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Santa Claus

Christmas Eve was the stressful time because this year we waited until the last minute before putting up a tree and decorating a house. With my recent hip surgery and my husband’s bout of bronchitis, we weren’t able to decorate earlier. But it all worked out in the end. Our Christmas tree includes this bizarre hippie merman ornament that I purchased at a local store a few years ago. I thought it was so unusual that I took photos and made a short slideshow out of it, which I subsequently posted on YouTube.

On Christmas Day itself, I basically took it easy. My husband and I unwrapped our gifts in the morning. Even though Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, I was too lazy to head out to church so I hung around home. I took an afternoon walk around a local lake because it was a relatively mild day. (No, it wasn’t a White Christmas for me this year.) Then I watched a bootleg copy of the notorious 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special (which I wrote about in my last post).

In the evening my husband and I took a drive. We visited this house that’s famous in our area for its decorating style. I shot a video of it (as well as another house across the street that I would consider the second most decorated on that block) and posted it on YouTube last year but the decorations haven’t changed much at all this year.

Then we ate a lovely seafood dinner at home that my husband cooked using beer. Then we hung around until we fell asleep.

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Santa Claus

Each year my husband loves to play this song the first thing on Christmas morning.

As a teenager, I loved this song by Patti Smith (which turned out to be her biggest hit single). It wasn’t until years later that I found out that she co-wrote “Because the Night” with none other than Bruce Springsteen. I’ve heard The Boss perform this song in concert and my Springsteen fanatic husband will probably kill me for posting this but I still think Patti Smith’s version is the best. (It’s not only better than what Springsteen has done in concert but it’s also superior to the 10,000 Maniacs’ version that was overplayed on alternative rock radio back in the 1990’s.)

When I first got out of the hospital after my surgery I was prohibited from driving. To be honest, I was way too sore and woozy to even miss driving. I was fortunate that my husband was able to take two-weeks leave from his job to take care of me because I would’ve ended up going from the hospital to a rehab center otherwise. My husband was the one who did all the shopping and he drove me to both my outpatient physical therapy and the lab where I had to have blood work done.

Once the two weeks were up, I was still prohibited from driving because I was taking powerful painkillers. I still needed to drive to the two places for physical therapy and blood work. My husband turned to our friends from both our Unitarian Universalist congregation and from the neighborhood who took turns driving me to where I needed to go. I really appreciated all the help I received because I would’ve had to rely on Metrobuses and I would’ve had to switch buses at least once in order to get to where I needed to go.

After two weeks of being driven by my friends, I was switched to weaker painkillers in an effort to not get me dependent on Percocets and Oxycontins so I could drive myself once again. It felt really great to be able to drive myself. Yesterday I was able to go to a friend’s memorial service at my UU congregation (he was a long time member who was in his 80’s and he was in good health until, without any advanced warning, he suddenly suffered a massive stroke and died). It was pretty nice to catch up with my friends during the post-service reception until I grew so tired that I decided to drive back home before I fell asleep at the church building.

Today I drove myself to physical therapy and I did okay, even though the therapy itself can be hard at times. (Every time I master a certain exercise, the therapist switches me to either a harder version of the same exercise or introduces a new exercise that’s really hard to do.) After therapy, I decided to chill out at the nearby shopping mall. I wasn’t able to hang out at that mall before when I was being driven by others because I really didn’t want to impose on my husband and friends any more than I had to with being driven to physical therapy and the blood lab place. I basically shopped around at A.C. Moore, Music and Arts, Five Below, and a party superstore that had gotten a huge shipment of Halloween costumes and decorations.

It was kind of fun being able to do fun things for myself again. I’m also glad that I no longer have to go to the blood lab to get stuck with a needle in order to get my blood drawn because I was taken off the blood thinners and I could also stop wearing the white TED compression hoses.

I’m really looking forward to the day when I won’t need to go to physical therapy any more and I can regain the ability to walk. Today the physical therapist suggested that I carry the cane whenever I walk around outside and don’t use it to walk with unless I get tired. I’m going to try that suggestion since it could lead to being able to walk once again.

Yesterday was the three-week anniversary of my surgery. I’m still making progress even though I still get tired a lot. This week my husband went back to work after spending two weeks as my caregiver and amateur physical therapist. (He seemed to relish his physical therapy role so much that I would say that he could pursue physical therapy as a second career once he retires from NASA but the only problem is that he would have to go back to school and take physial therapy courses and he said that he isn’t into returning to college.)

I’m still prohibited from driving but the good news is that various retired friends from my Unitarian Universalist congregation organized rides for me to both the physical therapy office and the lab where I had to take my blood test twice a week in order to make sure that I’m doing okay on the blood thinner Coumadin. I’m really grateful for those who gave me rides because if it weren’t for them, I would’ve had to figure out Metrobus schedules and take one or two long bus rides throughout the suburbs since Bowie isn’t located near any Metrorail stops.

I’m relieved that I had the stiches removed but I still have a raw feeling where the incision is and there are times when I feel itchy there as well. It’s going to alternate between feeling raw and feeling itchy for at least another month.

I’m still feeling tired a lot and physical therapy is getting more challenging since I mastered the easy exercises so the therapists are making me work harder. I’m also still on the post surgery restrictions (no bending past a 90 degree angle, no crossing legs, and no twisting the torso), which gets really frustrating whenever I drop something on the floor or ground in a public place and I can’t pick it up because of the 90 degree rule.

Basically I’m doing better than I was before but I’m still a long way from where I was prior to the trip to Florida back in February (when I fell and landed on my ass).

I had a packed day today. First I went to my outpatient physical therapy session followed by lunch at a local seafood restaurant followed by a follow-up visit to the surgeon’s office. The good news is that I finally got my stitches taken out today. I am totally thrilled because the stitches area have been annoying at times. I’ll admit that the pain from the stitches is nowhere near as bad as what happened to my hip prior to surgery. But, with the removal of the stitches, I’m in far less pain than before.

I’m also in the process of making the transition from using the walker to the cane. Every day I get a little bit stronger so I’m counting on using the cane exclusively by late next week.

Last night my husband took me to this cafe near our home and this morning he drove me to our Unitarian Universalist church where I met with friends in both places. I received so many well wishes that I felt both overwhelmed and humbled.

It’s so great knowing how many people are genuinely concerned with my recent adventure with my left hip. I really and truly appreciate all the positive feedback I’ve gotten. Thank you very much each and everyone of you.

I will continue with doing whatever it takes to make a full recovery so I can be a full participant in this life once again.

🙂

Even though I didn’t have to see the physical therapist today, my husband made sure that I didn’t slack off on exercising. I have to admit that my husband would’ve made an excellent physical therapist. He can be bossy and no nonsense. He is frequently pushing me to exercise even though there are times when I don’t feel like it. One of these days I should ask him if he regretted becoming a NASA engineer instead of becoming a physical therapist.

Today I went back to the lab to have my blood drawn to see how well my current dose of Cumedin is working. Between my recent trip to the hospital and the blood drawing, both of my arms have so many holes and bruises that’s not even funny. (I’ve been told that the bruises are a side effect of the Cumedin.)

I finished with the evening exercises and I managed to eat enough Tums to stop the nausea from the Oxycontin pills I took prior to exercising.

Once I finished with the exercises, my husband did the nightly changing of the dressing over my surgical stitches followed by putting the TED hoses on my legs.

TED hoses are white compression stockings that the hospital uses to reduce swelling in the legs as well as to prevent blood clots. They are also a struggle to put on compared to regular panty hoses or tights.

I have to wear the TED hoses 22 hours a day. I have to remove them for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Since I am currently prohibited from bending any further than a 90 degree angle (or else risk popping out my newly revised hip replacement), my husband is the one who has to put them on for me.

Boy are they a bitch to put on. He has avoid bunching them up while putting them on because they will dig into the skin and it hurts when it happens.

As he puts the stockings on me, I can hear him groan and complain while his face turns. He even has developed his own chant that he repeats over and over until he finishes putting the TED hose on.

“FUCK TED! FUCK TED! FUCK TED! FUCK TED UP THE ASS WITH SANDPAPER! FUCK TED! FUCK TED! FUCK TED!”

The good news is that, unlike yesterday, I didn’t have to go anywhere today because I didn’t have any appointments with anyone. The bad news: I still had to do two sets of physical therapy exercises (one in the morning and one in the evening) plus take three short outdoor walks in my walker. I get tired a lot but I have a very attentive husband who took a two-week leave from his job to make sure that I don’t give in to temptation and slack off today.

I got the results from yesterday’s bloodwork. My blood isn’t thin enough so I have to take four Coumadin tablets tonight then take three Coumadin tablets tomorrow night and the night after that. (I had been taking three Coumadin tablets every night since my surgery.)

I’ve also been napping alot. In fact, I feel another urge to nap right now.

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