There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Friday, May 20, 2016

Snip a little here, snip a little there......

The neurosurgeon.  Emotionless. Dry. He is all business.  I don't want him to be my friend or even friendly.  I want him to be precise....all precision and exacting...and he is.   Rarely smiles....but I got not just one but two out of him yesterday.  

Steve and I had dual appointments.  Steve is doing really well.  He has lost quite a bit of weight, is slowly using the treadmill, few snacks and portion control, and starts PT next week.  YAY, Steve!

There was a long discussion about my neck and hands.  I have severe carpal tunnel in my right hand....not so bad in my left.  But, my neck is a mess and that mess is flattening my spinal cord, thus my balance issues and just possibly some of my hand problems.  The doctor wasn't surprised that I hadn't worn the collar, but he said he rarely has a patient admit it.  No reason to fib, the collar is a bigger hazard than help. 

So, smile one.  I'm going to have a 3 level laminectomy/discectomy with a plate and 3 screws. The doc described in detail what he will be doing to my spine.  Naturally I asked him if he could do a little "work" on my neck.  He smiled and said that he wasn't very good at plastic surgery.  Next he told me about the movement limits I'll have......not bad really.  I won't be able to touch my chin to my chest or turn around to look, for example, when I back up the truck.  I can live with that.  I forgot to ask if the plate will ever be removed or if I am permanently blinged. 

He told me the whole reason for that nasty collar was to keep my totally unstable neck from being injured and damaged even more than it is now.  I could be paralyzed.  From now on since I won't wear the collar I can't use a step stool, ladder, climb on the couch to dust window sills (thanks Steve for busting me on that one), and worst of all I can't ride my bike. I am to stay on flat ground. Smile two came when I asked how soon I could start vacuuming post surgery.  One week.  My limitations after surgery will be few.  Much different from Steve's last month on doing zero. Best of collar needed. 

Surgery is "penciled" in for June 27th.  Perfect timing because Steve's daughter and grandson and my daughter are coming up for a surprise visit on Father's Day weekend.   I am actually eager to get this behind me.  My arms and legs are so badly bruised.......thank you Plavix.....that I look like  a battered woman.  I am constantly in motion, probably move too quickly and usually end up plowing into a wall or piece of furniture and my biggest nemesis is the strike plate on door frames.  

My right hand will have the ligament split six months after my neck is fixed.  It will take that long to see if fixing my neck will help my hands.  Total neck healing will take a year. we priced a three wheeled bike and last night I ate two donuts.....a maple bar and an apple fritter...they were yummy and I didn't feel one bite of guilt.  

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm all aglow and Steve is freaked

Had a nuclear scan and echo done yesterday.  One step closer to finding out if surgery is in my future. Both of the tests were painless.  The echo just left me with about 4 pounds of gel on my chest and boobs....gel that smears when trying to wipe it off with a "towel" made of plastic coated paper and the size of a sheet of toilet paper.  

The isotope used for the stress test....cardiolyte....will stay with me for about 10 days and set off the scanners at an airport, so I have a card to use should I have a travel in my future.  

Steve stayed in the waiting room for the 3 hours it took for the tests to finish.  When I came out at the end he was the only person there and I could tell he had been crying.  He couldn't talk when I asked him what was wrong.  With his eyes he directed me to a man and a nurse getting off the elevator.  The nurse was holding on to the man's left arm and talking to him.  He had his right hand on his forehead and looked really upset.  We got up to leave when the receptionist said that my husband had a whale of a tale to tell me and she laughed.  I asked if he had done CPR on someone and she said no, but he might have needed that himself.  What ever the story was she thought it was hysterical.  So......about 10 minutes before I came out, the same nurse came up to Steve and asked if he was Steve.....that's what he heard.  He said yes.  She then told him that his wife had experienced a serious arrhythmia during the stress test and would need to be admitted right away to the hospital......she told him all of this while walking him to the back where I was.  Obviously he was really, really upset.  He said he asked her if I was alright and she said this was very serious.  When they got to this particular stress test room a woman on the table screamed "That ain't my husband you idiots!" Nope, he wasn't.  Turns out what the nurse had asked Steve was.......Are you Keith? Steve did not find the episode funny at all.....he was upset and insisted that the nurse show him where I was.  He said I was relaxing with the nuclear camera/machine happily clicking away as it journeyed around my chest.  We laughed about the whole thing today, but last night as we settled into bed he said......I hope Keith and his wife are ok.  

FYI.....the nuclear camera/machine clicks 32 times in 16 minutes on its cardiac journey.  

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


My life has changed a bit in the last 2 weeks.  I'm in charge of everything....every little thing.  That's the way it was when Steve traveled all of the time.  I ran the show.  Slowly, after he retired, I gave up some duties.  Seems I gave up the wrong ones.

I'm an early morning person.  Up at 6, breakfast ready to go as soon as Steve is done taking the dogs out, feeding the deer and getting the paper.  Now I'm the dog, deer, paper person and I had forgotten just how sweet 6 in the morning really is. 

It's quiet at 6.  No turkeys or crows screeching, no cars on the road yet; just me and the dogs out in the forest.  The grass smells better at 6.  The trees are greener at 6.  The bird songs are much more beautiful at 6.  I got to see the first sweet violets this spring, the first ferns pop up (they're not unfurled just yet).   I stay and wait for the deer to come out for their 4 little pans of grain and corn.  They come from the east; slowly, not a sound made and wait to see if I'm going to leave.  When I stay put, it's the yearlings that come to the pans first.  I was surprised at that; I thought the older does would be the first ones to be piggy's.  Sunday there were 11, yesterday 9, and today 9 again.  They are just as nasty as ever.  The largest doe gets in the most kicks, but while she is acting up the smaller ones eat.

Violet is at her best at 6.  She is rested, maybe a little more aware of where she is and today she even managed to run a little bit.  Wes is his usual pony self, jumping, running and acting like he is a puppy and Pete...well, he is just little submissive Pete. 

Afternoons have become special too.  Petey has decided to be my band aid.  He goes with me to put the laundry in the dryer and then we go out to get the mail. He is a great turkey feather finder (poop finder too), and can hear the moles under the grass.  But, he is never far from me.  In the last 2 weeks I have taught him to look both ways before crossing the road....really, he looks both ways and he carried a piece of mail in his mouth for a few feet before he dropped it.  Pretty smart my Pete.

I have gotten in 2 bike rides since Steve's surgery.  They were leisurely rides with some power moments.  But, mostly I have enjoyed 45 minutes to myself.  The lilacs and syringas are blooming, and Rob's field is already sprouting little blades of sweet grass....he just seeded last week.  The Oylers moved their chicken house so I can't see the chickens jumping all over the fenced yard.  The new people on the corner....I can't remember their names and call them The Redheads....have cleared a pretty impressive garden area. The snow on the Seven Sisters is melting.  Only the second Sister is still totally covered.  I have only yelled stupid bitch to one woman driver who was in such a hurry to get to her drive that she cut me off and kicked up rocks that hit me.  I hope she heard me. 

I need to remember these moments.  I need to remember that Idaho has overwhelming beauty even when I am missing my kids so much my body aches....because, Idaho is where I am.  Period. 

Steve is healing and will eventually take back his morning routine.  That's OK.....I can always go out with him if I want to.  But, I'm not giving Pete back to him in the afternoon.  Mom and Pete; that stays.