Friday, June 29, 2007

Goodbye walker, hello cane

I had my first post-op visit to the surgeon this morning. They x-rayed the hip and said that it looked good. The incision is also healing well. He said to use my own judgement about going from walker to cane to no assistance.

Yesteray I phoned the Senior Center where I used to work and asked if they had a cane I could borrow for a couple of weeks. The receptionist said that someone from the local WalMart had recently brought in a few that people had left at the store. I guess they hold them for a while, but then look for something to do with the ones people don't come back for. So after the doctor visit, we went to the Center and I selected a cane.

About five minutes after we got home, both the nurse and the physical therapist from the home health agency came. The nurse did her exam (temp, blood pressure, etc) first and left. After doing the exercises, the therapist gave me a brief lesson in using a cane. I'm ready to switch to the cane, except for going to the bathroom in the middle of the night, when I'm not fully awake.

In the last few days, I have been walking a few steps at a time unassisted, and will continue to do so in the house, but I'll feel better having the cane with me when I go out. It probably won't be long before I give up the cane, as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Scarves

Three more 'random' scarves, although none of these are truly random. In the middle one, reds and purples alternate, and in the other two, I've mostly stuck with the ROY G BV sequence of primary and secondary colors. Now I'm tired of knitting (blasphemy!), and have switched to reading. Just reread The House of the Seven Gables after about 50 years. It was one I selected off the reading list in high school. Of course, I didn't remember anything about it, so it was like reading something entirely new. Now I think I'll read The Odyssey of Homer - I never did read the whole thing. I may not be able to make it through that much verse.
I got word on Monday that a cousin died Sunday night. He was six years younger than I am - much too young to die. Sure didn't help the rotten mood that the steroids had me in.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


My friends Lynn and Bob came yesterday and mowed for me. I 'paid' them with a couple of handknit scarves and a watchcap. The barter system still works sometimes, doesn't it? It's really nice to have the grass cut. It's been so dry that the grass is probably not growing much now. Maybe it won't need to be cut again for quite a while. It's raining a bit this morning, but probably won't be enough to make things grow too much.

My appointment with the surgeon has been changed to Friday, so I've got another day to wait to see what he says about my hip. I think it's healing OK, and I should be able to walk unassisted before long.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I hate steroids!

Part of my treatment for multiple myeloma is dexamethasone, which is a steroid. I only take it for four days during each four-week treatment cycle, thank goodness. It causes my feet to puff up; my hands get stiff (I think all the knitting and crocheting keep them from puffing up). I frequently get a bit dizzy when I first stand up. I have a lump moving around in my chest. My teeth hurt. My vision is messed up. And my mood changes for the worse. Of course I know that these things will all go away in a couple of days, but I hate having the side effects.

I'm doing OK with the new hip. Still using the walker, although I did take a couple of unassisted steps yesterday. I go back to the surgeon on Thursday, so we'll see what he says then. I have home health services for two weeks. A nurse came yesterday to read my 'vital signs' and take some blood. Since I'm on coumadin for three weeks, they're keeping an eye on the consistancy of my blood. The physical therapist is also coming three times a week to make sure I do my excercises. I do them when he's not here as well, but not as much as I should - I'm lazy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Random Scarves

Here are four of the scarves I've knit recently, using a lot of leftover yarn. The one encircling the others is all red and purple. I think perhaps a 'Red Hat Society' lady might like it. I'm working on another red and purple one now, as well. Most of them are 200 stitches, although on a couple, when I counted stitches after a few rows, I had a few more stitches than I thought. It's easy to loose count when casting on a large number, and for these scarves it doesn't really matter. I use seed stitch because it lies flat and it mixes up the colors better than garter stitch does. About every inch, I put in an eyelash yarn to give interesting texture. Some of the other yarns are fairly highly textured, also. No two scarves are axactly alike, even if the same group of yarns are used. My granddaughter had not seen any of them until she stopped by Sunday afternoon. She selected the one she wanted, of course. She did ask if she could have one, but I think she didn't wait for my reply. (The reply was yes, of course.)


The Home Health nurse came on Saturday to have me sign papers relating to their services. She had most of my information, but was verifying it and getting a little more. A physical therapist came yesterday afternoon, and one will also come tomorrow. I haven't been doing the exercises as much as I should (knitting is much more fun).

I had my monthly visit to the oncologist yesterday morning. In addition to the bloodwork they normally do, they checked my blood for 'thinness' since I am on coumadin. They called later and said to alternate between 1 tablet and 1/2 tablet per day. I was glad to learn that the tablets break easily. I'll only be on the anti-coagulant for about three weeks. The home health people will do the blood test next week to see if it needs further adjusting.

I'm doing some things around the house. I did one load of laundry Sunday and another one today. I used my 'reacher' to pick things up from the floor and out of the basket which was on a stool, but was too far away from the washer for me to reach without it. Transferring from washer to dryer is no problem, but getting things out of the dryer is. Sunday I was able to reach the things in the front without bending too far, but I had Dominic come and get the things out of the back. I could have used the 'reacher' for that as well, but I didn't have it with me, and Dominic was handy. The dryer's buzzer sounded just as Dominic left earlier to go to Alyssa's house. Since I don't care if the things in there this time get wrinkled, I decided to wait until he gets back and then have him put them all in a basket and carry it back to my room.

I did a half-way job of sweeping the kitchen floor yesterday, and had Dominic finish up with the dustpan. I've also washed dishes a couple of times. A lot of people think I'm weird because I like to wash dishes - but only in my own kitchen. And I've done some cooking. My friend Marcia came by this afternoon and brought a casserole, some bread, coleslaw and some frozen fruit with suggestions on how she likes the fruit. When Dominic returns, we'll have a good supper!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Home at last

And with a new hip. I didn't get home until yesterday, after having the surgery on the 5th. My incision didn't want to stop draining. On Monday they transferred me to the Transitional Care Unit. It operates in accordance with state nursing home regulations, so I had to have a TB skin test. I hadn't had one for at least two years (it was required periodically for senior center employees, also), so that was OK. It was negative, of course.

Dr Jackson took the staples out on Tuesday, which was a day sooner than he had planned to, I think, and the draining pretty much stopped.

It was very nice to get home! After I looked through a week + of mail and email, I lay down to take a nap. It was good to be in my own room, on my own bed - even the fly buzzing arouned seemed friendly. So nice to know that no one was going to come to take blood, or give me pills, or insist that I walk down the hall with them. And to be able to get up and go to the bathroom without telling someone!

A friend came to visit today and brought some spinach lasagna and homemade bread. The timer just went off, so the lasagna should be hot. I'm hungry! But I think I'll have to wake Dominic up to get it out of the oven for me. He shouldn't be sleeping now anyway.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Knitting from Stash 2007 - May

Looks like I didn't do much in May - 3 hats, 5 scarves, 2 pairs of socks, and a dozen dishcloths, for a total of 3.63 pounds of yarn. I did more reading than I had done for a while.

Don't know whether to expect June to be more or less. Tuesday (6/5) I'm scheduled for hip replacement surgery. I'll be taking yarn for three or four scarves (simple, mindless knitting) to the hospital with me. Dominic said I'd better take all I'd need because he certainly wouldn't understand what I was talking about if I asked him to bring in more. I'll be in hospital four days. Then I'll be able to come home, since I have Dominic to care for me. I'll be using a walker at first, of course, and my healing progress will depend on me - how much effort I put into building up my muscles. I'll have to learn different ways to do some things. The information packet they gave me mentions three months as the required time back to 'normal'. (Have I ever been 'normal"?)

When I went to the surgeon's office yesterday, I was expecting him to say I need the hip replacement, but I wasn't expecting it to be scheduled so quickly. I'm glad though, because I've started having back pain from it within the last week. His office is in one of the buildings connected to Western Baptist Hospital, so Dominic just got one of the wheelchairs and pushed me through to the patient registration area for me to get the pre-surgery labwork, etc. done. My appointment was for 1 pm, and it was after 4 pm when we left the hospital.

On the way home, I started thinking of things that I need to do before Tuesday. Nothing major, just little, everyday things, like laundry and changing the sheets on my bed. And of course on Monday I'll have to wash my hair, because I probably won't be able to for a while. Oh well, it will all work out.