coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Kinda bored

It has been almost 6 weeks since my knee surgery.  I'm still restricted to couch, walker, and wheelchair.  Yes, I'm bored.  

What are the things that are sustaining me through this extended convalescence?   

  • Meusli for breakfast.  
  • Books
  • Twitter
  • New York Times
  • Washington Post
  • The New Yorker
  • Blogs and blogging
  • Afternoon ice cream
  • Naps
  • The Great British Baking Show
  • My husband
  • My husband's cooking
  • Grandson babysitting gigs
  • Texts from friends and family, checking in
  • Showers
  • Hearing about exploits & accomplishments of all our grandkids, nieces, and nephews
  • Thinking
  • Feeling
  • Photos of new babies and toddlers belonging to family & friends
  • Photos of pregnant eldest granddaughter
  • The impeachment inquiry
  • Nancy Pelosi
I'm sure there must be more than that.  Right?

So close, yet so far away

    Thursday, October 10, 2019

    Bedpan Politics

    Lest you mistake me for a good person, let me confess a sin.

    I did something that might be a wrong, or at least not politically right-on. It has to do with hospital bed pan politics. I found the bedpan experience humiliating while I was in the hospital. The nurse who helped me the first time was wonderful, and she joked me through it.

    The second time I had to "go" she was off duty and a young male nurse came to help me. I kindly told him I wanted a female nurse to help me with the bedpan. He seemed fine with that, but the female nurse who came in gently scolded me, saying that the male nurse was fully trained and could do these things. I imagine she didn't appreciate the extra work, and I can understand that. However, I tend to think anything that involves another person's involvement with my body is about me, first and foremost.  

    Of course he could do that task. He was extremely competent, and very kind. But his technical ability was not the issue, was it? I'm an older woman who has been pricked, prodded, and poked by strange medical men my entire life. I draw the line at going to the bathroom.

    Later I apologized to him, and attempted to let him know it wasn't a judgment about his abilities, it was about my still having a choice in a very intimate and private experience. I don't think he was buying it. He was thinking about himself.  I was thinking about myself. Oh well, as long as I am able to speak up for myself, I win.

    I'm quite sure I would do the same thing again. I wish I was more open and accepting of these things, but I am not. And for crying out loud, this was about me exerting some semblance of control over my broken body.

    If you think I was wrong in doing this, I hope you will feel comfortable telling me in the comments. I don't mind being wrong, and I can take a punch. More than anything, I want to know right from wrong.

    Sunday, October 6, 2019

    How am I doing?

    How am I doing?  ("How am I doing?" I quietly mutter and muse to myself.) I am damaged goods, but wasn't I always? The difference is now people can see my brokenness at a glance.

    In addition to the patella break, I damaged muscles. They restrung bits in that area to accomplish the repairs. It's complicated; however, not impossible.

    I fell September 7th. For repairs to heal properly I won't start physical therapy until early November. I wear a brace and have been admonished not to bend my knee because the 
    healing muscles are the ones that allow me to walk. 

    PT will last 6 weeks. The first two they'll try to bend my knee 30%. The second two weeks will hopefully bring it to 60%. The last two shoot for 90%. Then I go back to my surgeon's 
    office where they will do x-rays and "see" if all is well.

    I also tore upper arm muscles when my right arm took one for the team to heroically break the fall. I ache on occasion.

    Emotionally, I'm adapting and enduring. It's only been 4 weeks. It appears I still have 10 weeks of cruel convalescence to contend with. We'll see if the good Colette can keep the bad Colette in check for that long. I'm giving it the old college "try." No promises.

    In summary, I have three modes during this recuperation. 

    • I lay on the couch with my right leg extended.  (lay, lie? Come on Robbie, help me out here).  
    • I hobble hither and thither with my walker.
    • I sit up in my rented wheelchair with the leg extender

    My grandson and husband decorated my walker for me.

    Wednesday, October 2, 2019

    Knee jerk reactions, part 3: Get out

    I was admitted to hospital mid-afternoon on Saturday, Sept 7.  My surgery was 7:30 am Sunday morning. I was released from the hospital, still vomiting from the morphine, at 5:30 pm. It seemed a bit soon.

    One of the surgical doctors stopped by the night before surgery to ask if I wanted to be revived if I died on the table. That was interesting. I told him if, for some reason, I was brain dead or if my brain was functional but my body would never move again then please, kill me dead. However, I stressed if the worst was I might never walk again, I wanted to live. I would have loved to talk to him more about life and death, but he wanted to skedaddle, so I waved goodbye as he made his escape.

    I understand why some have clergy stop by to talk with them when they are critically ill. Who else would want to listen to one's fears of death? When my time comes, I want to put in an order for a Jesuit. I might be wrong, but I imagine they might be reasonably smart, spooky deep, and would thoughtfully answer my wacked-out questions? But could I trust their answers? There's the rub.

    My nurses were outstanding. I was there through the change of a few teams, and each managed me beautifully. Because of them I didn't suffer. They brought me humor and hope, they kept me clean, and they encouraged me to eat full fat foods like biscuits with gravy and macaroni and cheese. Angels they were, and angels they remain.
    This sort of reminds me of a leg

    Friday, September 27, 2019

    Knee jerk reactions: part 2 Get down!

    Alone in the ER cubicle with my fractured knee sticking up in the air, I settled in to that "place where there's no space or time." I detached as one might reasonably do to avoid traumatic pain. And by "settling in," I mean settling in for the long haul, the inevitable. There was no quick fix for this.

    As reality would have it, a couple of doctors came in and introduced themselves as part of my surgical team. They were there to bring my knee back down.  Shudder.

    A doctor is going to want to bring a knee down fast. They know the pain will be excruciating, but they want to minimize the time. Understandable. They began, and I have to tell you it was the worst pain I ever felt. Halfway down, I made them stop.

    I looked at one of the doctors and said, "I'm so sorry, but I just don't think I can do this." Hahaha. I really meant it, too.

    She wandered off to get even stronger drugs. The other doctor and Tom were on either side of me. I thought, "Forget this, I'm doing it myself." And I did. I didn't ask permission, and I didn't listen to what anyone around me was saying. I used my good foot to push the foot on my bad leg forward slowly, slowly. I followed the path of no pain. If it hurt, I'd push it in a slightly different direction. After a minute or two my whole leg collapsed into a normal extension. I'm not saying there was no pain, but it was minimal compared to what I experienced when they were trying to shove it down in place.

    The doctor was amazed. He said "I've never seen anything like this." I was SO overly proud of myself that I pretended I didn't know what he was talking about. Oh, the games I play. 

    Sunday, September 22, 2019

    Knee jerk reactions, part 1: How


    I have always been good in a crisis. I fall apart weeks later.

    As is typical for me, I was doing 3 things at once. Family was coming for dinner, and I was picking up clutter, making gazpacho, and doing laundry. I multitask to keep from getting bored, but (numbnut that I am) I fully understand it kept me from focusing and caused this accident. By all that is holy, I'm gonna change!  

    Our washer and dryer are in the garage sitting on a concrete step. Built in the mid-1990's it is not wide enough to comfortably hold the newfangled humongo appliances AND a human being without paying close attention to where you are. I was not. I slipped and began my descent. As I fell, I concentrated on shielding my upper body. I did not anticipate my right knee might hit the concrete step where the riser meets the tread.

    I heard the crunch and knew I'd broken my patella. I later learned it was broken into three pieces, plus change. However, I felt nothing at first. It was surreal. I was able to roll over onto my back (probably not a good idea). I instinctively raised my knee, searching for a comfortable position (also probably not a good idea) as the pain escalated. I found my pain-free position before the worst of the pain kicked in, absolutely not considering the maxim that what goes up must come down. I wasn't thinking.

    I screamed for my husband, T. I didn't scream for the pain, by the way. I screamed for the horror.  And, of course, because T is hard of hearing.

    I could see he was shaken as he looked at the grotesque condition of my knee. My man was so freakin' sweet to me as he called the ambulance and packed my overnight bag. Let me just say to the entire world: I love that man.

    Almost immediately, 4 kind EMT's shot me up with potent painkillers and lifted me onto the stretcher. I was deliriously happy to see one was a woman, so I took the time to congratulate her on being in a non-traditional job. I should have asked if they were registered to vote. Unfortunately, I forgot.

     we flew to the Orlando Hospital trauma unit, sirens flashing. I have to admit, that was fun. 

    I couldn't sit up to see so I begged an EMT to take pictures for future reference. I'm a total fiend. Unfortunately, my phone was in my overnight bag in T's car. He was following the ambulance.  Bummer.

    At that point there was no possibly of straightening my leg, or moving at all without inflicting excruciating pain. Thankfully, the EMT's thought they'd let the doctors deal with that. I was transported to and into the ER with what looked like a leg with three knees sticking straight up in the air. People stared.

    The head EMT got into a snippy argument with an aide about how to move me from the ambulance gurney onto the hospital stretcher. He wasn't taking any shit, and insisted it be done his way. I trusted him with my life but I felt sorry for the aide. Geez, I love hospital dynamics, it's always like watching a movie.

    To be continued.

    Thursday, September 19, 2019

    Starting to feel better

    I am beginning to feel better.

    I'm still in a full leg brace. But thank the universe for inventing the walker, because without it the last 12 days would have been an absolute nightmare that might have pushed me right over the edge. At night I struggle with panic attacks, but I have my breathing exercises and they help. Today my husband is picking up a simple manual wheelchair with a right leg extender on it. I am hoping to sit up more.  

    Still not able to be up for long periods of time. I can't type on my computer for more than a few minutes because I'm all twisted with my extended right leg shoots off in the opposite direction of my torso as I struggle to type. Using my laptop on my full-on couch encampment nest is even worse for some reason. But all this will change. All of this changes almost daily. Every day, I discover a  bit more I can do. The gift of healing is astounding.

    I have lots of observations both cynical and ecstatic. I have much to say. I hope I can begin writing up a storm soon. In the meantime, here's a picture of my much beloved walker. Isn't she beautiful? My grandson promised he would come and decorate the basket with ribbons and construction paper strips. That will make me so happy. 
    Joanne, I have thought a lot about how awful your bus accident convalescence must have been.

    Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    really outta commission

    Sorry folks. I fell and broke my knee. Has surgery to repair. I won’t be able to review and publish your comments for a few days. Will tell you all about it soon. All will be fine. Feeling better every day. Cheers!

    Saturday, September 7, 2019

    Is all this crap the Wheel of Life?

    I get tired of problems, 
    and people. 
    I really do. 
    I plod on 
    hoping for the best. 

    Always hoping 
    love will be enough. 

    Do you think it is?  The world has gone crazy.

    These are my jagged thoughts 
    with the sharp points protruding.

    When I can remember to open my eyes to see, I see beauty

    Wednesday, September 4, 2019

    And here it is

    When I went to bed last night I thought, is this it?  Feeling like we dodged a bullet, I slept blissfully until about 1:30 a.m. when thunder and lightening woke us up. I went to the living room, turned on the outside lights, and looked to see if the pool was overflowing. It was not.

    In fact, the storm is still with us as I write this early Wednesday morning. But we DID dodge a bullet because by the luck of the draw we are at the extreme western end of this crazy, stubborn hurricane. Consequently, it is simply a storm for us. We have some wind, some rain, and plenty of electric power. 

    I feel guilty enjoying our good fortune because of the absolute devastation Dorian wrought upon the Bahamas. I'm concerned for the east coast of Florida where "evacuation orders had been issued by most counties for coastal areas from Palm Beach County north to the Florida-Georgia border." I fear for the Carolinas, as Dorian makes it slow crawl up the coast and where landfall is a very real possibility.

    Below is a picture of what it looked like when I got up this morning. Notice how it lightly caresses Central Florida with it's long lower arm. This storm is a predator.

    I can only imagine how it seemed to the Bahamians, where the worst of it stalled at Cat 5, and took its time destroying the island. Three out of four houses there are underwater according to the Washington Post, which also reported the hurricane "
    moved only 30 miles in 30 hours from Monday into Tuesday, mercilessly raking the same areas with destructive storm surge and winds." The horror! These people will need help. For all that is good and just and holy, let's be generous.