday afternoon.

My hopes were high as I dug in; my nerves were strung tightly as I eagerly scanned pages and pages of test scores.

My heart soared as I read the names of the students who had acquired the score required to pass, and it plummeted when I saw the scores of those who had fallen short, some by only one or two points.

I took the list home to run some numbers.  I prayed.  Super Sis called me, and I asked her to pray.  I also texted Rebecca and asked her to pray.

You see, the next day, I was tasked with telling my kids if they had passed or not.

Stressful much?

I worried about how I would deliver the news . . . how the kids would respond . . . how I would help them rebound given the ACT test fast approaching.

The next morning, I opened the door between my classroom and the empty one beside it and called each student alphabetically while keeping an eye on the kids in my room.

I had last year’s scores in front of me to help me show the kids how much they had improved (or perhaps regressed) from the spring test administration.

I expected a lot of tears or even anger when I had to deliver less-than-stellar news.  What I got, instead, surprised and impressed me.

Most of the kids took the news well.  Many were quick to reflect and honestly admitted that they’d fallen asleep during the test, had been distracted, or just hadn’t been in the mood that day.

One young lady told me, with a determined look on her face, that she was going to ace the ACT.  Her motivation and confidence had increased ten-fold.

Then, there were the kids who received good news . . . that they had, in fact, passed.

The looks on their faces were priceless as the realization that they wouldn’t have to sit for another FSA test ever again settled in.

One young man, who I’d had the pleasure of teaching two years ago and learned that he’d passed, waltzed back into my classroom and announced his good news.  I heard one of my girls say, “Congratulations!  Now, you get to graduate.”  Her words were sincere; this was a good friend of hers.

My students continued to impress me throughout the day as they handled the news with a grace that eased my tender heart.  A few were disappointed after discovering that they’d barely missed the mark.  Those were the hardest on me.

Overall, though, the day had gone surprisingly well, and I realized that I had not needed to worry so much.  God had prepared the way through the prayers offered up on my behalf.

As a result of yesterday’s test results, I decided to change up my lesson plans for today.

As I’d talked with my kids yesterday, I’d heard their weary voices.

They are test-tired.  With the district’s common assessments, delivered via the computer in most cases, they are constantly being assessed.  Plus, we’d been working on ACT passages for so long that they couldn’t take any more.

So, despite my wanting to review the mock ACT reading test I’d given them on Monday, I decided to allow their voices to alter our course today.

Instead, I had them record their FSA scores on a sheet I’d created for them.  We had done this in August for the spring scores, and it had been illuminating.  Most, at the time, had no clue what they’d made.

Today, I walked them through finding the percentage of correct answers for all sections of the spring and fall FSAs.  Then, they compared their scores to see where they had improved and what they needed to work on.

You should have heard their comments.  One young lady told me that she realized that her score had been affected by the divorce her parents are going through.  They are fighting over who the children will live with.

Doesn’t that just break your heart?

Another young lady told me that she had lost her car keys and drivers license the day of the test, so that’s all she could think about.  I told her that I didn’t blame her, but that on an important test day, she had to find a way to block out everything else.

I told the kids that it was important to take time to reflect . . . that they needed to understand their strengths and weaknesses . . . that their parents couldn’t be the ones managing their academics for them because, ultimately, it was the kids who would be doing the work and trying to pass.

It was during my sixth period class when my principal came into my class for an unannounced observation – part of my yearly evaluation.

He got to witness my high-spirited class ask probing questions about the FSA, the ACT, and if could they get away with not really trying on the ACT (yes, this was really asked).  I absolutely loved watching them take the reins of their learning because this is really the end goal – for the kids to handle their business with a bit of gentle leading.

I am grateful for the last couple of days because, quite honestly, it can be extremely difficult to find time to sit down with over one hundred students and have truly meaningful conversations.  At best, I can do this with two or three in each class each day.

I think that the few minutes we spent chatting, one-on-one, reminded them that I am in their corner, despite pushing them so hard the last few weeks, and that I am listening to their feedback.

While this has been a time of growth for them, it has also been a time of growth for me.  My students continue to remind me what’s important – taking time to reflect and being willing to adjust.

It’s what’s best for them, and really, it’s what’s best for me as well.

%d bloggers like this: