Sunday, February 23, 2020

Do as I say!

Where to begin?  I am teaching a new course this semester in business communication technology.  It’s going OK.  This past week, as I was preparing for next week (because I’m struggling to stay even a week ahead, unfortunately), I read a lot about best practices for blogging (for business purposes).  Clearly, KYLady has violated all the best practices with her own personal blog.  I ramble.  I have no central theme to the blog (this, that, and the other about life and the world is a very broad scope).  Posts are not submitted at predictable time intervals.  My post headlines are a complete mystery at times.  Proofreading happens sometimes.  Tagging happens sometimes.  This will be a Do as I say, not as I do lesson, for sure. Of course, not too many people on this planet even know my blog exists, and certainly it would not be something I tell my students (or anyone else) to go take a look at.

This week, I embarked on a great adventure with my class.  Honestly, once I made plans to go there, I thought it was not uncharted territory for the University #1 system.  We began playing with Microsoft Teams. As I was configuring the Team, every question I posed to our on-site “expert”, she forwarded to the system “expert”, resulting with an answer like in theory, it should work like this..  Clearly, this technology was bastardized for our use case, implemented, and released into the wild with not enough vetting.  Oh well, so far, about 50% of my students have tested the water and it’s going OK.  I am encouraged that there will be some value in what we are trying to do.

I promised a photo of my mini-succulent garden in the skull planter.  As it turned out, the skull was smaller than I planned for, so I stuck one succie in its own little teacup planter.  The results are OK.  Having plants in my office makes it so much more pleasant to sit in.  They make the place feel a little less cold and stark.  There are 7 potted plants in my office right now.  

My succulents
My new hip is doing great so far.  I’m still doing physical therapy twice a week, for how much longer, I don’t know.  There will be reassessment this week to see if there’s anything else that can be accomplished.

Last night, Someone and I went to Lexington to watch UK Cats play the Florida Gators (it’s college basketball, in case you’re not a fan).  It was a great game, especially because we won.  Our seats were near the roof of the arena.  The stairs inside the arena are very steep.  I was grateful for the stair railings. Whereas normal stairs are easy for me to use like a normal human, these steep stairs caused be to go back to the way I did stairs right after surgery – one at a time, good leg up\good leg up and back leg down\bad leg down.  No doubt people behind me loved that, but too bad.  I noticed that heavy people and many of the “older” people had as much or more trouble than I did. 

In a TV time-out, a banner unfurls over the little student section.  
Other than the stairs, we had one little incident to remind me that I’m not as good as I used to be.  Someone was so eager to get to the arena (we had to park about five blocks away), that he kept walking way faster than I could keep up with him.  It’s not like we were pressed for time – we had two hours until the tip-off.  I offered to send the tickets to his phone so that he could run ahead and enjoy those extra minutes of noisy ambience, but no, he just kept stopping and waiting for me to catch up (with that sulky, impatient look on his face).  Anyway, we were waiting to cross a busy street and there was a break in the traffic.  Someone grabbed my hand and said “Come on” as if we were both going to dash across the street in this short window of opportunity.  He pulled me off the curb – fortunately I hit the ground with my good leg and then broke free from him as he ran across barely beating the oncoming cars.  Idiot.  I could have never made that!  A few moments later, the light changed and everyone who waited crossed safely.  Someone is like toddler sometimes.

Today, we took Gracie for a hike.  It was great to get out into the woods again.  Our February has been wonderfully mild.  We heard an owl in the woods...that was the highlight for me.  Owls (all raptors, really) are marvelous birds.  The trail we took today is hilly with lots of rocks and tree roots to navigate.  Part of it winds around the lake under pine trees – my favorite part (and that part is easy walking).  I was able to go about a mile before turning around.  Perhaps next time, we’ll try a little farther.  Baby steps – I’m getting my life back.                                 


On the Michael Tygart Trail.

More trail (around Greenbo Lake) - Gracie always checks to see if I'm coming

Sunday, January 19, 2020

overdone


My surgery was four weeks ago, yesterday. At two weeks, I stopped using a walker, and about mid-week last week, I stopped using a cane. No cane, but I’m still hobbling around.  When will the limp go away – everyone is different, so says the physical therapy folks. The longer you walk with a limp before the surgery, the harder it will be to stop limping.  Well great.  People have been telling me I walk with a limp since about 2012; long before I ever believed them.

Things were going totally great with recovery until today. I wanted to go to Walmart and get some “stuff”.  I hate Walmart but there are just some things our Kroger doesn’t have, like towels, which was the main thing on my list.  Our towels are all old and really tired...or maybe I’m just tired of using our old ratty towels.  Hindsight is 2020...I should have just ordered off Amazon and let it be...but no, old KYLady decided to get out and see towels in person so that she could pick the color accurately and feel the weight of them.

Someone LOVES Walmart (like you have no idea how much he LOVES Walmart).  He was delighted that I wanted to go and said he’d come with me.  OK...and he wanted to drive...OK.  We get down there and the place is a zoo, because it’s Saturday.  Without considering my condition, he parked where he always parks, at the very end of the parking lot.  I should have objected, but I thought the walk would be good for me.  He even asked if I wanted him to move the car closer to the building, but no...I wanted to walk.  By the time we got to the doors, I told him he could pick me up at the door when we left. 

Then into the madhouse we went.  The store was re-arranged from the last time I’d been in there.  We had to wander a bit to find towels.  I selected some nice ones – soft and thick, sort of a ashy aqua color.  We made a pass through the soap and shampoo aisle, and then to check out.  We did not have to wait too long... thank the Lord.  My hip was getting pretty achy by that point.  We walked out and Someone said he’d bring the car up.  Well he did...about 20 minutes later.  It was raining and cars were waiting on parking places...it took Someone forever to get up to the front of the building...while I was standing there all that time because there was no place to sit out of the rain.



So, ever so slowly, we made our way back out of the parking lot and finally got near the road to turn out of the chaos, when a car zoomed up beside us, honked, and motioned for us to roll down the window.  The kind driver reported to us that there was a huge bulge on our tire.  Sure enough, there it was, like the size of a softball.  Someone bought his tires at Walmart, so we just drove around to the car maintenance area.  Someone ran in and they told him it would be about a 30-minute wait.  Long story short, we parked in the line and went inside to wait in the customer service area...lovely, hard metal benches were all they had.  About 15 minutes of that and I was wishing I’d thought to bring some pain pills with me (I’ve not taken anything stronger than Tylenol since the first week).  An hour went by and there were still several people in front of us.  I was beyond done at that point.

We don’t have Uber or Lyft in our area (and only minimal public transportation services).  I called for a cab and that was going to be a 40-minute wait. In the meantime, Someone called Emily who was on her way to work.  She called her boss and detoured to come and get me (I cancelled my cab).  My angel of mercy!  I was nearly in tears by the time I got into her car.  Home, a pain pill, a cup of hot tea, and now I’m back to normal.  Lesson learned.  As it turned out, Walmart’s 30-minute wait was more like a 150-minute wait.  Someone’s tire was under warranty, so no charge, at least.  He got to "enjoy" Walmart for a very long time.  I’m grateful that the man in the parking lot was kind enough to chase us down and warn us. 

Emily saved the day

This past week, because I’m getting around better, I’ve been taking a plant into my office every morning. I won’t be taking anything giant, although there is plenty of room for giant plants.  It’s just too much trouble and stress on the big plants to transport them, and then I’d have to bring them home by mid-May.  I bought a fun pot that looks like a skull over Christmas.  Initially, my plans were to put ivy in it, but my mind changed today.  It needs to be a small succulent garden.  Coming soon...I will share photos when it’s finished.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

gratitude


Thank God that I’m a healthy person. It’s very easy for a healthy person to take their good health for granted, but having survived this recent surgery (total hip replacement on December 20), I now have much greater awareness of what good health means when something big comes along.  To be completely honest, I had more tests and more “health care” in the month before surgery than I’d had cumulatively over my entire lifespan...including birth of a single baby and birth of twins. Truly, I am blessed, and I intend to make more effort to remain as healthy as I am.

This was my first-ever surgery.  To say I was a scared wreck that day (and the few days leading up) is an understatement, but I did my best to be brave and remain chill.  Someone was stressed out enough as it was, and it was certainly not in my best interests to add to his stress level.  Everything I knew about surgery was direct from friends’ stories and what I’d seen on TV shows.  What a pleasant surprise it was (or maybe my positive impression is because of the good outcome). 

I was wheeled into the operating room which was much like a freezer.  The lady pushing my gurney apologized for the extreme cold.  I had no vision correction at the time, sadly.  I remarked that I wished I could get a clear look at the equipment and tools.  She said I was better off not seeing it because it scares most people.  A team of people met me in the operating room and they rolled me up beside what looked like a tilt table of some kind, with breaks in the table so that knees could be bent or the person could be placed in a sitting position. Behind me, somebody was moving heavy metal objects that clanged together.  I asked if they wanted me to slide over onto the table.  The anesthetist said no, that people would move me onto it after I was asleep.  I lamented that I would have tried harder to lose weight if I’d known people were going to have to lift me.  One lady told me not to give it another thought – they oftentimes move people who are 300 to 400 pounds onto the table. 

They put a mask over my face and told me to breathe deep.  The last thing I heard was the anesthetist say my oxygen level was at 100%, and now she was going to put something in my IV to make me go to sleep.  When I wake up, it will all be over.  Sweet dreams...  She was right.  I remember nothing of the recovery room, but a nurse woke me up in my room and it was all over.  Easy peasy (for me, anyway). Nothing hurt, I was alive and well, and Jerry was standing close by. 

Fast forward, 15 days later (today), and I’m well on the road to recovery.  Yesterday, I graduated from walker to cane, and I was able to put my own socks on.  Today, I was able to tie my shoes.  Woo-hoo!  Tonight, I’m climbing the stairs so that I can sleep in a bed rather than on the couch, and tomorrow night, I’m taking a real shower (instead of washing up in the sink).  The only thing I still need help with is putting on and taking off those F’ing TED hose off my operated leg.  Good leg, no problem; bad leg, no way.  Erin has been home since I got out of the hospital and has become expert in helping me.  She went back to school this evening, so now, Someone will have to step up to the plate.  God help us.   

I start back to work Monday morning.  Tomorrow, I’ll take a short drive over to the bank to make sure there are no issues with getting in and out of the driver side, and to put some gas in my car.  We have one week to get ready before the semester starts.  Even though I got a lot done before leaving for Winter Break, there is still much to do.  I have one brand new class, one class with new course materials, and then the other four classes will be just as I taught them last semester.  University #2 has no winter break so my online classes there have been going on throughout my recovery.  Work is good...I like it.

Erin took down all the Christmas decorations yesterday, boxed them up, and carried them to the basement.  The only thing left to take down and put away are the outdoor garland and lights.  It has been pouring rain the past few days, and our porch is slippery when wet.  I asked Erin not to bother and we’ll just leave it for a few months down the road when I am able to climb a ladder again.  We will not be turning the Christmas lights on, and the garland is more winter-seasonal than Christmasy. It will be fine to leave up until spring.  Erin has been such a blessing to have at home these few weeks.  She has helped me (and Someone) with everything.  

My blessings