Thursday, April 27, 2017

Week 16 - Fun with Connie

I started the week exhausted from another night of Drew being up until the wee hours and me waking up each time he used the bathroom or went into his room. The alarm going off on Monday was a rude awakening and then having to fast track my morning routine to be at PT at 7:00 was killer. I went bak home after PT to change and pack a cooler for Drew full of all kinds of homemade goodies and most of the leftovers from Easter. He had sworn he'd be awake when I got home but he was so sound asleep that I had to poke him to wake him up to say goodbye. I left for work happy that he'd come for a visit but also happy to know I'd be going home to an empty house. Nirvana!

But Monday was a long day because Connie was in Lincoln on her way back from Easter in Oklahoma so we met for dinner at Noodles. Her granddaughter Connie was with her and I hadn't seen her since she was about 6 and she is graduating from high school. She is a perfectly pleasant quasi adult and we had a nice time. We ate a Noodles then walked around campus, which was in full bloom and gorgeous, then got dessert in a new bakery in the Haymarket near their hotel. It's always fun to have face time with Connie and going home to an empty house was another bonus. IT was a lovely evening.

Tuesday at lunch I ran down to Yarn Charm to pick up my Knit Nebraska t-shirt, which I will proudly wear on game day Fridays and maybe even to Sue's retreat in Canada. After work, Anne and I went to the movie Kedi at The Ross. It was about the feral cats of Istanbul and was totally enjoyable. This was a slightly earlier night than Monday but I still didn't get home until 7:30. Considering it was only my 2nd week of working full-time, I was getting tired.

I left work at 4:00 on Wednesday for PT and had a pretty disturbing encounter there, experiencing the negative side of small town living. My neighbors have had a bogus drug charge pending on them for 2+ years from when a new neighbor called the cops and told them they were selling drugs out of their house, which was absolutely NOT the case. So the new neighbor, who has living 2 doors down for a few years, also goes to PT and they asked me where I lived from her. When I explained, two of them said in unison, "You live next to the drug dealers?" I immediately started defending my neighbors, who are salt of the earth people who would give you the shirt off their backs, but they were having none of it. They were laughing at my defense, which left me fuming. I was so upset that I had to call Carolyn to vent when I got home. Grrr....

Lorri stopped by later to give me a thank you gift for watering her seedlings while she was away. The plants she'll invariably give me would be thanks enough mind you. Anyway, I vented some more to her and she suggested I call the ACLU. We ended up talking for a long time so it became another long night. At least I was at home and the week was half over. I threw in a load of laundry and went to bed.

It felt like I did nothing but laundry for days. I hung a load out before work on Thursday and while it was dry when I got home, there was bird poop on the bedspread. I also went into the spare room to find that one of the cats (Tot most likely) had peed on the mattress pad on the spare bed, probably because it smelled like Drew. So now I had to wash that too and the new blanket I'd found while thrifting. It took 4 loads of laundry just to get everything washed and the bed remade. Luckily it was good drying weather and the only thing that got bird poop on it in the 2nd round of drying could wait to be rewashed.

Friday was a long day with me prepping training materials for our new analyst who was starting Monday but I left at 4:00 for PT and the weed was done. And other than a haircut at 8:15 on Saturday, I had the whole weekend free. Yee ha! 

I spent a lovely weekend at home getting chores done, knitting some fun new socks and cooking. And when I got the spare bed made up with the freshly laundered linens, I promptly loaded it back up with all the totes and bags of yarn. As part of this, I went through a big tote of clothes, culling some for donation, leaving some to try on later and putting a few in my closet. I also swapped out a few sweaters from my main closet so I'd have room for a few short sleeved shirts to get me through until after Canada when I could worry about pulling out the capris and summer tops. And in amongst all this productivity, I managed to stream season 3 of Shetland so thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Add the progress at PT that was giving me more mobility with my shoulder and it was all good. Now to get ready for Canada.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Week 15 - Better Every Day

It was a good week with lots of progress on my shoulder and a visit from my nephew on the weekend.

First with the shoulder milestones. Here’s the list:

  • I was officially brace free on Wednesday. Now I hadn’t been wearing it much during the day but was still sleeping in it so having it completely gone was huge.
  • Other than a brief stint on Tuesday morning, when I went to my recliner out of desperation because I could not find a comfortable position for my last 2 hours of sleep before the alarm, I am sleeping in my bed. Having success for 5 nights in a row means the recliner really is retired. Yay!
  • I’m back to work full time. I do have 3 shorter days because of PT but since I’m only missing an hour of work on those days and will be doing so for months, I’m counting it as full time. With the brace off, I’m actually more comfortable at my desk because it’s a controlled environment. I have a thin pillow under my arm and a folded towel that keeps my arm at the exact right position, all of which means I’m fully functional and typing with 2 hands without a problem.
  • PT is progressing, with new things added on Wednesday that have me moving my arm more and more, albeit with pulleys doing the moving instead of my own muscles. Still, it’s progress.
  • Small victories to add to the list – I can now grab my seatbelt with my left hand to latch (from below instead of above my shoulder but it works) and if the door isn’t opened all the way, I can close it with my left hand. I was also able to put the toilet paper back on the holder because I can pull it with my left hand now. It’s the little things.

My nephew Drew had called to ask if he could come for Easter this year, which he’d once before. I said yes at the time with the warning that I wouldn’t be up for much activity. I considered cancelling but decided against it. His only request was home cooking, which I could handle. I’d also warned him that he would have to move some furniture before he could sleep in the spare room because the chair the recliner replaced is in that room and the bed is covered with yarn totes that are too large for me to move with my bum shoulder. He didn’t seem phased by any of it so his trip was on.

He was due to arrive Friday evening so I made a big pot of sausage and potato soup late Thursday so he could have some whenever he arrived and bought a loaf of my favorite asiago cheese bread from HyVee to go with it. First meal done and he seemed to enjoy it when he arrived ~8:00 on Friday night. Now Drew is a night owl so was up way past my bedtime and then slept until noon on Saturday. That gave me some quiet time and when he got up, I had 2 pies ready to go in the oven. We made plans to meet Helen and Charlie for an early dinner at Farmer Brown’s, which meant we didn’t have time to do much that afternoon so just watched a movie. Helen was running late and Charlie opted out so he dropped Helen at my house and we got the last table in the first seating, enjoying yummy prime rib all around. We dropped Helen at Wal-Mart, where Charlie would pick her up on the way to his niece’s for Easter egg dyeing and we headed home for more Netflix. It was a low key day but worked for me. I headed for bed at my regular time, leaving Drew up watching TV into the wee hours again.

We had a plan to go to Freedom Park in Omaha on Sunday and then antiquing before heading back for a nice Easter dinner, featuring the ham Drew had brought from the butcher shop he works at for one of his 4 jobs. I should mention here that Drew had asked if I wanted any meat from the butcher and I’d checked their website, expressing interest in 2 of the funky brats they sell. Well, Drew arrives with a huge cooler FULL OF MEAT! I’m guessing on quantities here but in addition to the ham, I’d say there were 8 six packs of brats (all kinds), 8 more white wrapped packages of various meats (I have yet to check them all out) and as many packages of sliced meats, including 3 types of head cheese! I put what was still frozen immediately into the downstairs freezer and found room in the already full refrigerator for everything else. I have enough meat to last months. Literally.

Back to Sunday…. I was making a nice breakfast of bacon (from Drew’s haul), pancakes and eggs when Drew got up on his own just before noon. After a nice breakfast, I had to convince Drew of the need to get off the couch if we had any hopes of getting back in time for me to cook dinner. We drove all the way through Omaha to the Missouri river only to find the entrance to the park blocked off. Grrrr… We headed to The Brass Armadillo antique mall on I-80 and browsed (separately) for a couple of hours. Drew found nothing and I got a Blue Q bag (not antique but I love their products) to use for knitting and a 25 cent postcard. Way to kill an afternoon when nothing else is open.

When we got home, I made ham (just a chunk of the enormous, double smoked, boneless ham Drew brought), asparagus, the best mashed potatoes ever and Cracker Barrel biscuits for dinner. Streusel topped strawberry/rhubarb pie was dessert. Yum! I took control of the remote for an evening of PBS and got no grumbling from Drew. Having to be up at 6:00 for work on Monday, I went to bed at 10:00 but struggled to fall asleep and then woke up repeatedly.

While I love my nephew, between the sleep differences and his male obliviousness to cleanliness, I would be happy to have my house back. He was leaving on Monday and while he vowed that he would be awake when I got back from PT to change before work, I had my doubts. Regardless, it was a nice weekend visit and with my shoulder getting better with every passing day, I’d call it a good week. I hope you all had a happy Easter.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Week 14 - Back to Work

The alarm was a rude awakening on Monday morning but I jumped right into the shower, got dressed, made a lunch, ate a quick breakfast and was out the door in record time. This wasn't my normal morning routine but I was afraid if I sat down, I wouldn't get up. I was at work on time, a rarity to be sure, but was disappointed that I was the first one in so no one was there to witness me being there at 8:00. 

It felt good to be back and I got busy immediately with my quarterly reports. It was good that I had those to focus on because I could do them on auto pilot. My head was a foggy mess! I had hoped to make it until 3:00 because I had PT scheduled for 4:00 but only made it until 1:30. I called to see if I could go to PT early and they said I could so I headed straight there and got it over with. After a nice cup of tea and dinner, I was good to go to knitting. Tuesday was another day.

Despite having trouble falling asleep, I woke up at 4:18 and couldn't fall back asleep so got up and knitted until it was time to head to work. I felt remarkably normal and was fully functional mentally at work. I powered through more reports and made it until 3:00, which was progress. Wednesday was also a good day but I did more typing with my left hand and was in pain when I left at 2:00 for PT. I went early again but it worked. Thursday wasn't so good. I hadn't slept well the night before and had done too much typing with my brace off so was in pain again. I was also cranky as all get out so left shortly after noon. I ran a few errands then went home to put my arm up on my pillow and relax, which felt great. By Friday the pain was less, most likely because I brought a pillow for under my arm and tried not to use my left hand when typing. Regardless, I had only been able to get an early PT appointment so left at 2:00, which was only an hour after I'd gotten back from lunch with Layton. Still, not bad for my first week back. I'd gotten my quarterly reports done and worked more than half-time. All good.

I talked turkey with the PT on Friday and only then did it hit me how little I would be able to do. I knew that they'd always said it would take 4 months of PT to get back full mobility but when I asked him where I'd be in a month when I'm in Canada, his response was that maybe I'd be able to lift my arm 2". Two inches! That's when it hit home that I really would be useless for a long time, which meant there'd be no gardening anytime soon. Damn!

Friday night was a surprise birthday party for Erica at the library and I was in charge of ice and the pink lemonade. She was totally surprised and it was fun but quick because I'd made plans to meet Andrea at the Vets' Club for their fish fry at 6:05. Heidi and Donna came too so I had my first ever lenten fish fry with a big mug of beer for dinner. It was a nice end to the work week and I had no plans for the weekend. Perfect!

My only commitment for the weekend was to go out each day to water Lorri's seedlings. This was a good thing because it meant I had to get dressed and out of the house so couldn't just sit and knit all weekend. Between laundry, dishes and general neatizing that was plenty after my first week back at work. 

The weather was finally cooperating with no rain and warm (too warm actually in the low 80's) so when Erica's kids couldn't come over to do yard work, I called Heidi to see if her boys were available. John, her 8th grader, was so I picked him up Sunday afternoon and got him going. He was excruciatingly slow and took almost 2 hours to rake my front yard, which is only about 15x30 feet. It was super frustrating watching him, knowing Erica's son would have had it done in half an hour. After 3 hours I took him home and called Erica to tell her to call when they got back from their vacation. The rest of the work would to wait for Wyatt and Macy. Gladly.

So I made it through my first week back and have scheduled PT for later in the day for the next week. Other than the days I leave early for PT, I'm hoping to at least get back to full-time at work. The shoulder is clearly going to be a long haul to get back to any semblance of normal but I'll keep working at it and do what I can. And I slept 100% in my bed both Friday and Saturday night with no ill effects so I pulled the sheet and pillows off the recliner and am done with that. Progress! It's the little things. : )

Week 13 - My Last Week

Where did the month go? It was my last week at home and while I was feeling better with every passing day, I had gotten absolutely nothing productive done all month. Now I know, I was recuperating but I still thought I'd get something done. Anything! But no. Keeping myself clean and fed was all I got done and now here I was with only a week left. Oh well.

It was another gloomy week and it started out slow with me staying inside starting another pair of socks and having tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch. I went out for Monday night knitting, which is always a bright spot in my week but especially this month when I've spent so much time alone at home. On Tuesday Nancy stopped by and I did it up with strawberries and cream, cookies and tea. I needed those two quiet days because I had two busy ones coming up.

I had my 4 week follow up appointment with the surgeon on Wednesday morning and had hoped I could lose the brace and start taking my anti-inflammatory again but both those hopes were dashed. I had to wear the brace for 2 more weeks but at least he took the pillow off, which was attached around my waist so it'd be much more comfortable without it. As for the drugs, I'd have to wait until May 10th, which is the date of my next, and hopefully last, appointment with the doctor. It was also time to start PT, which I scheduled for the parking garage for later that day. I then went to lunch at Green Gateau with Dodie (yummy and fun) then went to work for an hour. I had just enough time to run the quarterly EHS transfer so was actually productive. Yay! I took 2 tylenol and headed to PT.

It wasn't bad. They started me out with heat and some hand exercises (not that my hand had been idle at all with all the socks I knitted) then some dangling exercises before the therapist stretched my arm into positions it hadn't been in in a month. If it hurt, he backed off so it wasn't bad at all and any soreness was nixed by 15 minutes of game ready icing and I was out the door. It was a long day so I was happy to be home. 

I had a dentist appointment first thing on Thursday then headed to Omaha with Lorri for lunch at Panera, where I thoroughly enjoyed a crisp salad and got a free cookie for my birthday. Then we went to the movie Lion, which was a tear jerker and worth seeing. We ran a couple of errands and got Starbuck's for the ride home. I was finally beginning to feel normal, probably because I was doing normal things. That said, I was happy to be home relaxing and with nothing else planned for the rest of the week.

I had skyped with Eileen a couple of times making plans for going to Sue's knitting retreat in early May. I was hesitant to ask Nora for the two days I'd need off but Anne, who was going too, egged me on so I called Nora and she approved it. We'd be making a quick trip of it - flying to Toronto Thursday morning, where we'd meet up with Cindy and her friend to rent a car and drive to Port Elgin for the start of the retreat Thursday night. We'd leave right after breakfast on Sunday to drive back to Toronto and fly home Sunday evening. Quick but that's the only way I could justify going and it'd be fun. No hanging at Eileen's but maybe next year. Anyway, I dinked around online and found us dirt cheap tickets and car. Maybe I should count that as an accomplishment.

While I was talking to Eileen, she mentioned that she'd spent time watching knitting podcasts while she was recuperating from her knee surgery. That brought to mind the Knotty Knit Wits - a podcast I'd heard about from one of the hosts who sent me yarn from Ravelry. At the time, I couldn't fathom watching 2 women I didn't know talk about knitting for 2 hours at a pop. Well, after a month at home facing gloomy weather and a gimpy arm, it was perfect. I spent the next three days watching episode after episode and knitting  up a storm. 

On Sunday I finally started getting ready for work. I cleaned my thermos and got my book bag ready to go, put the coffee pot on autobrew and set my alarm. Yikes! That was going to be a rude awakening, especially from my recliner. I would only be starting back part-time but I was ready to do more than sit at home and knit. I'd made 3 pairs of socks and worked on several other projects but it was time to get back to reality and I was looking forward to work.

I was also SO grateful for all the help I got from my friends. They dropped food, helped me with dishes and folding laundry, neither of which I could do in my sling, drove me around and kept my spirits up. My sister called almost every day too and there were daily Chronicles of Rosie postings from my cubie mates. If this month taught me anything, it's that I'm loved and have a wonderful support system. I am truly lucky and life is good! Now to get on with the PT and getting my mobility back.