Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Day Before Thanksgiving

I have been thinking about writing about Thanksgiving for a week or so.  I was planning to write about our various holidays and how they were celebrated- or not.

Then today, while making the bed, I thought about my mother.  She taught me how to make a bed properly.  How high to put the top sheet.  How to fold in the bottom of the top sheet.  Little nuances that most people wouldn't even know.  But I do.  And I notice.  And for whatever reason, I care. 

Then, just now I was cutting up celery and onions for the stuffing for tomorrow's turkey.  My mom showed me how to cut the celery so it came out diced and didn't require a lot of chopping.  She told me to never put celery in the garbage disposal because the celery string would clog it.  Same for onion skins.

I suspect some of the things I do are just genetically programmed into me from my mother's genes.  Like folding laundry.  And putting it away.    Folding fitted sheets.   Dusting the furniture before vacuuming (actually I think she told me that one).

Then other memories crop up.  We knew that if we saw two sticks of butter sitting out to soften, chocolate chip cookies were going to be baked soon.  And we knew that if we looked in the Dutch oven, taking the lid off, the cookies would be there.

She did try.  She was often running up against a brick wall.  She would get  frustrated and scream.  Unfortunately, I inherited that from her too.

I miss my mom.  And I miss others who are gone and will never share a Thanksgiving dinner with us again.

I have a lot to be thankful for.   To be able to miss someone, it means that you did have them in your life and you loved them.

My mom around age 15.  She said that the chickens all liked her- they were all looking at her!

The last Thanksgiving we had with Grandma & Grandpa Sherwood

The Thanksgiving after Grandpa Sherwood died. 
We cooked the dinner at home and took it to Grandma Sherwood's for a family dinner

Sunday, November 24, 2019

When you're a kid

Image may contain: textI lifted this from Facebook.   It's funny an yet profound.    I never thought about my parents learning as they went.  I always assumed that they "knew" what they were doing even when I thought that they were wrong.    Of  course as a third child, I guess that they had figured parenting out.  At least what they thought worked!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Here I am again!

We got home from New Orleans (my sister and I) on Monday November 11th.   At the next  day I had to report to Reston Hospital at 6:00 AM for a MUA (manipulation under anesthesia) procedure.  I was put under anesthesia and the surgeon moved my leg around to break up the scar tissue in my knee.  The scar tissue was really keeping me from gaining full mobility in my knee.

I was terrified of the procedure. I was told that I would need it if I couldn't get better mobility.  It felt like a threat!  I fully expected to be as disabled as I was after the original knee replacement surgery in the first place. I thought I'd be sleeping in the recliner again and would need to commode thing over the toilet.   Wrong! Of course, initially my knee was numb, which I credited to the drugs.   But, then it was not.   I really did feel better.  I still am cautious about bending and forcing my knee too much.  But it is so much better!  How about that!

Now to get totally recovered and get my right knee replaced.   I am in a lot of pain in the right knee.

Aging.  I know that think I about aging and write about aging.  Nick just turned 72.  I hear reports about "elderly" people on TV who are our age.  I guess we really are getting old.   I don't think I am totally in denial, but I am not sure how to "be" old.    I don't have the energy and strength I have had, but I don't "feel" old. How does old feel?

Here's a sort of answer.  When we were traveling, I had wheel chair assistance on both ends of the flight getting to and from the gate.  Sitting in the wheel chair, being driven (pushed?) I thought about my mother.  She was in a wheel chair most of the time the last years of her life.   I am older than  my mother was when she was disabled by a stroke.    Of course, being my mother and not my contemporary, I thought of her as "old".  She must have felt so mad/ depressed. angry and fragile. 

I am not ready to be old and disabled.  But I don't think my mother was either.  What the heck.  How does this happen?

When I look in the mirror, I see me.  I know that I don't look like I did 20, 30 or 40 years ago.  But I can recognize myself. Then I look at photos and see that my face has more texture than before.  Wrinkles.   More than smile lines.

Every day, even though I  say "I'm old", I feel like I am just  starting out.  Like there is so much more to do.  I don't exactly have a bucket list.  But there are still things I want to do and places I want to go.  I have been saying for a while now that when I have my new knees and am totally recovered I will become younger.    We'll see!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

New Orleans

My sister and I are in New Orleans.  We're here with the "Friends of La Leche League" (formerly LLL Alumni).    There are close to 60 of us here.

We have had meals together as a group.  We had a bus sightseeing tour yesterday that was phenomenal.  The guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining!

We saw and learned about the various styles of architecture in the city.   The cemetery was interesting.  All graves are above ground because of the high water table.

Folks went off to dinner on their own, with friends, for dinner.  We ate at the Red Fish Grill.  There were some great gluten free options.

This morning there was an early tai chi class that we skipped.  There was also a walking tour that we skipped.   We went to little place called Krystal for breakfast.    Sort of a McDonald's style with freshly cooked eggs.

The beds here were/ are way too high.  It involved a bit of acrobatics to get into bed. After two nights sleeping on these high beds we overheard that the beds could be lowered.  So we had the beds lowered.     The toilet is too low, so I asked about a toilet riser.  Well, we got a shower bench.  Oh well!

I am not very good at spacing these pictures.        I am sure anyone looking at these pictures can tell the difference between the tall bed and the lowered bed.

I am finding that I am more disabled than I realized.  That means I can't walk well or fast.  I's a combination of pain, stiffness and being extra cautious about tripping and falling.

A real highlight has been seeing and talking to Marian Tompson!  She is one of my heroes! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

All of my pieces......

This comic strip from Sunday's paper makes me think about my own situation.   I have had so many surgeries that I sometimes forget to list some when I am filling out forms with new doctors.

I asked Nick recently, if he didn't think that it's strange that I have an artificial knee.  His answer was "no, you already have a plate in your head"!     I do know that, but I hadn't really thought of it that way I guess.

My new knee isn't anywhere close to being as painful as it was the first few weeks.   It does hurt, and it doesn't have the range of motion it needs to have to function like a real knee. 

It's a strange feeling when I go up stairs.  Each step is difficult, but it feels like something pulling too tight as opposed to being really painful.

Next week I am going to have a manual manipulation on my knee.  It's an outpatient in hospital procedure.  I will be knocked out and the doctor will twist my knee in order to break up the scar tissue that is keeping my flexibility down.  I am afraid of how much it will hurt.  But I feel like it's the right thing to do so I can get my knee working like a normal knee.

Tomorrow my sister and I are headed to New Orleans on a La Leche League Alumni/ Friends of La Leche League trip.     The crown is the group's logo.    I have never been there and really am looking forward to it!