Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Herstory

So, last night was pretty epic, yes?

I haven't been around in a while, but it feels right to break out the keyboard and write down how I feel about the nomination of a woman for President of the United States.

I know this will sound odd in a post about a history-making woman, but I miss my dad. He was the political junkie in the family. I came to political activism much, much later. I suppose it's a testament to the good governing of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman (dad's heroes) that my childhood was fairly stable. Daddy was born at the beginning of the Great Depression and lived through WWII as a teen-ager.

What must that have been like?

Dad wanted Hillary to be the nominee in 2008. Hindsight's 20/20, and Father Knows Best. (I supported Obama all the way. As soon as he became the nominee, Dad was a hundred percent on board.) Looking at all that's happened over the past few years, we might have been better had Dad's preference prevailed.

But it didn't.

And now it has.

I kept thinking I might get a text from one of the women in my family – I'm the matriarch, so it would have been my daughter, a daughter-in-law, or my granddaughter. But none of them are political or even history buffs. It wouldn't resonate with them the way it would have with my dad or does with me.

So here's how I feel this morning.

Hillary Clinton will and must be the next President of the United States. The stakes are too high for any other outcome. I'll do all I can possibly do to make sure Donald Trump never sees the inside of the Oval Office. It terrifies me that he is now getting security briefings on sensitive issues.

Hillary Clinton is not perfect. No candidate is, but she comes with an extraordinary amount of negatives, courtesy of popular media that feeds on negatives and a populace all too willing to let the media do their thinking for them.

But here's the truth. Hillary Clinton has been under scrutiny for decades. She's always done what she felt was the right and good thing to do, given the circumstances and facts before her. I can say that, even though I don't know her, because the results bear that out. You can watch the many, many speeches from the convention last night and learn more of the quiet, private good she's done in her lifetime.

You can watch Fox News to hear the negatives and, yes, the lies. Because Fox is an entertainment network, they're not bound by the truth.

I don't have stars in my eyes for Hillary Clinton. Neither she nor her pick for vice-president have the charisma of the First Couple or the fire and sizzle of many of the up-and-coming Democrats. (Our bench is deep, and wow are we fortunate for that. Especially considering that the Republicans have majorities in the House and Senate and Donald Trump is the best they could do.)

We live in a time where solid, measured government is necessary. President Obama is so darned good at it. He doesn't let emotion take over, but you know how he feels and where his heart is.

Hillary Clinton is good at it, as well. We will expect more of her, because she's a woman. She will, right or wrong, have to work twice as hard to earn the respect of an equally qualified man. It's astonishing that our country, often called the most powerful in the world, regards women as not good enough for governing, but just fine for accessorizing.

Here's the thing: No one in America – man or woman – is more qualified, more experienced, more committed, or more ready to lead this country than Hillary Clinton is. Whether you like her or not is irrelevant. We're not voting for Homecoming Queen. This is serious.

Hillary Clinton has made tough decisions, run into obstacles, changed course, weathered storms, dealt with private matters in public, and taken public matters to heart day after day after day. She's looked at life from not just both sides, as Judy Collins sang, but from all sides. That's what you do when the stakes are high. And that's what you do when you have to do the best, most-right thing, no matter who's watching.

In the end … for a host of reasons I can't really articulate …

I'm with her.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Six months later

I know I said I wouldn't post any more hip-surgery updates, but it seems like six months post-op is a good time to assess.

In the six months since the operation, I've walked nearly 500 miles (493.94 to be exact), and I'm now averaging about 14,000 steps per day. I'd logged 187 miles after four months, so the past two months have been pretty darned good.

Nice weather helps, of course. I have very few residual effects of the surgery. The pain I'd been living with is completely gone. I have trouble – still – getting up from a chair and getting started walking. I need to steady myself with a hand on a wall or table, for instance, until I feel secure. I have a lot of trouble if I need to get down on my hands and knees and then get back up again.

And despite all those miles walked, I've lost only seven pounds since the surgery. I am well and truly stuck where I am, and not happy about it at all. I eat reasonable portions of healthful foods. I'm not willing to walk more – I'm averaging more than five miles a day.

I plan to add some rowing to the routine, something I've been "meaning" to do, but just haven't been motivated enough to actually accomplish. A six-month assessment such as this seems to indicate I need that kind of push.

Most 65-year-old hip surgery patients aren't as active as I am, based on the reaction I get when I tell people my age and activity level. Maybe I just need to let go of the desire to lose weight NOW, and be grateful for the progress I've made so far.
The last 28 days have been fairly consistent, and certainly better than a year ago!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

No longer on the fence

I thought about having both Bernie and Hillary stickers on my car all during the primary season. In the end, I opted for neither and sported a Goodwin for Governor sticker.

Keepin' it local.

But last night? And last week? Secretary Clinton is and was on point in her two most recent major speeches. It's time for me to say #ImWithHer.

I hope Bernie says it, and soon. It won't make a difference here in WV. Trump is wildly popular among non-college-educated, low-income white men, which describes much of the population here. But Bernie's support for HRC could go a long way toward healing the rift in the Democratic party.

No candidate is perfect, which is why I wavered and couldn't commit.

But it's game on now, and if there's one thing I'm quite sure of it's #NeverTrump.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What a week!

My husband and I aren't anti-social, but we definitely don't do much socializing. At our age and in our circles, people really just don't get together much. Or at least we don't. Maybe everyone else does and we don't know about it.

Or care. Heh.

ANYWAY … beginning last Tuesday, May 24, we've gone somewhere or entertained someone every day. Today we get back to normal.

I enjoyed all the activity very much. Moreso than I expected to, actually. My biggest anxiety this week was finding enough clean clothes that fit. Mission accomplished! And one outfit didn't even get worn, because I didn't have enough time to hem the pants.

You short girls will relate.

This week is much less frenetic. A dentist appointment tomorrow and a lunch meeting Thursday. Easy-peasy.

So … retirement reception, birthday dinner, scholarship banquet, three-day family reunion, and dinner with friends … CHECK!

Over and out.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

That was a nice little break

I can't quite believe it's been a month since I've updated the blog. Neither of you have missed it, or at least you haven't said you have. How about if I promise not to write about hip replacement surgery any more?

Today's my birthday. The big 65. I'm officially geriatric, although I don't feel like it. Even with a hip replacement, I don't feel old, or even oldER.

Time does, however, march on, and aging is certainly better than dying, at least when you feel good and are relatively healthy.

Google remembered my birthday with a special Google Doodle:
Starbucks has loaded a free drink onto my app and Ruby Tuesday's has a burger waiting for me. I could have gotten $5 off a pair of DSW shoes, but I don't need shoes.

That's one thing about getting oldER: My wants are way less important than my needs.

One thing I wanted, however, was for this birthday to be special. To be noted. My husband and children really don't make a big deal out of birthdays, but I made sure they all knew that this one was different. And they came through.

My children are taking me to see Bob Dylan in Nashville next month. Each time I see him in concert I think it may be the last time, since we're both getting up there in years (he's been geriatric for 10 years!). It's amazing that he's still touring and producing new music. I'm thrilled that I'll be seeing him with both my daughter and my son and his wife, and that I'll get to spend the weekend with all of them and their children. We seldom have the opportunity to all get together at the same time and place.

My husband offered me either a big party or a new computer. No question on that one … my old laptop has been slowly dying for about six months. I don't have the new one completely set up yet, but they've been talking to each other. A few more file transfers and the old model will be used for storing music and photos. He made this birthday very special.

My month-long blog break wasn't intentional. I'll be updating a little more often going forward. Because, you know, when you're old you have a lot of wisdom to impart. And a lot more time on your hands.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The battle begins

In earnest. And it's two battles, really.

The ongoing battle with my weight is one I'm losing right now. I'd rather report that I'm losing weight, but in two months the loss is negligible.

I'm tired of paleo, but I know that carbs are killing me. As I'm now moving more (I averaged 11,000 steps per day last week), I hope the increased activity will help boost my metabolism. I naturally want to eat lighter when the weather warms up, so I'll work on taking advantage of that – fruit salad instead of pie, right? Heh. The goal is the proverbial move more, eat less, and I'm adding to that to eat less often. If I'm not hungry in the morning, why eat breakfast?

I'd like to think I'm winning the battle with the weeds. The asparagus bed is almost cleaned out, and asparagus is on the menu almost daily. I'm going to put some in omelets tonight. The peony bed is looking good – weeds are mostly gone and the old, dead lavender plants have been replaced by creeping sedum, which is a natural mulch that spreads itself every year. That's my kind of mulch.

I put cardboard down between the asparagus plants and brought a couple loads of mulch from a big pile we have on the side of the field we like to call our "back yard." That pile has been decaying for a couple of years now, and is perfect for weed-suppressing duty. Except for two things.

One of the best garden tool investments
I've ever made. This thing really gets a workout!
As I was working on filling up my large rolling bucket, I thought I was running into the blackberry brambles that have grown up there. (Volunteer blackberries is Thing One.)

When I actually looked to see what was sticking my ankles, I saw Thing Two: ants. Crazy, biting, red ants. Thousands of them. The entire mulch pile is teeming with them. (So gross.) I decided, after two loads of mulch, that it probably isn't the best idea to introduce ants into our living space: The asparagus bed is on the south side of our garage, and only a few feet from our house.

I'm still going to use it – it's a yuge pile, and perfect for spreading around the base of several trees, far away from the house. I'll be wearing tall muck boots, instead of sneakers, to fill the bucket however.

For the asparagus and flower beds, however, I'm heading to town later for bagged mulch. And hoping that having a ready supply will encourage me to keep working on the flower beds.

I have to pace myself (stamina still isn't where I'd like it to be), and I also have to believe that even as little as an hour of weeding a day will eventually result in garden beds worth looking at.

Thank you for your recent kind comments … I appreciate them, and you!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just in time for spring …

The busy-ness of my life is beginning to wind down, finally. The Big Event is over and was a Big Success – well attended and we made a little more money than we'd hoped for. That's always nice.

I've started spending some of the funds on newspaper advertising. My ads are mostly words with an evocative image. I tried boosting one on Facebook and it was, at first, approved, but then was disapproved because it exceeds Facebook's no-more-than-20-percent-type rule.

For Facebook marketers who are selling concepts or ideas, rather than products, the 20-percent rule is quite limiting. I haven't figured out any way to get around it, other than to reduce the size of the type to "insignificant." Which kind of makes a concept ad irrelevant.

At any rate, since these are newspaper ads and newspapers love type, I'll just share them on our Facebook page and ask for people to share them. It will save us money until I can figure out how to make an image look like the concept "Vote for Democrats." Heh.
We will be going to a funeral tomorrow, a sad day for us and for our small town, but a blessing, as well. Our friend had been ill for a long, long time, and was not going to get better.

I continue to walk as much as possible, and to do the physical therapy exercises, although not daily, as I'd planned to. I'm not a disciplined person. Being required to show up for an appointment was great motivation. Having to report to the therapist that I had or had not done the exercises on my non-appointment days also was motivating. Being completely responsible for my own recovery? Not so motivating at all.

And with that … I think I'll go do my exercises. And then take a walk. And then finish weeding the asparagus bed. And then do a load of laundry while I vacuum and mop my floors. That will take me up to late afternoon, I'm sure. And it will be time to get ready for the visitation at the funeral home. Two long days, coming right up.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Back to normal!

It's been 12 weeks today since my hip surgery, and I'm doing just about whatever I want to do. Except running, of course, which is forever prohibited. The physical therapy sessions were very beneficial, and I am again glad my doctor didn't push me into them right away. 

Certain movements are restricted immediately post-surgery – bending, crossing your legs, putting all your weight on the operated limb – and my therapy would have had to respect those limits. Waiting until the restrictions were lifted gave the therapists more leeway to push me a little harder.

At any rate, I'm now able to put my socks on, tie my shoes, enter and exit the car, bend, stretch, stoop, you name it and I can do it without discomfort. Pretty cool, huh? I still tire easily, and that was an issue this weekend.

The other back-to-normal thing is my life. Our county Democratic Executive Committee, of which I am a member, hosted a banquet honoring a retiring state senator this past Saturday, and banquets don't just happen out of thin air, like they do in Disney cartoons. A great deal of planning and preparation went into it. And a great deal of walking and standing ensued. I didn't even eat dinner.

BUT: It was quite the success, both in attendance and in replenishing our treasury so we can do some voter outreach efforts. We learned a lot from the experience – we've never hosted this kind of affair before – and we'll definitely be doing it again.

Just not soon. Heh.

Yesterday my husband and I went to a book reading, which was accompanied by music (lovely, soul-filled music) and followed by a reception at the home of the organizers. The book – Voices from the Appalachian Coalfields – was researched 25 years ago by a man who became ill before he could finish it. His wife eventually completed the project. It's an artistic and educational masterpiece.

And a pretty long day.

Winter returned last week, and I finally had the opportunity to walk on the treadmill instead of outdoors. My fastest outdoor pace – if you want to call it that – is about a 24-minute mile. I can do three miles in an hour on the treadmill, and knock off an episode of House of Cards while I'm at it. I still like outdoor walking better, but I'll gladly hit the machine when the weather doesn't cooperate.

So that's about it from the Middle of Nowhere. Thanks for hanging in there with me for the surgery saga. I probably won't mention it much going forward. We have a primary coming up, and then an important general election. I'll bet you just can't wait to hear what I have to say about that! Heh.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Another post-surgical first

I know you're probably reallyreallyreally bored with all this hip surgery nonsense, and I apologize. I'm writing it here so I have a record of it, and documenting it in case anyone stumbles across it who is facing the same procedure. I didn't think about looking for others' personal experiences until after I'd been released from the hospital. Maybe my ramblings will help someone else.

At any rate – whether you're bored or not – I took a trip this weekend! I haven't seen my younger granddaughter since Halloween. She and her parents were having scheduling troubles finding time to head to our place, so I decided just to go for it and went to North Carolina.

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting.
Quite an impressive cloud bank, yes?
It's about a five-hour trip for me, not counting time parked on the interstate waiting for accidents to clear (one on the way down Friday and two coming home yesterday). I'm not a fast driver. My son has made it to my house in four hours.

The only problem I had was getting out of the car after driving for a couple of hours. I was definitely stiff and felt like I needed a little support before I could walk comfortably. But no pain.

[The big win was not spending a penny while I was in the state of North Carolina (to protest passage of HB2). I'm sure the taxes collected on my customary trip to Trader Joe's won't make an iota of difference in the state budget, but it's the principal of the thing. I rarely need to spend money when I visit family there, but I was a little concerned about whether I'd have to refuel before I hit the Virginia state line on the way home.

There's a gas station at the last exit in Virginia before entering North Carolina, and I filled up Friday on my way down. I had about three gallons in the tank when I got back there Sunday. #winning]

I did my physical therapy exercises Friday before I left and Saturday while I was there, and managed to get 10,000 steps Friday and 9,000 Saturday. Was very tired yesterday when I got home, and skipped the exercises, but took a short walk for a total of about 5,000 steps.

Food was a disaster. Let's not even go there, mkay? Other than it's time for a reset.

I'll end with a "Go 'Nova" for the NCAA championship game, and a "Play ball!" for MLB Opening Day. Because it's time to move on from all-surgery, all-the-time.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I shall be have been released

I've been sprung!

No more trips to the hospital for PT … I thought tomorrow would be my last session, but we all agreed that I've made great progress and am motivated to continue on my own at home. So yay for that.


Yesterday was quite the active day. An three-mile outdoor walk in the morning (still s o o o   s l o o o o w), physical therapy (including 15 minutes on the exercise bike) in the afternoon followed by several errands. I don't mind telling you I was pretty tired and sore by the time dinner was done.

But the FitBit logged more than 5 miles, almost 14,000 steps and 40 flights of stairs (thank you, WV mountains!). Quite an impressive day. And I really don't feel too awfully bad this morning.

So now, if it is to be, it's up to me. Clean up the food. Continue the walking. Increase mobility and strength and stamina with targeted exercises.

Onward.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Physical therapy is AWESOME

Except for the part where I'm stiff and sore at the end of the day.

Like yesterday. But I know I wouldn't have made the progress I've made this last month or so without PT. I'm really glad the doctor offered to order it, and I'm even glad he waited until all post-surgery restrictions were lifted. I've definitely been able to do more than if I'd had to be careful about bending or twisting my operated leg.

I finally found my ankle weights. I'd been doing my exercises with a hand weight slipped over my ankle, but it wasn't very secure, while the real ankle weight definitely is.

I'm up to about 20 exercises daily now, and it takes a long time to get through them. Like close to an hour. I also walked for almost an hour yesterday and then kind of collapsed the rest of the day.

Doesn't that sound wimpy?

Even if it does, I'm getting better at listening to my body and trying to rest when I need to. I get up very early, so by mid-afternoon I've depleted my energy reserves. Glad I don't have to work outside my home.

I'm going out of town this weekend, so only two therapy sessions at the hospital this week – one today, and the other one Thursday – and I suspect Thursday will be my final session. My surgeon wrote an order for 12 sessions. Thursday will be the eighth, but I'm now doing everything I said I wanted to do.

I have no trouble at all getting in and out of the car or a chair, and I've put my socks on without the assistance device for three days in a row now. I have every intention of continuing the exercises at home, as I've been doing since I started PT, and I'm trying to add a little extra time/mileage to my daily walks.

I don't think there's anything else I could be doing. I need to be patient with the lack of stamina. That will return in its own good time, I suspect.

But seriously? I can't wait! Heh.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Here we are, nine weeks later

So physical therapy continues to be good, and I'm making real progress. My therapist bumped me up a pound on the ankle weight, from two to three, last Friday.

Progress stopped for a day. Heh. Seriously, you wouldn't think one measly pound would kick my surgically altered arse so badly, but I took Saturday off. Completely. No walking and NO exercises.

Sunday I did them without any weight, and didn't have any trouble at all.

Yesterday we dropped back down to the two-pound weight, and added a 10-minute warm-up session on the bike before we did anything else. That helped a lot, and I got through all the moves without too much discomfort.

One of the exercises uses a resistance band, and they're color-coded from easiest to ouch. I started at green. Since they were out of blue, they gave me two greens to use together.

Each time I've gone they've added something else, and yesterday I got to march in place. My husband informed me Richard Nixon worked out in the Oval Office by marching in place, so I guess I'm presidential. SNORT.

The good thing about marching is it makes me raise my knee, and the good thing about raising my knee is it increases flexibility in the operated leg, and the good thing about increasing flexibility is … I can put my socks on!

With difficulty and effort, but hey … PROGRESS!

This week I'm going to increase my steps per day into the 8000-range. I'm pretty consistent on the weekdays, but drop down to only a couple thousand on Saturdays and Sundays, so an additional goal will be to make sure I get 8000 steps every day, not just during the "work" week.

So that's it for this week's post-surgery report. I feel just as positive this week about PT as I did last. It's been helpful and motivating and just what I needed to really feel like I'm recovering my strength and mobility.

Still working on stamina.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Finally … physical therapy

Another post-surgery update. It's been 8.5 weeks now, and I continue to make progress. Slower, now, than earlier in the process, but I occasionally surprise myself by doing something I couldn't do a week or two ago.

Most folks begin physical therapy much sooner after surgery than I have. I think it's routinely prescribed to knee patients, but not so much for hips. When I went in for my last appointment (a week ago Tuesday) with my surgeon, he asked how I was doing.

I'll be very happy when I don't need this any more!
How I'm doing, then and still, is pretty darned good. But I have a slight limp, especially when I'm tired, and I still need to use one of those sock-putter-onner-helpy-things. I'm doing better getting in and out of the car, but still need to steady myself when I stand up after sitting in a chair for a while.

He thought some physical therapy might be helpful to strengthen the muscles in the operated leg, and prescribed a dozen sessions. I've been to two this week.

It's a little early to notice any difference in my ability to do things. I certainly do notice muscle soreness, sometimes as soon as the same night as an appointment. I'm also doing the exercises at home on the days I don't go to the hospital for a session.

I gotta tell you … I love physical therapy appointments. It's like having a personal coach, but my insurance is paying for it! Heh. It's motivating me to try a little harder, stretch a little further, do things I wasn't sure I could do.

I've been assured I'm not going to do any damage (unless I run – NO RUNNING!). I've been released from all post-surgical precautions. So all that's left is to work on strength, mobility, and stamina.

Stamina is probably the hardest, because you can't really work on it. It just … comes. In its own good time. And for me, that's not soon enough. But I have a feeling that one of these days I'm going to look at my sadly neglected perennial beds and think, "I need to get out there and clean those up."

Instead of, like Scarlett, saying, "I'll think about that … tomorrow."

Friday, March 11, 2016

Feeling the burn

Spring has sprung here in southern West Virginia, and as my mobility increases following my hip surgery, all I wanna do is have some fun be outside.

My energy level and stamina are still an issue, and will be for a while – or so I've been told – so I'm giving myself permission to do as much as I'm comfortable doing and then collapse at the end of the day.

Yesterday, for example, temperatures were in the upper 70s. A slight breeze was blowing. My husband and I walked together for about a half-mile, and I suggested we keep going. We ended up walking 2.5 miles outdoors – the farthest I've gone on foot in more than seven weeks.

I was definitely feeling the burn when I got back home. None of the household chores I'd planned to do got done. We had the simplest of dinners – green beans, ham, onions and potatoes, which some paleo purists would disqualify, but it was better than chicken pot pie, which we still have in the freezer. I rested. A lot.

With the additional steps I took throughout the day (and a couple laps up and down the driveway), I hit the FitBit 10,000-step goal after dinner. First time since last fall.

My final surgeon's appointment was this past Tuesday. Because of a couple lingering issues, he ordered some physical therapy sessions, which will begin Monday. I'm looking forward to working on strengthening and stretching and resuming all normal activities – including putting socks and shoes on without assistance!

Today … I'm a little stiff and sore. I'm not sure if I'll take a day off or if I'll use the treadmill, which I've been cleared to do. Or if I'll hit the road again, before the rain settles in.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Returning to normal

And … returning to paleo.

Not walking regularly, after many years of daily activity, has resulted in yet another unacceptable weight gain. I knew it would happen, I was prepared for it. I'm not happy about it, not at all. But at least I know how to handle it.

I wasn't willing to handle it as long as I was either

  1. in pain, or
  2. recovering from surgery.

Since I'm not experiencing neither of those, it's time.

I started last Monday. I'm not doing a Whole 30, but am following the no dairy/grains/sugar/legumes protocol. I'm going to take a day off every couple of weeks.

I have not followed through with light weight training, as I said I would. My at-home physical therapy plan also has fallen by the wayside. I go back to the surgeon for my final appointment on Tuesday, and I'm not looking forward to confessing that I'm not doing my knee raises, adductions, and backward extensions. They just seem unnecessary at this point.

Range of motion is not 100 percent, but it's getting there. I still have difficulty bending over while sitting (to tie my right shoe, for instance).

I also still run out of steam by the end of an active day. It seems to work best to alternate days when I take it easy with days when I walk outside, go shopping, or do some other extended activity. I'm certain that will improve with time.

And with weather. It's pretty darned easy to declare a rest day when it's cold/snowy/rainy outdoors. Spring is on the way. We're going to see temperatures in the 70s next week.

It'll be pretty darned hard to stay indoors on my ass when the sun is shining and it's warm outside.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A tiny setback

It was a dark and stormy Wednesday this week, with lots of wind. Sometimes lots of wind means loss of electricity, and Wednesday was one of those days.

I had something to return in Princeton (about a 45-minute drive), and rather than sit in a cold-and-getting-colder house all afternoon waiting for the return of lights, heat, and water, the husband and I headed for Lowe's with the wrong-sized drip pans for our electric cooktop.

Note to self: Make sure you write down the brand of cooktop the next time you buy drip pans.

Lowe's is a big place, and we didn't know when our electric problem at home would be resolved, so we crawled through the aisles a couple of times in order to get some walking in. Walking is still my preferred activity, but I'm trying to remember to do the knee raises, adductions, and backward extensions. True confession: I've not started using dumbbells. Yet.

There's just so much plumbing and lighting one can look at, and we got bored pretty quickly. We called a neighbor, learned electricity at home had been restored, and headed out on the return trip.

We had to fix the garage door when we got home so it would go up and down at the push of a button again. I had to climb a ladder to adjust the mechanism. I DIDN'T FALL. That wasn't the setback.

When I got back to the car to move it into the garage, I completely forgot about how I was supposed to get into the seat. (You have to move the seat all the way back, approach the seat butt-first, sit down carefully, and then swing your legs carefully into the car.)

I acted like a normal person. Think about how you get behind the wheel. You probably don't ever think about it. I put my right (operated) leg in and onto the floor and then sat down on the seat. 

IN EXCRUCIATING PAIN.

I apparently strained the thigh muscle(s) of my right leg. My hip is fine. I didn't pop the joint out of the socket. No pain at all other than in the thigh, above the knee. But wow, did it ever hurt.

I briefly considered using the cane again. But eventually decided just to rest and use a heating pad. It helped some. I followed that same course yesterday and by last night I was almost walking without a limp.

I will do some walking today (indoors; it's freezing and horrible outside), but probably not much more than yesterday (which was considerably less than I've been doing). 

And I will be very, very careful getting in and out of the car from now on.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Five weeks out

So one week walking without a cane and I've totally overdone it.

I'm a bit, um, competitive. I'm only competing with myself, but I really didn't need to more than double my steps/miles from the fourth week to the fifth. It. Was. Too. Much.

I didn't hurt myself. But I exhausted myself, and I'd just gotten back into a fairly good sleep routine. Now I'm all messed up again.

Here's what I don't know: I don't know if feeling so tired all the time is a normal part of post-surgical recovery at the five-week point. I think my energy should be bouncing back. I was tired of being tired before the surgery, so I totally expected that once the source of the constant pain was gone, I'd feel fine.

And I don't.

At least I haven't the past few days.

This week I'm going to take it a little easier with the walking, and concentrate more on the physical therapy-type exercises that will build muscle. I also intend to use some light dumbbells to work on overall strength, and limit my walking to no more than two miles a day.

I have no idea if this will help or not. But going from about 8 miles two weeks ago to 17 miles last week didn't help at all. 

I also need to ease back into eating more healthfully. I like carbs way too much, and I've been pretty self-indulgent with them. I'm not ready to jump back into a full-on paleo plan, but I think starting a food journal would be a good thing to help make myself aware of what, when, and why I'm eating.

Time to woman up, I suppose. (Can you tell I'm not quite ready?) Heh.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

That went well

I feel the need.

The need … for some speed.

HAHAHAHAHA!

Not really. But wow, can I ever navigate my house better without a cane!

As both of you know, my post-surgery exercise regimen has consisted of some simple moves with the operated leg plus as much walking as I can comfortably manage.

Walking with the cane was certainly manageable, but very slow, and I ended up putting a lot of pressure on my left arm and hand (the one holding the cane, obviously). I couldn't walk for more than about 20 minutes without having to give it a rest.

Without the cane, I'm not walking for longer periods of time, because BORING, but I'm certainly walking more easily and efficiently.
I have no idea when my last 5,000-step day was. Probably September, 2015.
No pain. No discomfort. The transitions – getting out of bed or going from sitting to standing – are still the biggest challenges, but compared to four weeks ago? WOW.

I'm doing better with everyday around-the-house kinds of things, too. Like cooking. We still have a couple weeks' worth of frozen meals (what a great idea that was), but I've cooked from scratch three of the last four evenings and I made oatmeal cookies yesterday.

Yes, of course one could make oatmeal cookies if one needed to walk with a cane. I'm sure it happens all the time. But I'm such a messy cook. And I never remembered to put a hand towel on the counter where I was making a mess. It was just so much easier not to cook. Heh.

I'll be walking indoors for a couple more days, because the weather is bad here. Snow, rain, ice, you-name-it – it's winter. But we're getting a tease of spring toward the end of the week. I'm going to deliver some oatmeal cookies to my very kind neighbors.

On foot.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

It's been fun, Cane

Not really.

It's been slow. And awkward. And, for the last several days, probably unnecessary, but I've been really good about following doctors' orders since my hip surgery January 18.

So today is the last day to use it.

I've been thinking that the last day to use the cane marks the first day I can use the treadmill, but I looked over my notes and I have to wait until my next appointment, which isn't until March 8. According to Dr. Google, I can use the treadmill after six weeks, which would be February 29. But Dr. Google didn't do my surgery, so I'll wait for an official release.

I have a lot of trouble being patient about this, especially when I feel as good as I do. But there are real hazards in doing too much too soon, the worst of which would be popping the ball out of the socket. I imagine that would be pretty painful.

Not using the cane has one, and only one, down side. I do get a lot of respect and consideration when I'm out in public. Think about how you are when you see someone walking with an assistive device – you open doors, reach for things on high shelves, clear a path to make their walk a little safer.

But the up side – more mobility and being able to get things done more efficiently – outweigh the sympathy factor.

The weather has been pretty horrible here in southern West Virginia. Very cold and we have a wintry mix/snow storm coming in over the next couple of days. I haven't been out of the house for any reason since last Monday. Looks like it will be a few more days being housebound. Thankfully, Facebook and Twitter are very entertaining.

I think, over the next three weeks, I'm going to ease back in to a mostly paleo eating template. I've been taking a blood thinner, and one of the cautions was to not try to lose weight on purpose. I took that to heart – heh – but it's time. We booked a beach house for a week in August. I intend to be back to my goal weight and walking four or five miles a day by then.

Don't be surprised if you hear a little more from me in the near future. Having a goal seems to motivate me to write.

Imagine that.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Six

Monday, February 15, is Emancipation Day for me. Six days from today I can give up the support of the cane. Maybe my husband will even let me drive.

To be fair, since my right hip is the operated one, I probably should be a little cautious about driving. But I also hate being so dependent on someone, when I've previously never had to be.

I set a modest four-mile walking goal for last week, and ended up logging about 5-3/4 miles. The weather this week is going to be brutal. We have a little snow on the ground now, and the temperatures are forecast to be below freezing all week. A high of 13 for this coming Saturday.

It is winter, after all, but still … snow and cold will keep me indoors, and while I both can and will walk inside, it won't quite be the same.

My ortho didn't prescribe physical therapy. I may end up requesting it. In the meantime, I'm going to do a little Googling to see what I should  be accomplishing at this point, and try to come up with my own set of exercises that are a little more challenging than what I came home from the hospital with.

That is all …

Saturday, February 6, 2016

How am I doing? Glad you asked.

Pretty well. In fact, much better than I ever thought I would be at not quite the weeks post-surgery.

The doctor says I have to keep using assistance for four weeks total, after which I can walk on my own, use the treadmill, bend more than 90 degrees ... in other words, all restrictions lifted.

I'm allowed to drive, but my husband is still a little nervous about letting me, so he's still the chauffeur.

We've walked outside three times this week, still on flat ground. I'll wait until mid-month to try hills. I've done stairs several times with no problems at all.

We've made quite a dent in the meals I prepared and froze before the operation. Two nights ago, though, I decided to cook dinner - spaghetti with mushroom sauce - and I did fine. And it was delicious.

Everything I do takes longer than normal, a combination of cane+careful. Good thing I have plenty of time on my hands. Heh.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Walking with a cane is still walking, right?

I switched from a walker to a cane last Thursday, and I also switched from Percocet to Tylenol that day. There's no stopping me now, baby. Heh.

My hip surgery was two weeks ago today. I've seen steady, daily improvement, and really dramatic increases in mobility and range of motion the last couple of days.

And yesterday … I took a walk. Outside. OUTSIDE!

I went about six-tenths of a mile. My husband didn't want me to try going uphill, so we turned back while we were still on the flat part of our road. I really wanted to do an outdoor mile, but my total steps for the day, according to FitBit, ended up putting me at 1.12 miles by the end of the day.

I hope I remember how happy I was yesterday when August rolls around, and it's hot and I'm not quite so motivated. I was a little tearful when I got home from my little jaunt. Yes, I was that happy.

Surgeon's appointment tomorrow. It's probably too soon to hope for driving privileges. But a girl can dream, right?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Home +7

I was discharged from the hospital a week ago today, and I'm making really good progress. No major setbacks. I had a slight fever for a day, high enough to call the doctor, but it was during the snowstorm and no one ever called back about it.

Dr. Office Fail, if you ask me.

Temperature went back to normal within 24 hours.

I'm doing my prescribed exercises several times daily. Two of them are helping increase range of motion (and they're working), the others are muscle strengthening.

I've gone to town once since I've been home, to the hospital for a blood test. I was started on a blood thinner in the hospital, and you have to monitor that carefully. Walking down long hospital corridors with the walker was no problem for me, but the FitBit didn't know how to count it and only gave me 130 steps.

I follow up with the surgeon next Tuesday. I'll be very happy to move from walker to cane.

The pain I'm having is quite manageable on 2 or 3 pain pills per day. I'll be very glad to not need those any more, and I'm hoping to discontinue completely by this weekend.

Still craving milk chocolate candy. The kind that comes in little paper cups, in a box. Soft centers. No nuts. Such a strange and very specific thing to want. My husband bought me a candy bar,but it just wasn't the same.

I ate it, though. Heh.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Home + 2

Surgery was Monday the 18th, spent Tuesday learning to walk with a walker, and was released Wednesday. I actually went up and down a flight of stairs Wednesday, which was a lot easier than getting in and out of bed.

The trip home was gruesome. Our normal hour-long trip took nearly two because of snow squalls. Nothing like what is predicted for today, though, and I'm very grateful I don't have to go anywhere through up to two feet of snow.

I have to do five exercises as many times a I want,  i can walk as much as I want, and there are no dressing changes to worry about.

I was sent home with prescriptions for Percocet (for pain) and coumadin (to prevent blood clots). No prescription for physical therapy, but that may happen later.

My husband has been a good nurse, especially after our chat about pain meds. I was taking 2 every 4 hours as needed in the hospital. The home prescription is one every 4 to 6 hours. I really do need them and am not afraid to take them. He's trying to have me stretch out the doses. Sometimes that's okay, but sometimes it isn't. I mean, SOMETIMES IT ISN'T!

He took my temperature yesterday and we discovered I had a slight fever, high enough to call the doctor per the after-care instructions. The doctor never called back, and my temperature went down, so I can assume it's nothing to worry about.

That's all for now. My sleep schedule is all messed up. I'm just counting on return to normal sometime in the future, as so many have assured me it happened to them. I appreciate all your messages, calls, texts, cards, and prayers. Thank you.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

24

So. Twenty-four hours from right about now (8:30-ish, Sunday, January 17, 2016), they'll be prepping me for surgery.

I wasn't going to write anything today, but I started it, and I guess it would be remiss not to continue the surgery saga.

I'm surprisingly calm. I have great confidence in my surgeon, in the hospital, and in my ability to understand and follow doctor's orders. Others I know who've had joint replacement surgery are doing fine today, and their experiences have been so valuable and helpful.

I'm fifth on the schedule, so I expect the actual procedure will happen somewhat later in the morning. I have no idea when I'll be able to update the blog again … but I expect only a day or so.

Have a good Sunday. And a good Monday. I'll be back in business in a couple of days.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Five

Today's Leap Year Photo Challenge prompt is "anticipation," and that's pretty much been my word of the year so far.

Five more days before I get my hip fixed.

I used to count down the days to a race. The times, they sure have changed.

Today is the day I'm to discontinue my daily Aleve. I'm not looking forward to several days of severe discomfort, but I'm definitely NOT going to defy doctor's orders.

I updated my living will – that makes it reallyreal – and it gets notarized today. Need to print a list of phone numbers so my husband can report that I survived the surgery Monday afternoon.

Trying to figure out what I should take to the hospital and what I can leave behind. I want to take every electronic device and charger I own, but I know that's not necessary and probably not encouraged. But … but … I hate the idea of being out of touch.

So silly.

I'm only going to be in the hospital for two or three days. Surely I can handle my digital life with just my phone. And the Kindle.

But what if I need Photoshop? Hahahahahahah. Better pack the laptop.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ten

Don't worry, I'm not going to publish a daily countdown post. I've very little to write about these days, and I'm sure you don't want to read that I played umpteen million games of Scrabble on my phone while resting in bed for the next 10 days.

Because that's about what I do.

EXCEPT FOR YESTERDAY!

I went to the surgeon's office in the morning for an X-ray and to pick up orders for lab work. Then I went to the hospital to have the lab work done. Then I went to an internist (mine is not on staff at the hospital where my surgery will be done, so I had to establish a relationship with a new one) for an EKG and general physical, to make sure I was in good enough health to survive surgery.

I didn't actually see the internist, but I will after surgery, while I'm in the hospital. I saw a Nurse Practitioner, who was a hoot! She could be my family doctor anytime. (For anyone local looking for a health-care provider, her name is Beverly Whitt and she practices at Blue Ridge Internal Medicine in Princeton.)

It says a lot about my ego that what I liked about her was how many times she said I was so young and healthy and wow, I don't take any meds except a diuretic? Heh. She was very encouraging about post-surgery recovery, saying that my daily walking habit (up until July) was going to really help me with physical therapy. She felt like it wouldn't take long for me to get back to better-than-normal – three to four weeks.

That sounds optimistic to me, but it was great to hear.

So far this hip surgery experience has been very positive. Every medical professional I've had contact with has taken all the time I need to answer my questions, and all have been unfailingly reassuring. The waiting game begins in earnest today.

My favorite picture of my mother, taken
when she was maybe 7 or 8 years old.
On another note, my mother died 25 years ago today. I was with her when she died, watched her take her last breath. I still tear up thinking about it.

I've outlived her by 15 years. She was a yo-yo dieter all her life: Up and down and up and down. She didn't know much about nutrition, and when she was up (in weight), didn't care at all what she ate or drank.

She was diagnosed with colorectal cancer when she was 55, and lived 4 more years.

I know a little more about good food, and I feel like my diet is (mostly) better than hers was, but I'm a yo-yo dieter, as well. My hopewishdreamGOAL is to stop the cycle. This surgery will give me back the mobility and stamina and support I need to get back on track with exercise, which will elevate my mood and help me not eat my emotions.

I just wish she were here to help me through it.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Two

With surgery scheduled for two weeks from today, I'm beginning to get a little nervous.

I try to remind myself that this is routine, and not life-threatening, and I really need to get out of myself and quit focusing on it, but I wouldn't deny you your thoughts or feelings about anything regarding your health (or anything at all, really). So why would I deny me?

Well, I try to deny it because I don't think dwelling in despair is a good thing for my mental health.

But I gotta tell you … the idea of someone slicing and dicing me is not something I'm looking forward to. Being able to walk without pain and to bend over (wow, is not being able to a huge issue at times!)? Now that's something to look forward to!

And that's where I've been the last several weeks: Looking at the end game. The past couple days, however, I've been looking at the procedure itself.

I've read and heard that patients wake up from surgery simply amazed that the hip pain is gone. There's no describing this kind of bone-on-bone pain, really. And the sound it makes is almost nausea-inducing.

So post-surgical pain is limited to the incision itself, and that will be something new and wonderful to deal with. Heh. I've informed my surgeon I'm a recovering alcoholic and would prefer not to take narcotics. But I'm certainly open to it if it's necessary.

When I start feeling down about all of this, I try to remember that I have friends dealing with cancer and lung problems and depression and all kinds of health issues that are much more difficult to conquer. I feel better today than I did yesterday – yesterday was, for some reason, very rough on my emotions.

Soon it will all be over. Soon I'll have no excuse for unmopped floors and unswept porches. Soon I'll be able to walk, either outside or on the treadmill, pain-free.

Two weeks to go.