Sunday, July 26, 2020

Living Vicariously in the High Country

My progress is slow, and some days non-existent. I know now that I was blessed with my first spine surgery with a remarkably easy recovery. I am having to accept the fact that this time is vastly different. I am grounded for some time to come.

But my children! They are seeking new heights!

Jake and Jill are experienced hikers and mountain climbers. Both spent years participating in classes as members of The Mountaineers. Jake has recently rejoined in order to find hiking partners, as his reliable employment and three day weekends are allowing him to have an active life.

On Monday we received these photo from his hike. This first photo shows his hiking partner Steve nearing the summit of Mount Roosevelt.
 The second photo shows Jake "lounging" near the rocky top of Kaleetan Peak. Billed as a two-for-one, it's a 14 mile scramble over many scree fields and an elevation gain of 5200ft for both summits. 
That's quite a King of the Mountains throne. And there are flowers way up there. 
 The view from the top.

With a mix up in the car shuttle and an extra five miles round trip, it was well past dark before I received word that he was home safe and sound. What a long and challenging day. 

On Wednesday Jill led a Mountaineering hike to Del Campo, which is a peak in the North Cascades. Listed as "Class 3 or 4, helmets, gear, technical expertise required", this is not a walk in the park either, with an elevation gain of 4300 ft over 13 miles up and down. 

Steve was there on this hike too. 

I think I'm glad to learn most of the details after they are all safe back at sea level. I Google these places, of course, and marvel at what it takes to do this. I never would have been able to achieve this, even as a young person.

On Saturday Jill led Irene on another hike, to McClellan Butte, 7 miles and 3000 ft elevation gain.  Jill is teaching Irene to be an accomplished hiker. In preparation they do things like run steps together. Uff-da.

Jill posted all of these photos on Facebook.
 The bottom of the trail leads through some old growth forest. That's the summit high above. 
 The top is a scramble. 

 The view includes Mt Rainier. 

What about Isaac, you say. Well, he does not profess to being much of a hiker, but he did go out with a friend this week and hiked the PooPoo Point trail, about five miles round trip, the steep way,  1858 ft gain. PooPoo Point is the famous jumping off place for paragliders. This is a Google photo. Isaac walked back down.

 My back hurts more just thinking about all of this action. I am having to work at walking across the room. But I am proud of my kids and happy that I can share their accomplishments. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Hanging In There

I wish I could say I was as pretty and perky as these fuchsia flowers, but at least I'm still hanging around, occupying my space.

I gave in to the opioids.  Dealing with nerve pain along with the incision pain just finally got to be too much. With my bowels functioning properly after the first week of recovery, I hit the drugs. A couple of days in, I hurt less, thankfully, but I now battle the big grog most of the time, which makes reading almost impossible.
 I managed to get up and showered and dressed this morning in time for a Zoom meeting with friends.  It's a bright spot in the week. 
Nights are still a process, settling in one position for a few hours, getting up to pee, and then resettling in another position for a few hours. By between 4:00 and 5:00AM I am ready to leave my bed and seek my recliner downstairs for a while, where I have been finding something on HGTV to watch. Then I settle in on the couch to try to get a little more sleep. It's a process. Tom is wonderful at ensuring my safety as I transition from one place to another.
 Abutilon, one of several we have in pots.
This morning I filled out my primary ballot. It didn't include POTUS. I can't wait to vote for a new president.

It did include a l-o-n-g list of candidates for governor, most of whom I have never heard. I'll be sticking with our incumbent, Gov. Insley. 

I've almost made it through another morning. I need to do another little walk about in the yard before lunch. I'll take my phone camera and maybe snap a few more photos.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Pain, Patience, and Pleasure

Pain is not pleasant. Surgery is painful. Recovery requires patience. I may have increased my pain by my impatience. 
My garden is a pleasant place to be and gives me pleasure. I walked around in it as much as I could yesterday because walking is good for healing. But maybe I pushed it too much.  Today I hurt. Today I have to stop being impatient. 

My post op instructions tell me that I am "likely to experience new incisional pain, as well as pain you noted previous to surgery." I am. I'm not good at rating pain on a scale of 1-10, but I am told to expect a typical range of 4-6 as I heal. I have pain meds - oxyCODONE - but on the 7th day after surgery I am just beginning to get my digestive system working again, so I will not use any opioids. Tylenol is a weak substitute. 
 These recent photos remind me that one year ago today we were celebrating our big 50-75 bash, with a garden full of friends and family. 

I'll have to occupy one of my few comfortable sitting places and indulge in some pleasant memories.   I'll have to work on practicing calmness. 
In this year of COVID, if I have to throw away some time, this is the year to do it. 

It's a good thing that anniversary and birthday were last year.
I can do this. I have before, and no doubt this won't be my last test on ageing. 

Be seeing you on the web, where you remain near and dear to me. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

I Am At Home

My surgery over, my recovery in progress, I got to to come home mid-day on Friday the 17th. That was my birthday present.
I enjoyed receiving birthday and get well messages via FaceBook and the e-mail. 

At home I found flowers and balloons from Tom, and more flowers from Jill and the grands. I love flowers, but then you already knew that. 

Now it is Saturday morning. I slept well here in my own bed with my partner here beside me to help when I wanted to change position. No alarm bells going off and nurses rushing to see why I was trying to escape if I got out of bed.

The hospital stay was fine - such wonderful nurses and aids, and what a beautiful ethnic rainbow. But I was beginning to feel very much trapped there. 

I had some issues but I think we have overcome them now. The pain is manageable so far with just Tylenol, so I don't plan to use my bottle of oxycodone. 

Recovery from spine surgery is a slow process. and I have to be very careful with movements right now, so I will take it easy.

I used my new toys this morning to get dressed: my grabber, my sock slider, my long handled shoe horn, my new slip on sneakers.  It wasn't a fast process, but I was proud  of my simple achievements. Tom is always on stand -by.

I remain a little groggy at times, so it's time to go find my recliner and park for a while. I'll be seeing you on our friendship net.

Thanks for all of your good thoughts.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Exploring Whidbey

Friday was a beautiful blue sky day. We spent several hours in the afternoon driving around the south part of the island, taking back roads, enjoying the views and the forests and the roadside wild flowers. With all of the grasses blooming in the meadows, the colors were lovely, if subtle, against the blue sky. It finally felt like summer.

We mostly just drove, but we did have one destination in mind, Fort Casey. Used to guard the coast during both world wars, it is now a great place just to wander.

We started at the light house, which was closed, but still picturesque.

 It is so open here on the bluffs overlooking Puget Sound. It's a great place for kite flying.

 The old fortifications are great places for kids to explore. 
 The views are expansive.
 Goldenrod in bloom.
 The big gun is impressive, but I was their for peace of mind. 
 The Port Townsend ferry. 
 With so much room to roam social distancing was not a problem.

 A precision kite flying team was practicing maneuvers. 
 After some time strolling around, we drove off to find one more location. The Ledgewood Beach sign is one we have passed may times, but we had never actually been there. We found the tiny public beach access parking area, and this lovely view. 

Friday evening the Sounders played in a tournament, MLS Is Back, in Orlando, Florida. We flew the team colors.

At 6:00, having had an early dinner, we settled in front of the big TV downstairs in the "family room". 

Playing in Florida in summer is a sweat fest, the the guys are rusty, but the Keepers kept both teams in the match for a 0-0 final score. It was good to see our guys in action again, but I'm not sure they should be playing yet. Especially in Florida!

Tom did do a little work. He replaced two landscape posts that had rotted out. He earned his coffee break and a rest. 

 I did no work. My job is to keep myself going. I did my physical therapy exercises each day, and took walks on the beach road. How about this for a septic tank cover. 
And I enjoyed the sky.

We go home this evening. Sunday morning I report to Swedish Hospital for my COVID test. Then I'll finalize the check lists and prepare for Tuesday. 

After this sweet Island get away, I'll be ready.