3/16/2013

Signs Of Spring!

 
 
So here I am three weeks in, since my foot surgery.  I am going crazy with the confinement.  My trusty companions are my crazy crutches.  I have used these off and on for ten years, since my RSD diagnosis.
 The first two years I was on crutches only.  With two years of physical therapy graduated to my trusty cane.
 When I have flares and my leg/knee/foot are causing me too much grief, these are my 'go to' help.
They make me smile and they make people I encounter smile as well.
 The constant gray skies and cool winds and threat of rain/snow are getting too me as well.  So the sun started to peak out and I called on my best sidekick Shelka and told her we were going to look for signs of spring!!
 We found this pretty ground cover, peeking up through the detrius of winter..can't wait to see its full glory.
 AHA! Look!  tulip leaves pusing through the pine cones, sharing space with baby scottish pine trees.
 Vinca vine trailing through the same flower bed, under a glorious pine tree.
 Oh My! Rose bushes pushing out sweet, tender green shoots and leaves along side of winter branches.
 Looking up to our beautiful french pussy willow tree.  This tree is over 30 feet tall.  Our middle daughter helped her daddy pick it out for my Mother's Day gift some 20 plus years ago!
 Oh be still my heart!  Crocuses  are opening their petals to let in the fresh scent of spring and adding their faint smell to the cool air.
 
I SEE you sun!  I know you are lurking beyond the gray cast of late winter/early spring.  It is the teasing of new life and new days ahead that make me feel less antsy and confined.
I can't drive for another month or maybe more but at least I can go outside when the weather is calling me to explore in my own yard.
I hope wherever you are, whatever the weather or hiccup in your day, you have the hope of a new day, new circumstances or just some tiny confirmation that life is never stagnant.  God is showing me that "Yes, this too shall pass."

3/08/2013

My newest Project..Altered books

 
 
Good Morning  Everyone!!  Today is another gloomy, gray foggy day...BUT  it is happy and light inside!  I decided to give you all a break from posting any more medical pictures for a while!  HA!
 
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and good wishes.  I am feeling so much better two weeks in now from my surgery.  I am taking fewer pain meds and feeling oh so much like me again!!  DH is happy I am on less medicine.  It makes me have the weirdest dreams---not many nice ones or happy ones and I often wake him up several times a night crying or carrying on with hallucinations.  Poor HIM.
 
I do remember bits and pieces of my raves and dreams and am thankful I DONT" like this affect.
Since I CAN"T stay idle I had planned on working on some altered books to give as gifts.
When cleaning my basement this fall, I found a box of these encyclopedias and they were on my list of to do's.
 
 
 
 I have 12.  I started by tearing out sections of pages to make the books smaller on the inside so that embellishments along the way won't make it too thick to not close.
 Then I started taking sections and punching holes to later tie with ribbons.
I cut random sections into different shapes and even folded some.  Then I started painting pages or gluing fabric or scrap booking paper over pages.
The Internet is full of vintage posters/postcards/images that are free and can be printed right away.
The first book I have finished is for my hair dresser.  Eleanor is retiring this month and I love her dearly.
 I covered the outside of the book with one piece of fabric, using Alene's tacky glue. I hand made the satin rose out of a fabric piece and pulled other trims out of my stashes.
 
 
I glued scrap booking paper to the front inside cover.  You can paint it or embellish it any way you desire.
 I have quite a stash of vintage magazines from the early teens to 1950's.  I love the ads.

Different shapes of sections of pages add interest.  I always believe in the 'add more' philosophy when embellishing. I finish each section of pages with some sort of lace trim and ribbons.

 You can use a certain color palette when planning your book over all or use random bursts of colors.
                              A few pages I just left plain and let the picture/ad to the talking.
 I use buttons, millinery, broken jewelry, game pieces, tokens, ticket stubs etc to embellish.  Anything is game.
 
TA DA!!!  I took this to Eleanor yesterday when I had my last appt with her.  She cried and while my color sat on my hair, she read the different pages out loud to everyone else in the shop.  They were all fascinated with the ads/pictures I was able to find.  I was happy it made her happy.
I have 11 more books to go!!  I have 11 nurses who were involved in my care when I had my surgery--perfect count----now to get busy!!!
 
Hope your day brings lots of love your way.  remember the smallest bit of sunshine can be found in the gloomiest of days.

3/05/2013

Hallus Rigidis Arthrosdesis(or stiff toe)

 
 
This is a reminder that the below content is not for those who easily get squeamish when looking at medical pictures........................... 
 
So this is  my right big toe---or in medical reference--- my great toe.  For the past year, this toe has been causing me no end of grief------it looks rather plain and unassuming, but let me tell you it is OTHERWISE.   After weeks and months of limping along, not being able to wear a normal shoe, showing swelling and redness, this toe has worn me down.  After two attempted cortisone shots, one kept the pain at bay for 7 weeks......HOORAY!   So I jumped back in the pool to exercise and swim  and BLAM  I was relegated to wearing my slippers once again.. two weeks in the pool undid all the good.....  so two weeks ago I had to have an arthrodesis..........in other words  a plate and two screws in to hold my first big toe joint immobile. 
 
The combination of wear and tear for a 63 yr old athlete, runner, nurse, and ad in a few elements of RSD and the joint is worn out and needs to be replaced.  Let me tell you, great toe replacements are not as effective as other larger joint replacements.  The immobilization is the best way to go.
 
SO I went to the hospital and through Day Surgery entered into my pact with those that are smarter than me. 
Before the surgery could start, I had to have a nerve block done.  This is done into the popliteal (back of the knee) nerve.  The nerve runs down the back of your leg and branches out into your foot.  Blocking this nerve kept the serious pain away for 50 plus hours.
 
The numbing medicine is put in this bottle shape container worn around the waist.  It is a vacuum pump technique that delivers the medicine to the popliteal nerve.  It won the most affective medicine award.  Keeping that nerve blocked alleviated so much of the pain. I was taking oral pain medicine around the clock as well.  
 
 After the surgery, my foot and toe was wrapped in gauze and an ace bandage.   Then I wear this shoe 24/7 and it allows me to bear weight on my heel. The shoe is very light weight but even up on it for a few minutes make it feel so heavy. I also use crutches and that helps me be a little more mobile.
Basically what it feels like, is that I am wearing a concrete block around my foot.....the dry kind,  not wet. ;)  It has been very difficult to find a position that allows me the most comfort...but DH's recliner is the BEST!  It is either that or bed.........I have tons of pillows in the bedroom and the living room to accommodate " the elevation of the concrete block."
This past week, I was having a difficult time with the pain control and had to go into the office so the Dr could check my foot out.  The dark lines are pen marks he used in order to tell him where the skin met on either side of the incision, so that he could line it up when he sewed it back together.
This is the final X RAY showing the joint and how it looks now.
 
I am still taking pain medicine around the clock and sleep a lot more than normal.  I am trying to cut back a little on the medicine, during the day.  John was off work the first five days, then another three days in a row.  He has been so sweet and helpful----he is ranking way up their with brownie and angel points, I tell ya!! I have lost it a few times and he has taken it in stride.......the dear man that he is.     All of our kids live out of town so they all feel bad they can't be here but know their DAD is the MAN to hold the job down.
A few of our friends have brought us dinners and that goes such a long way in helping.  Food always tastes better when loving hands have prepared it, dontcha think?
 
I have been slowly working on projects ....both before the surgery and now after.....so will post some of those pictures next time. 
 
I hope  this day is sun filled and full of love from friends and family.