Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31, 2010

Off kilter woman
Building off kilter quilt blocks
Colors glorious

This came to me as I am sitting building very funky log cabin blocks. Not worrying about whether anything is straight. When I get close to 9" x 9" I am adding whatever I need to in order to get to 9x9 and then I square the block off. Figure I will make 30 blocks, add some great fabric borders, and then worrying about turning this beautiful piece of off kilter patchwork into a quilt. My plan is to get one or two blocks done a day before I go back into rehab. So, maybe all thirty will be done by then. Must get the long arm machine up and working again. Moved it from downstairs to upstairs when son and family moved out, but it is not assembled. And I can't get upstairs yet anyway.But this is the answer to turning tops into quilts, and I have a lot of tops awaiting that kind of attention.

Editorial in Saturday's Pittsburgh Post Gazette by David Brooks titled "Out of Control". Brooks focused on the oil spill and talked about the challenges of big systems - and the risks inherent in them. He asked how we build a cadre of people who can ask questions about the risks inherent in these big systems, how we "improve the choice architecture". This certainly applies to the work that we have been doing in large scale computer systems too - and all other major systems where the number of components become just about unmanageable. Interesting editorial. Huge challenge for our world.

I an heading to the prosthetist tomorrow. First step toward building the new bionic leg. I really am just two weeks from trying it out. This will make me just a bit less off kilter. Although I don't ever want to become completely on kilter in my thinking. (Nice thing about the bionic leg is it is a contained system - a minimum number of parts - can be totally understood and managed).

Today is Memorial Day. I give thanks to all those who have served our country in war and in peace. And my prayers go to the families of those who have lost their lives, but even more to the warriors who have come home less than whole in their bodies and/or their souls.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

It's 5pm - and I returned from a great outing about 45 minutes ago. My friend, Johanna, took me on a trip to Quilt Company in Hartwood Acres and then we went out for lunch (pizza). Johanna and I are both a bit rash when it comes to buying fabric. If we see it and we love , we mostly buy it. It's much easier for me to spend money on fabric than on anything else. So, I have a new beautiful pile of stuff as an addition to my stash, and that I will use initially to continue to build a quilt inspired by the quilt book, Liberated Quilts by Gwen Marston. ( A get-well gift from friends based in Boston). I'll make 30 liberated blocks and go from there.

I said on Tuesday that I would report on progress on this amputation, having seen the doctor, or rather his PA, Chad, the prosthetist, Dave, and a nurse practitioner in training whose name I don't remember. Chad said the orthopedist was done with me - that I was discharged to rehab folks. The nurse took out the 33 staples in Daisy and Dave came in with the "shrinker" and worked with me from there. The shrinker is like a tight orthopedic stocking made to fit the residual limb. Shrinkers come in different sizes, and it is expected that I will eventually down size. In the meantime I wear this 23.5 hours a day. The other .5 is for bathing. And the shrinker is the step preceding being fitted for the prosthesis. So, I have a date with Bobby, another prosthetist, next Tuesday.
Bobby will cast Daisy for building the top of the prosthesis. A week later, I go back for fitting Daisy with the top of the prosthesis, and taking measurements and making decisions about the rest of the prosthesis. And another week later, the prosthesis (yet unnamed) will be ready and I will check myself back into rehab for a week of gait training as well as continued tinkering with the prosthesis. I figure I will be discharged from all of this somewhere between Friday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 23.
Don't know if I will be driving by then, or whether that is a separate mastery process - but I can sort of take this stuff one day at a time.

Pain continues to be a challenge with neurotin remaining the drug of choice. Orthopedist and friends are rather indifferent to this. It doesn't seem to be their problem at all. So I probably need to get closer to my primary care physician on this so we can build a plan together. There are a couple of pain clinics in town with acupuncturists on staff. I am going to try to wait until I am independently mobile to make some dates with these folks. And perhaps by then, I won't have to.

Oil spill surely sucks
Earth and sea forever sick
Young are left to cope

I really enjoy the haiku that are coming back to me. At some time, I will get all haiku together, yours and mine and the haiku that has come by e-mail and even in 'get healthy' cards and put it in one place. It would be fun to see it all sequentially.

And one last note of great interest. Four year old next door, Aidan, and his sister came for a brief visit carrying good food. Aidan wanted to know how I put my pants on.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

It's a little after 6pm on Tuesday. This is a quick entry as I am heading to a preview of The Karate Kid with two grandchildren and their father (my son-in-law). Wanted to note that I wdnt to orthopedist today and that office discharged me. They took out the 33 staples and said I am ready to be turned over to the rehab team for all the prosthesis stuff. So, I have a shrinker and a date next Tuesday for casting of Daisy. Dates are here. Gotta go.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

Had a really busy weekend. My dear friend, Beth, from Rochester, NY came to spend a couple of days with me. She arrived on Friday and left yesterday. Beth is a gardener, par exellance, so we spent time in my garden (or at least she did0, she started by pulling weekds. Then on a trip to Whole Foods and Giant Eagle MarketPlace for some food goodies, we also bought plants. And Beth has planted new stuff in my back yard. I will have more basil than I know what to do with come the end of August - all different kinds. It was really good to have her here with me.

Also had a day of good church stuff yesterday; the music at the service was glorious. We had a guest saxaphonist (name gone from my head and my papers), apparently of world reknown, who accompanied our pretty wonderful pianist in a couple of duets, and played with the choir and the congreataion singing. Wow!! Took Beth with me to church and then to lunch with daughter and friends. Then drove by to see James' house.

More stuff went on during day, but as I was getting ready for bed last night, this came to me:

Why do we wear bras?
They are not comfortable
Can we do without?

So today, I do without. (More than you ever wanted to know).

Tomorrow is doctor's appointment day. I am not too sanguine about this. If all is well, the 33 staples will come out and that won't be fun. Perhaps if they are out, some of the phantom pain will recede. I am on the largest dose of neurotin and it is still banging at me. I am also worried about where I think the big calf muscle should be attached to the front of the tibia. Feels okay, but looks strange. Then again, why should I know what this should look like as it is new for me. I'll report after visit tomorrow.

I have two dogs living with me this week. My dog, Rags and Julie's dog, Moose are here. Julie and family went to Ann Arbor last Thursday for Liam's pentathalon, and when they came home I said that I didn't want to give dogs back. I like their company. So, we will share them for the next two months until Julie et al go to Capetown, and then they will be with me for a year. Have to do something with gate in yard as Moose can open gate and then they go wandering. They did this Saturday while Beth and I were doing our Whole Foods run. Big thunderstorm, makes Moose very unhappy, and his solution was to open gate so they both could take off. (I have a doggy door so they can get in and out of the house - it's not that I left them out in the rain). Blessings on neighbors, Linda and Bob, Jay and John for doing dog rescue in the rain - twice. And I'll get a new latch on the gate this week.

Will report more after visit to doc tomorrow.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010

A quick note about phantom pain and the ghost foot. The pain was getting worse an d lasting longer. I really didn't want to spend the day in bed on pain pills and I hate to be a wimp about pain, but I decided it was time to do something. I had been trying to wait until this coming Tuesday when I see the orthopod again. Decided waiting was too valorous - that it was time to make a call. So, I called the orthopod's office.

Orthopod's fellow called back and said that I did not want to wait to manage phantom pain. He asked if I had nerve pain prior to the surgery, and I said "yup - that I thought I was stretching the nerves unmercifully as the foot was moving off the leg - and that was the cause". He agreed that I was probably right, and said that phantom pain was usually worse if there was nerve pain prior to the surgery. He also said that you don't want to wait to treat it - as you want to interrupt the nerve energy before the neural patterns set in and then become very hard to interrupt. The surgeon's proposed solution was to increase dosage of neurotin - if my pcp agreed.

So, being a good citizen this week, I called the pcp's office (primary care physician - the new buzz word for "your regular doc", and got agreement to increase the neurotin. I am moving from 1800 mg a day to 2700 a day for now. I understand that you can go to 3600 mg with minimum risk. The primary side effect is drowsiness, and I seem to be doing okay on the 2700. The pain has not gone away, but it is feels less destructive to the ghost foot. Maybe a couple of days at this level will decrease it even more. I'll see.

I talked to a friend who's stepmom had an amputation and she reported that her stepmom had phantom pain for somewhere between 8-12 weeks. So, for her, it went away I am hoping that I follow the same model.

And beyond the pain, my friend, Beth, has arrived from Rochester NY. It is good to have her here. I had hoped we could go to Phipps Conservatory and look at the gardens - but it is raining right now - not the best time to roll around in a garden. So, instead, we are gonna watch a movie on my great big TV (all of a sudden, I like watching TV- this big screen is grand), and eat chocolates. A box of chocolates from one of the best chocolatiers in this country - Candinas in Madison WI, arrived the day before yesterday. Sent by two of my dear Madison quilting friends. The advisory on the box is "eat within ten days". I shared a bit with daughter and family this morning, but Beth and I will enjoy most of the rest while we watch a movie on TV.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

I voted yesterday - in Pennsylvania - so I participated in this important electoral process. Son came and collected me around 9 am - we used my car (first time in it - and it was very easy to get in and out of) took car to service station to put air in tires - for some reason they were very low, and then went to fire station at local borough hall to vote. While there was an access ramp, the folks inside rolled up the doors that the fire trucks roll out of so that I had most easy access. And after doing my civic duty, I took son for breakfast. Our first stop was a place right in my neighborhood which turned out to be not accessible. So, we went to my favorite large diner, Drew's, very accessible and a breakfast menu that goes on and on. Worked for James and for me.

Today I finally got back to the quilting stuff. I had received a new quilting book from my MOR Associates friends that provided inspiration to work with little pieces of fabric in a less than structured way. I am finding that I can do that - ironing board set at sitting height - cutting doesn't need to be precise, and I have used my left foot for the sewing machine pedal since 1988. I have twelve blocks started. I will keep building these blocks and see what happens.

Daughter, Julie, is leaving with her two children for Ann Arbor in the morning where grandson, Liam, will compete in the Waldorf School fifth grade regional pentathalon with his class. Waldorf Schools fifth grade curriculum focuses on ancient Greece and fifth grade classes do this each year. Julie has been fostering my dog, Rags, since son, James, and family moved in with me more than a year ago. It didn't make any sense to send Rags home when I was heading to the hospital, but Rags came home today with Moose, Julie's dog, and they will both spend a couple of days here. I have a doggie door that they use, so I figure we will all be fine together. Moose is a combination of a German shorthaired pointer and another German hunting dog - name of which is not in my head at the moment. He is six years old and hyper. Rags is a four year old cock-a-poo and is a thief - he puts his nose into all sorts of places and takes stuff from wherever he has stuck that nose of his. It will be a bit more active in the house than it has been since I have come home.

Both of these dogs will be with me starting sometime in July for at least a year while Julie and kids join Kevin in Capetown for the year. I am hoping that I will be able to walk them in the park - maybe not the beginning of July, but by the end of August. One of my clear objectives has been to be able to take Rags for walks in Frick park. May need some help to walk the both of them for a few months - but I am going to work on meeting this objective.

New leg coming soon
Gait training for park walking
With dogs in the fall

(or should last line be
With dogs with no falls)

Chocolate has been arriving in my house. Yesterday it was handmade chocolates from the Pittsburgh Strip District. Today a neighbor brought a box of Belgium chocolates. Then in the mail, a box of chocolates from Candinas chocolates in Madison arrived. I am rationing all of these delights. And today one of those great fruit boxes also arrived - mostly pears, but other beautiful stuff. Had a pear with some chocolate just a little while ago. Believe that will be my supper. And thanks to all the givers of these great gifts.

Daisy continues to shrink. I see doc next Tuesday and will know a lot more about time frame for next set of activities after that visit (I hope). Phantom pain is moving a bit closer to bottom of residual limb. It's like the ghost foot is a bit closer to Daisy. But its still there. While I am not a fan of pain medicine, I am trying to get a prescription refill as this stuff does provide some relief.

Now, I am going to watch The Blind Side, that is the first of the netflix movies in my new subscription. That netflix subscription is a gift too. I am really being well cared for. And I have seen enough of Rand Paul on TV for today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16, 2010

Distressed foot is gone
But it's ghost is haunting me
Begone ghost! Begone!

And other than that, I am doing amazingly well. I'm quite competent in this wheelchair. Tool around the house easily, and out into the yard. Feeling stronger and more secure with walker. Took chair to front door (pushing walker in front of chair), then moved from chair to walker so I could get out on front porch. Sat in rocker on porch and looked at my beautiful front garden for a while. Azaleas and rhodies are still in bloom. Other plants are looking happy. Chives look quite strong. In back yard, peonies are about to bloom.

And besides enjoying my garden, I am enjoying the company that is coming by. Quilting friends, friends from church (First Unitarian), and long time friends keep coming by with food and flowers and good conversation. And a subscription to Netflix. Thank you all!!

This morning daughter took me to church and a quick stop at Qdoba with two grandchildren for lunch. Yesterday, daughter Julie and I took all grandchildren (five of them) to see Robin Hood. Expected to see merry men. It was not a very merry movie - lots of villages being burned, men being beheaded and horses suffering horrible injuries. Probably should have gone to Iron Man Two instead.

Today, since church, I am hanging around keeping leg elevated and seeing if that does anything to minimize pain. Doesn't seem to. So, I might as well keep tooling around. I am back to doc in about ten days - and at that time, if pain is still a problem, I will do some more thinking about alternative treatment. (Current treatment is an occasional pain pill - the occasion being bedtime so the pain doesn't keep me awake). And there is no pain in Daisy - all pain is in the bottom of the ghost foot.

Took my weekly shower today and getting up and down stairs on butt was much easier than last week. I am assuming that means two things - I am smarter about it and stronger about it. And while upstairs, I used walker to check out rest of upstairs, get some other clothes from closet, made a list in my head about work to be done upstairs. Hate to bother son and daughter as both are about to their a--es in alligators with huge life changing stuff in front of them and much to do to be ready. And they do give me their time and their love. Maybe I need to let some of the "to-do" stuff on that list go - and just try to get the minimum done until I am mobile, ready to organize my stuff, and maybe even wield a paint brush.

Daisy is shrinking. And wound looks like it is healing very well - even with its 33 staples. Hopefully that means Daisy will be unstapled and ready for a shrinker (instead of the ace bandages I wrap her with daily) once I see the doc in ten days. And maybe I'll get some news about when we can begin fitting the prosthesis.

Ghost, begone, begone!
Get out of my life right now
I've got things to do.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12, 2020, Wednesday

I do remember this from the last big ankle surgery. Once the body recovers from the assault of surgery, it feels to me as if it is time to do things and go places. And that's what is happening now. I want to go to the nursery and buy plants and dig in the garden. I want to go to the quilt store and putter around and come home with more fabric that I don't need. The list goes on. Maybe a trip to Whole Foods or Costco is in there someplace. Now, this is not the most reasonable way to be feeling, because if I do any of those things - in the wheelchair with someone helping, I would be exhausted within a short time. This simply has to wait. I suspect that in a couple of weeks such ventures will be more reasonable in the wheelchair.

It's hard for me to remember that I am less than three weeks post-op because most body parts are working really well. Only pain is that damn phantom stuff. I think I need to name the gone part of the leg - something that goes with being there but not there, so that when I talk to it I have something to call it. At the moment the phantom pain is a burning in the middle of the phantom foot. There certainly is less of this pain than there was, even a few days ago and it is less debilitating. But it isn't gone!!

Physical therapist was here yesterday and he had me hopping around using the walker.

Break for a visitor - my friend Johanna, then grandson on way home from school, then son to bring ghee to grandson. So, its a couple of hours later. And I gave son money to buy me chocolate. Nothing sweet left in house. (He did bring me two donuts for breakfast - and that was a real treat).

I believe that the hopping using walker is part of getting ready to walk with prosthesis. It is hard work. Certainly builds even more upper body strength. It's much easier to lie on bed and do leg lifts and such.

Johanna brought in two days worth of mail - lots of junk mail but lots of cards with good wishes. Probably time for a bit of a rest and a review of the mail. I think there are more cards than bills and that's good news.

Tomorrow is a busy day - a bit of work (by phone) - physical therapist coming back - and someone coming to my house to deal with pantry moths. I am so tired of trying to get rid of these pests, and now, I have an excuse to get help to do it. Maybe Friday I will try cutting out that quilt.

And mentioning help - the home health care nurse discharged me - said that I didn't need to see her. I discharged the home health aid that I had hired - told her I didn't need her help. So, I am a pretty darn independent new wheel chair user. I like that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010

It's Monday afternoon. I find myself not as eager to make blog entries as I was a few days ago. I think this is because nothing dramatic is going on in my life at this time. I'm simply into the "waiting is" mode. I am able to roll around the house and do most of what I need to do: answer the door, get a bit of food for myself, put a couple of dishes in the dishwasher, wash my face.

This morning I sat at the dining room table and sorted bills and medical statements and other papers and put most in right files in my portable file boxes. A friend came and brought me lunch. The physical therapist will be here late afternoon, a visiting nurse should be here sometime today, and another friend is coming and delivering lasagna for supper.

But, no big ah-ha's, no substantial new insights, simply learning how to manage life on one level of my house from a wheelchair. I want to get at some of the stuff upstairs, I want to take stuff out to the garage, I want to walk around my garden, pull a few weeds, decide what to move where. All that waits - lives with the "waiting is" too.

I'm going to try to do a brief post every couple of days until life gets more interesting again - like when I am being fitted for the prosthesis. Then interesting stuff is likely to be happening again.

Nothing much happens
My chair rolls back and forth and
Back again. I sit

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8, 2010

I was ready to start blogging this morning when son arrived, man with additional bedside commode arrived, then daughter arrived. Commode man left first. Son left next taking prescriptions to pharmacy, and daughter hung in to help me take a shower. The two things i really can't do alone are empty the bedside commode and get upstairs and into the shower. Commode emptying is simply a carrying, dumping and rinsing process, but imagine spilling that all over yourself and wheelchair. I'm clumsy to start with, so I am reserving that task for hired help or my son and daughter. I have hired help in morning for another seven days, then I need to schedule son and daughter. (Bless them!!) Additional bedside commode however means that once I am ready to get up and moving in the morning, I can simply use the downstairs bathroom with a commode with side rails already on the toilet. Don't have to move the one from beside the becd to the toilet to begin living my day.

The shower is a different kind of challenge. This is an old two story house. Bathroom with shower is on second floor. (Downstairs has what is euphemistically known as a half bath). So, with one leg, how do you get to the second floor. Well, I had that experience a bit more than a year ago with the last surgery, so it was time to bounce myself up the stairs again on my butt. A little different with less than a full appendage than with the leg in a cast. The real challenge though was the shoe on the left foot slipping on the steps. When I got to the top and checked the shoe I have been wearing I realized that it has a pretty darn flat bottom. I bought new New Balance running shoes before the surgery - was saving them until I got the prosthetic, but we took them out of the closet and decided that was what I needed to wear to gain traction on the stairs and simply on the floors. Shower, of course, felt wonderful. Much more effective than a sponge bath in a bucket near the kitchen sink. And bumping down stairs was so much easier than bumping up. For a start, I don't have to lift my weight up each of those steps with my arms. For a second, I had more traction with the new shoe. Just like in the olden days, full bath scheduled for once a week for the duration. After that will be able to walk up and down the stairs and will address the new challenge - still only have one leg in shower. What are the logisitcs around the shower, the prosthesis, etc. Will figure that out later.

Been on two outings since I've been home. This is the end of school year, so saw 7th and 8th graders at Sacred Heart Elementary School do Fiddler on the Roof on Thursday evening. Grandaughter, Ali, had role of Golde in Fiddler and did a just fine job. on Friday, saw 5th graders at Waldorf School do a rendition of the ancient Greek story of Persphone and Hades and Demeter. Grandson Liam had role of Hermes and he made a fine messenger between the gods. Then the 5th graders served a Greek dinner they prepared.

Friend of daughter's, Andrew, asked if I was observing folks working at not looking at my amputated leg. Answer is yes. At first I thought that I would want to hide it, but that ain't so. I figure folks can look or try not to look. In either instance, it is a learning for them and I am not bothered by this. Daisy, by the way, goes out well wrapped. Ace bandages surround the bottom of Daisy, and then she is covered by whatever pants/slacks I am wearing. It's just that there is no lower leg and foot attached to Daisy - and that does have folks checking. Little kids are best because they just look. No big deal.

Granddaughter, Ali, swears she can feel the electrical impulses coming from the bottom of Daisy - those impulses that are looking for the rest of the leg. I think she is right because when she puts her hands below the limb, I can feel the impulses being interrupted. Weird, huh?

Challenges of being at home revolve around being housebound and in a wheelchair. Whole kitchen experience would be easier if counters and stove were six inches lower and island was a foot further from the counter. I find myself going around the island extra times to be in the right position in the chair to do whatever it is I'm gonna do: get something from refrigerator, put a pot on the stove, put something in the dishwasher, rinse out something, etc. And if I were building a house for someone permanently wheelchair bound, the bathroom would certainly be different.

Son just returned with drugs. We are going to do some research to see what he has to do to get his two year RN degree. Hopefully, about a years worth of stuff.

Hate bumping up stairs
Showering is a grand gift
Bump down, no problem

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010 - at home

It's Thursday morning. I left rehab on Tuesday morning, went right to an appointment at orthopod's office, went out to lunch with son and daughter, and came home. For lunch we went to Tessaro's, a place I have been wanting to check out since I moved to Pittsburgh. Had heard that Tessaro's was the home of the best hamburgers in the Burgh. Son and daughter had hamburgers. They looked pretty darn good. I went for a steak sandwich with bleu cheese. It was lush, and satisfied my food needs for the rest of the day.

First I'll report on orthopod visit, then on being at home.

Orthopod was not at all gung-ho about my going to rehab. His preference was that I went home and went to bed for six weeks with leg elevated. I couldn't imagine going home without a leg two days after surgery, so made arrangements for rehab on my own. Turns out there is a real philosophical difference between orthopedist and rehab folks. Orthopedist wants leg elevated and still. Rehab wants you to work. Ortho is concerned that wound area will not heal well, that entire area could open, etc., etc. Rehab is concerned that you are strong and ready to take care of yourself and ready for prosthesis. I tried to get ortho folks and rehab folks talking to each other to evolve a treatment plan that would satisfy both and me. Not sure that I ever succeeded. And because I was with the rehab folks, I went with their plan.

So,, while I am healthy and the wound area is healing well, ortho would have been happier if I had been home in bed since the surgery and continuing on.

As a side note, I remember the same kind of disconnect when I did the ankle implant. Should I be strengthening the area or should I be sitting still waiting for healing? Again I went with PT folks. That's the failed surgery, but I don't think it is because I did six weeks of PT.

Back to the ortho visit. I learned that my entire plan for walking again is off by two to three weeks. I heard that the whole thing was a six weeks process. My assumption was that I would be dancing at the end of six weeks. Well, I got that one wrong. I will be ready to be fitted for a prosthesis at the end of six weeks. I think this means I am fitted for prosthesis sometime the beginning of June and then get it about ten days after that. So that would be back to rehab maybe June 14.

And then there is the decision about inpatient vs outpatient rehab - and I don't have to figure that out today. I think I will figure out a lot more after my next orthopod appointment on May 25.

So, because I am always in a hurry to get to the next place, I am angsting a bit about this, but it's back to that expression that I love, "It is what it is". And that's clearly the first line of the next haiku.

About being at home. My bed is downstairs in the family room. I bought a 40 inch TV before I had the surgery, and that is set up at the foot of the bed. The whole downstairs of the house and the deck in the yard is easily wheelchair accessible. I have my leather wheelchair "rocker" gloves and I am good to go with all of this stuff. I have hired help for two hours M-F to get me started for the day (I need about 30 minutes of help, but that's harder to arrange unless I want to call on friends and neighbors

Son James took me for a walk around the perimeter of my property yesterday to check out the garden. Blooms abound. The azalea are glorious right now as are some of the rhodadendrum. Hydrangea will follow. I've become a real fan of flowering shrubs, especially if you can organize to have shrubs with blooms for different seasons. Checking out my garden does make me itch for a trip to the grand nursery out by Fox Chapel where, or course, I would buy too much plant material. This year, I think the rest of my planting needs to be postponed until the fall. The yard needs shrub material and fall is a good time to plant.

Otherwise, not sure how I spent the day. Did watch some TV on this 42 inch screen - Rachel Ray and the View. All grandkids but one have checked me out, and that one is starring in her school play this week. Matter of fact, I will be taken on an outing this evening, where we have already made arrangements for the wheelchair lift to be available so I can see Ali do her stuff in Fiddler on the Roof where she is playing the mother.

Home Health Care Nurse came by yesterday. Physical Therapist comes by this afternoon. Is it time to start a quilting project? Only so many hours a day I can lie around and read or watch TV.

And about pain - I do believe the phantom pain is diminishing. I realized, as I was about to write about it, that I spent less time talking to my leg yesterday than I had the day before. And the talk goes something like this - as I hold the bottom of Daisy - "Hey, this is the end right here. You can stop sending messages into the void. That's a real waste of energy. Better to send signals about healing to where my hands are". I'm not sure this does anything at all, but this is about retraining the brain, and I figure that talking to it can't hurt and might help.

It is what it is
Each day is twenty-four hours
Wait, tomorrow comes

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010, 6:45 am

It has been another morning with a beautiful sunrise. I have watched trees achieve definition through this wall of windows facing east. The sky has been pink through the trees. Now the sun is appearing as a very bright diamond orb through the trees. I will miss this morning view.

Yesterday was last day of all sorts of stuff at this place. OT had me ironing (test of balance). PT had me getting on and off the floor. I was gifted with a pair of wheel chair driving gloves, and I think they are hot. I am the only old lady in the place tooling down the hallway at top speed with my wheelchair driving gloves.

And I got a new wheelchair. It is mine to keep. Not a racing chair - darn - , but light weight, low arms that easily rotate to the back so you can go armless. I don't have it moving as quickly as the old chair I had been using and that is both good and bad.

Other thing I did yesterday was "desensitize" Daisy. That is about rubbing the end of the limb with rough towels - making it a bit less responsive to stimulus - part of getting it ready for prosthetic.

One of the docs, saying good by to me yesterday, said it was nice to have someone who was intellectual to talk with. Then he bit his tongue. But I'm with him. Easier to connect with professional staff than with other patients. Elitism running at its best.

This morning at 10 am I have appointment with bone doc. Will he remove the staples? I don't know. Folks here say the wound area looks good - no more leakage - nice scar line. I will report on that later.

Time to pack my stuff
Wash, dress, be ready to go
Return in three weeks

I'll know more about whether that's really three weeks or 2+ weeks or more in a couple of hours. So, more this evening.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3, 2010 , Monday

Last day in rehab. Last supper in cafeteria. Not bad, but a NY steak on BBQ sounds really good. That along with green beans that have not been overcooked. And maybe on Wednesday, sushi. There is an organization called Wheel Deliver in pittsburgh and I think I will check that out.

The paragraph above is all that is left of the May 3 blog. I had a lengthy blog yesterday (May 3) evening, and blogger died on me. I said, "ah, fooey" - or something like that. Those of you who know how much I like fur letter words could substitute for fooey. I shut the machine down and went about other stuff. So, I'll leave this May 3 entry at this and start May 4.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May 2, Sunday, 10 am

Fell asleep very early last night. Was trying to watch CNN, and I went lights out. And here are the 1 pm musings:

Seven pm bedtime
Can't possibly sleep all night
Wide awake reading

Derby in the mud
Prayers for horses and riders
Hallelujah, safe

Blister on thumb
Shall it become a callus
Check in with OT

Need the gloves that wheel chair drivers use - if I continue to use this as a race car, for even the next two weeks. I am a bit dangerous at blind intersections. I go pretty quickly in this chair and expect a clear path. Gotta learn to do this different.

Raining in Pittsburgh right now. I imagine the marathon runners are a bit soggy. I sit in the little library looking at the wonderful white azaleas. They certainly interrupt the gloom of the day. And, I'm going to see The Littlest Dragon with family this afternoon. That will also interrupt the gloom of the day.

Gentle rain, gray skies
A riot of happy waits
My garden vibrates

About Daisy, temporary name for residual limb. Object is to have a stovepipe shape from knee to end of Daisy before being fitted with prosthesis (will also name that I am sure). Daisy isn't that shape yet, more lite bulb shaped - gently light bulb shaped, but certainly not stove pipe. Being impatient, I am sure that Daisy is not responding quickly enough to the wrappings that she endures daily. Will know more when I see surgeon on Tuesday. My guess is that I will be told to be more patient, that Daisy is coming along just fine:

Daisy hurry up
I don't want to wait on you
I want my new leg

How many days post-op am I? Nine. What's that line? "Waiting is".

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010 - Saturday

Uneventful day except for a visitor bringing gifts and my own personal trip to the washer and dryer in the Occupational Therapy area. Otherwise my schedule included 30 minutes of PT and three meals. I skipped lunch in the cafeteria as my friend Carrie brought me a sandwich from Panera and burnt almond torte from Prantl's bakery. For any of you who have not yet had this Pittsburgh delicacy, when you visit, you must have a piece of Prantl's burnt almond torte.

Carrie also brought chocoloate (and more chocolate - and I have stopped worrying about running out before I leave) and a grand collection of books and magazines. Thank you Carrie, and thank you my dear SFW friends who contributed to this huge gift bag.

Carrie and I played two games of bananagrams. I am grateful for her company and for the intellectual stimulation. We even talked a bit about politics.

At this point, I have watched the Kentucky Derby and am ready to put my foot up in bed surrounded by all this new reading and viewing material. I am in the middle of a truly trash novel - and I may get back to that tonight after doing some other viewing.

Tomorrow is my big day out. Feels like a kid released from girl scout camp for a days outing. Off to lunch and to see "The Littlest Dragon". And Tuesday I am heading home for a bit.

Some of you may remember how concerned I was about going home with only one leg, of seeing folks with only my one leg, of whether I would be very dependent with one leg. At this point I am very independent in the wheel chair. I can manage in a walker. And I am no longer concerned about how folks will react to me with just one leg. It is what it is. And that must be my haiku for today:

It is what it is
I go home with just one leg
I will be real fine

Then let's try this:

Shrinker, shrinker, huh?
What is a shrinker really?
Will I get my own?

A shrinker is something you wear on the residual limb (and I am trying to pick a name for my residual limb. I don't like the workd "stump". Residual limb is too long to say most of the time. RL are the initials of one of my grandsons, and I don't think he would appreciate my calling the limb by his initials. Maybe the limb's name is Daisy. Daisy was my grandma's dog and the first dog I really loved. Or maybe I need to pick the tree I am going to have tattooed on the limb and name the limb after the tree). Whoops, back to shrinker, I think it is worn on limb for rest of life. Continues to keep swelling down. Need to get more swelling down prior to fitting for prosthesis. Will likely get shrinker if wound is amply healed. Will know more about this on Tuesday after visit to surgeon on way home.

Tomorrow you are likely to get a movie review on "The Littlest Dragon".