Wednesday, March 29, 2023

54 Years


Look at those two kids on their wedding day. They both had hair and neither was gray. 

Once we've passed the big 5-0 celebration, each subsequent year just seems like that, just another year. There will be no big celebration. I'll spend the day doing my recovery and rehabilitation stuff and Tom will work outside until he leaves for a late afternoon eye appointment. 

We will go out to dinner at a nearby favorite Mexican restaurant. Even a non-notable year deserves recognition. After all - 54 years!

It's hard not to think about how we all got old when I look at this photo, where we were all so young. Two of my sisters are gone. One of Tom's cousins passed years ago. The rest of us are all grandparents, some with adult grands. 

Tom has been my beloved life partner for a long time now. Once again he has been called on to see me through another surgery recovery, and he is a wonderful caretaker. Our love is still strong as we approach old age.

Thank you, Tom, for these 54 years together. We'll work to keep each other going for more years to come. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Marching Along


March is a fickle month weather wise. After some nice warmish days we are back to cold 40 degree days, with some local areas reporting snow showers. Charlie/Mewdini came to visit before it turned cold again and you can see he is still in full winter wool. He does enjoy having his fur ruffled. 

Blooming has been delayed a few weeks, but now, driving around to appointments, we see many yards with pink flowering trees and yellow Forsythia, like this one in our yard, in full bloom. It's pink and yellow time, and the magnolias are ready to burst their buds.

Daffodils are in bloom, and in the Skagit Valley the fields of daffodils are the prelude to the tulips to come in a few more weeks.

While I'm not marching, I am walking without my walker. I have graduated to one walking stick in the house and two outside. Yesterday, exactly two weeks to the hour from my hip surgery, we went back to our Friday morning breakfast with friends. I had to get up a little extra early to get there on time, but I was up, showered, coifed, dressed, had my first daily round of PT exercises complete, and we were at the restaurant by 8:40, only 10 minutes late. It was great to get out and see friends. 

We have my surgical wound issue under control and an appointment next Friday to deal with any lingering hematoma. My "good leg" knee is settling down after its swelled up protest. I am moving around pretty well and doing most of the cooking for dinner each evening. Tom is available to fetch things. As of today I am resuming my daily walk down the 150 ft driveway out to the street to fetch the morning paper and then the afternoon mail. I haven't moved back into bed for sleeping yet, but I'm getting OK sleep at night in my recliner.

Slowly I am reclaiming some of my life back. Tom will have the burden/pleasure of doing all of the yard work for quite a while yet, so I am freeing him up from tending to me as fast as I can. And I'm keeping him well fed. By next week I should even be able to help with the grocery shopping. 

We're marching along.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Coming Along

 Yesterday Spring started. Here in the coastal Pacific Northwest, meaning west of the mountains, we are lucky enough to find Spring right on schedule. Our Pacific maritime climate keeps our weather moderate enough to give us four distinct seasons with none of them severe.  

So the Brazen Hussies are starting to bloom!

They are the bright yellow flowers with almost black leaves, one of several types on Ranunculus (think Buttercups) that will run rampant in our yard if we let them. They are brazen, and I just like saying their names. We actually bought the starts years ago and sometimes wish we hadn't, but they are so bright and cheery when direct sunlight opens them up. 

I have a matched set now!

My appointment with my surgeon yesterday went well. Everything is where it's supposed to be and the incision is healing. When I described the pain I felt he knew just what it was. It was a tiny tendon letting go. This little tendon gets cut on order to install the artificial hip and then is gets repaired, but often the repair, which is just a few threads, doesn't hold, and, like a rubber band that breaks, it snaps. Ouch!  It stings for a good little while, and then it settles down. It did create a good "hematoma" in the process. Keep icing. It will heel itself over. 

So progress on my hip is coming along. Now I have messed up my right knee, which we knew was going bad and is next on the list. 

I'll just keep on going, best as I can.

It's Spring! Tomorrow might even be kinda' warm.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


 Spring is winning over winter.

Yes, that's my shadow in the corner. I was outside!

We had two warm afternoons, mid 60's! Tom was outside pruning the maple tree. This was on Friday. On Thursday he attended Irene's track meet for two of her four events.

I only have videos of her this week so found a photo from last year of her in action. She is continuing her winning ways. Irene started the meet by running the second leg of the 4X200, where running second she made up a huge deficit from her first teammate, pulled even and allowed her team to win that event. Then she ran and won the 100m hurdles. Then she ran and won the 300m hurdles. Then she ran a leg of the 4x400 m relay which her team won! She was a star!

Saturday afternoon found Tom and Irene at the stadium for a Sounders soccer match.

I got to see them off and then watched on TV. The Sounders didn't win, but the didn't lose either, battling the top team from last year to a 0-0 draw. They played on 65 degree sunshine, a beautiful day in Seattle. 

When Tom got home he found me sitting on the patio in the sunshine and suggested I walk out with him to get the mail. It's a 150 foot packed gravel driveway. I did it!

Last night I developed a new sharp pain, so I am laying off somewhat today. We will go to see the surgeon tomorrow for my first post-op appointment. I  hope everything is OK. I prefer winning to setbacks. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Home Alone!


                                                          Flowers Tom bought me, Monday?

Tom has been my steadfast caretaker. We have both managed to mostly stay patient through these first stages of my recovery. Today I am managing well enough that he could go somewhere else more important for a few hours.

Today is Irene's first high school track meet of the season. Our granddaughter is a senior at Mt Rainier HS and runs 100 and 300 meter hurdles and the 4x200 m relay. Also on the track is daughter Jill, who has stepped in as sprint coach when the team didn't have enough coaching support. She is loving it. I look forward to a full report with photos/videos when Tom gets home. He is also bringing home pizza.

After my glowing report in my last post, I had a setback. Trying to sleep in bed can be tricky this early in recovery. I'm kind of like a turtle on it's back. I tried to turn on my side and wrenched my surgical wound a good one. I relegated myself to the recliner, and did again last night, where I spend much of my time. I'm a little sleep deprived, and so is Tom, but we know it will slowly get better.

The sun is shining on those kids out there on the athletic field. I love watching track and field events.  I may make it to a few meets, maybe the warm ones. :-) It's still cold today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Getting Help


It reached 50 degrees today and I went outside for a little while to sit in the sunshine!

It takes us a long time to get going in the morning, but we managed to stay on schedule, get two icings on my hip, a shower, breakfast and get to my first post op physical therapy session by 11:00. 

When I saw Erica I told her I was doing poorly, hurting lots. When I showed her where she said that was normal. When she had me get up on the table I swung my legs up and she said, "Wow!, 90 % of people who've just had their hip sawed four days ago can't do that at all!"

Erica has been my PT therapist for many years and knows all of my issues. She is wonderful. I called her my cheerleader. Apparently I am doing OK!

 The exercises she had me do, now that I have instruction, are going to help, and the massaging she did relaxed some very tight thigh muscles. Tom watched and is helping me at home.

I was discouraged but now I am back on track.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

I'm Doing OK


My hip replacement surgery went well on Friday and I was home by 7:00 that evening. With a spinal instead of general anesthesia and then refusing opioids I have been able to avoid the terrible bowel issues of previous surgeries.  

Of course not using the Oxycodone means more pain, but I think the worst day is behind me. I am moving about, can go up and down my stairs, carefully, and I can eat without nausea. I spend a lot of time in my recliner, "icing and elevating" .

Tom has been a wonderful caregiver and Jill came over this afternoon to give me a neck and shoulder massage. Lovely!

I'll see my physical therapist on Tuesday and begin the process of rehabilitation.

All is well.

Thursday, March 9, 2023


 Finally, tomorrow is the day. Instead of going to Friday morning breakfast we will be going to the Swedish Orthopedic Institute downtown for my hip replacement surgery. It has been a long wait. 

When we hadn't heard by noon today what my check-in, surgery time was I called a number I was given when I inquired yesterday. Four new numbers or transfers later I finally got an answer. I guess I jumped the gun because I finally got a call at 1:30 this afternoon, from a different person. 

Anyway, I check in at 9:00 Friday morning for surgery two hours later. I am to have no food after midnight, and only 8 oz of water in the early morning. 

The first Tete-te-tete daffodils are finally blooming

So today has been preparation day. The bed has clean sheets and the bathroom has clean towels, ready for my clean self after an evening and then morning wash with pre-surgical body scrub. Freshly washed clothes await. 

I make charts, and today I replaced my PT chart with a post surgical chart: 20 min of icing, 15 min of activity, elevate and rest; repeat three times in the morning, twice in the afternoon, and three times in the evening. Lots of check, check, check.

I have a new chart for meds, seven in all at first, with hopes I will not have to use the opioids. 

Yesterday I made a big pot of beef stew so Tom will have plenty to eat while he is taking care of me. I'm not sure when I will eat much given my history of digestive issues post surgery, but I am prepared for whatever comes. 

I just got a message from my cardiologist, letting me know she wants an echo cardiogram. What?! Oh, not until May. OK. Can do. My stress level is easing off.

All is well. Wish me luck. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Jill's Hawaiian Adventure

 As most of you know, my daughter Jill celebrated her 50th birthday with a diving trip to Hawaii. She is now back home and I resume she is back at work as an elementary PE teacher. She has shared photos and since some of you have asked to see pictures of her adventure, here we go.

She stayed in a hotel next to the dive shop and her diving was just off shore from Honolulu. 

The dive boat.
Under water they played with giant sea turtles, saw a shark, and lots of colorful fishes.

She spent time on the beach. She said the 70 degrees there felt very warm. It's been cold here. 

She visited some sights.

And she found some yummy food, including a free breakfast and Starbucks drink just like she has done for many previous birthdays.
Dole Whip - yes, she says she ate it all!

I haven't talked to her yet but it looks like she did a pretty good job of "hanging loose" 

Sunday, March 5, 2023

The Cousin's Lunch, and Other Things

 According to my guests, our Cousin's lunch on Thursday was a big success. 

Two cousins, Kris and Susan, arrived early with their partners and while I was busy in the kitchen, they got right into catching up. Kris brought some China and glassware that belonged to our maternal grandmother, and Susan brought old photos. My sister Laurie arrived right on time and joined in.

Lunch was served on schedule at 12:30, and the talking and sharing stories continued through the soup and onto the cookies and coffee. 

Finally they all pitched in to clear the table and we girls spent time going over the treasures Kris and Susan brought. 

This is a photo of my grandfather's farm at haying time, located in the foothills on the east side of the Willamette Valley. 

These are his draft horses that pulled the farm equipment. 

These are Grandma's dishes. I am still working on trying to date them. None of us remember them. 

This is the house where I grew up. Over the years it was added on to as the family grew, but it started out as two rooms with on outhouse and no running water. Heat was a wood stove, as was the cook stove. 

Cousins and siblings: L to R - sisters Ilene and Laurie, cousin Wes, me, and cousin Susan.  It must have been a special day as we all were wearing pretty dresses.

I was very glad to be able to host this gathering. I kept the China and have found a place for it on my pantry shelves. There are enough plates that can, and will use it, most likely for Thanksgiving. 

Then I was tired. Saturday Tom and Irene went to the Sounders game while I stayed home and watched on TV. Another victory!

Jill is still in Hawaii, in Honolulu, where she has been diving and relaxing on the beach and she even found some free food for her birthday yesterday. I will probably have some photos for anther post later. She comes home tomorrow.

Tom leaves tomorrow for Whidbey Island and the San Juans to help move Jake to his new home and job on Whidbey Island.  I will be in quarantine except for a drive through COVID test on Tuesday. 

It's all coming together.