Sunday, January 24, 2016

Health Update

It's been  nearly two months since my back surgery (November  25). In this space of time, I have had some struggles. On Christmas Day, I was so spaced out from narcotics that Peder drove me to the ER and I wound up in the hospital again. It was that day when they did an ultra sound on my left leg, an MRI of my brain, and finally, a chest x-ray. The ER doctor then told Peder he should go on home because he was going to admit me for observation. Once in a room, the doctor came in to tell me I had no blood clots, had not had a stroke, but that I had pneumonia. The next morning I had an MRI on my left foot because it was very painful on the top and on the outside part of the ankle. I was released the next day and went home with an antibiotic. From that day on, I didn't take the heavy duty narcotics.

My problems weren't over, however. What was going on with my foot? I had an appointment with my primary physician who went over the results of the foot MRI. He said it showed tendinitis of the top portion of my foot and referred me to a podiatrist. Since then, I have been walking with a walker or a cane and have been resting when possible, and elevating and icing my foot. This past week my podiatrist has been in communication with my spine surgeon. I'm hoping some physical therapy and a cortisone patch will be ordered for me this next week. In the meantime, I continue to rest when possible, but did return to work last week (40 hours). It was very tiring, but so good to be with my co-workers, and to be out of the house.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

My Great Grandmother's Blouse

Some years ago I was redecorating my bedroom, doing it in "red work," which is an embroidery style from the 1880's - 1920's. Only red thread is used for the embroidery. For my accent color, I chose a light green. It was during this time I had made a visit to my Aunt Liz's house. While there, I spotted a light green blouse hanging decoratively on a cabinet. I asked her to tell me about it and she said that it was her grandmother's blouse, and then she offered it to me. Of course, I accepted it! And then she went on to find the memorial card that was distributed at her funeral. My great grandmother was born in the mid 1800's, so to still have this handmade article of clothing she made was an honor for me.

Elizabeth Jane Austin
Born March 1, 1847
Died November 16, 1914

Notice how tiny the waist is. Due to this, Aunt Liz and I determined she must have made it in her late teens or early 20's. This means the blouse has withstood since the Civil War!

The fabric is a cotton, and she lined the front and the back with a fabric of white/gold print. She threaded orange string into the cuffs to form the ruffles. All of it is hand-sewn – button holes and all. Oh, and the buttons don't match. There are little, age holes in the back of the blouse, but none in the front or on the sleeves.

To the right of her blouse (stuffed with paper) is a photo of her and her memorial card. I really treasure these items. Not long after I got the blouse, I found this unique hanger at an antique store.

Friday, January 01, 2016

Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year, 2016! Where does the time go? And why does it pass so quickly?

Yesterday two of my dear friends, Nancy and Laurey, came to my home in the mid-afternoon, to clean out my shoe closet to find the professionally made shoe inserts and their molds. I need to take these to my podiatrist appointment this coming Monday. What troopers these gals are: taking the unwanted shoes to a charity and organizing my summer/winter shoes. Also, they found the inserts and molds!

They brought the makings of an early New Year's Eve supper (tater-tot hotdish—my request—and a delicious jello/fruit salad). They even brought apple pie for dessert and a sparkling drink for toasting after watching a movie.

After supper, we moved into the cottage and I suggested we watch Calendar Girls. Laurey thinks she may have seen it a long while ago (movie came out in 2002), but Nancy had not. All three of us enjoyed it so much. And it was a pleasure to be in my neatly organized cottage (Thank you very much, Rachel!).

We donned hats and/or beads for the finale of the evening (early evening  – about 8:30 pm). I sure enjoyed saying "Good-bye" to 2015 in this way.

L to R: Laurey and Nancy

Nancy, modeling the golf umbrella she got in Europe years ago

Yours truly and Nancy with our celebration hats

Yours truly and Laurey (she didn't want a hat to mess up her hair)

Nancy and Laurey joining in the toast

More Health Challenges

After having the back surgery the day before Thanksgiving, things were healing pretty well, except for my left ankle and top of my left foot. I even went back to work (mornings only), but I was feeling some discomfort. An MRI of my back on the 18th of December showed the surgery went well, but medication was given to relax my leg nerves and to keep away any moderate to severe pain (narcotics). As the days went by, the narcotics were building up in my system and by Christmas Eve, I was not myself. After going to bed that evening, I started having some acid reflux, so got up to take some Tums. Such a simple thing: sitting on the little bench in my bathroom and reaching to the back of the medicine drawer for the bottle. But I had trouble finding it and pulled harder on the drawer, which fell out and knocked me onto the floor, hitting my arm on the shower rail and bruising my right foot. I struggled to get up and turn on the light, and then struggled some more to get the rails of the drawer to line up with those inside the opening of the cabinet. I returned to bed for a somewhat fitful night.

Sometime the next morning I heard my I Phone receive a text message and picked it up, but couldn't recognize anything on it - which button to touch, how to read the letters, etc. So I set it back down and went back to sleep. Later I heard the sound of another text, but decided to ignore it. At 1:30 pm (I was still sleeping from the night) my phone rang and I answered it. Heidi was on the other end and I told her I was so confused that I couldn't make sense of anything. I was crying and telling her I was afraid I would never see her again. "Mom, you're not dying!" she emphatically said to me. But what I meant was that I wouldn't recognize her again. I really thought I was losing my mind. It wasn't long after that that my phone rang again. It was Rachel on the other end. She said they were on their drive back to Virginia and had texted me a couple of times but got worried when I didn't answer. I repeated my situation to her.

I don't know which of them called Peder, but it wasn't long after that he arrived at my house. I was awake then and he and I sat down to eat something and talk a bit. During that time my friend Nancy Carlson called and suggested we call my clinic to talk to whomever was on duty, which we did. The nurse recommended we go directly to the ER at my local hospital.

Once there, they took me and Peder to a room to do an ultrasound on my left leg to rule out any blood clots. Then they took me to a room for an MRI of my brain. Following that, I had a couple of chest x-rays. By then, it was about 9 pm so they told Peder he should go home as they were going to keep me overnight for observation.. Once in my room, a doctor came in to say I had no blood clots; the brain MRI looked good; and I had pneumonia. Also, I would be keeping my previously scheduled MRI of my ankle and foot the next morning.

The ankle MRI showed tendinitis on the top of my foot and plantar fasciitis. The latter I have have battled before.

I saw my primary doctor earlier this week and the pneumonia is nearly cleared. I have an appointment with a podiatrist Monday. Yesterday two of my dear friends helped me find my professionally made shoe inserts at the back of my shoe closet. I'm wearing them this morning, and so far—so good!