The mind of a teenage boy

Below is the resident teenager’s Christmas wish list from 2015. In the heading, he noted that it was “mostly sub twenty” — meaning less than $20 per item.

  1. A sharpening stone of some sort for pocket knives, oil requiring or no doesn’t matter.
  2. A watch with a sturdy long-lasting band (not plastic/rubber) that is water resistant to the point I could swim with it on.
  3. Fifty plus feet of para-cord.
  4. If you can find cheap waterproof or really water resistant winter gloves with a longer wrist to go under my sleeve that would be really good too.
  5. The usual cash, some sugary poison, preferably some kind of chocolate—I’ll take any, about 95% dark and under, Swedish fish, Nutella, Eggnog, or something like bit’o honey (Caramel/Cream bite size candies) No sour, fizzy, root beer flavored, ect. [sic]
  6. Beef jerky, also preferably no weird flavors, such as teriyaki or mesquite.
  7. Random items that you think I might like appreciate.
  8. And, if you really want to invest, by any means feel free to get me something really nice, a good bike, a backyard pool, some nice outdoor stuff, a horse and somewhere to keep it, a trip to some exotic place, a working lightsaber, scuba gear, a hang gliding trip, etcetera. Use your imagination, besides, look on the bright side, if you do this, the next few [years of getting me] birthday and Christmas presents might get called off for you, or I might get spoiled and demand more.

 

DSCN7126  My memory is as out-of-focus as this picture.

My memory is as fuzzy and out-of-focus as this picture of the Christmas tree.

 

You’d probably like to know what we ended up getting him for Christmas. I’m curious myself! On Christmas Day, I was one month out of surgery for my trimalleolar fracture and on some pretty strong pain medicine. I do know that we are not the proud owners of a horse and stable. 🙂

I was curious enough to look up previous orders on my Amazon account (the only way that any Christmas shopping got done). He received, in part, some new running gear. The fact I still have Amazon Prime is proof that those were some pretty strong pain meds; I forgot to turn off our free 30-day trial and ended up paying $99 for the entire year. Never mind that I was too busy to shop the special Prime Day sale on July 12th.

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What sort of  gifts have you (or your kids or someone else you know) wished for that would fit in category #8 above? 

 

The post that got away…

On Monday, December 21, I was busily writing and thinking when I was interrupted to do something or other. It possibly was related to mystery of the missing blanket, or perhaps it was because the resident teen needed to attend to his online Spanish classwork. Regardless of the reason, I was separated from my electronic appendage and this post was left unpublished.
Fast forward to the following Monday, when it was snowing (again) and yet again, my plans to blog were thwarted — this time by the opportunity to hold a sweet baby.  Nine days have passed but this entry carries the transition from constant bedrest to life beyond my four walls — and a really sweet photo of a certain grandson (taken by his mother) — so I’m posting it now.  It’s old news but still a part of the journey to healing. Plus baby picture!
So here it is, dated 21 December 2015:
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It has snowed much of today and the sky is pink tonight, with city lights bouncing off the clouds. When I was a child, a pink sky at night meant fresh snow.
The Northern Lights were visible over the weekend but I missed them; in fact, I didn’t even know about them until I saw the pictures on facebook the next day. I might live in a cave.

I had several outings over the weekend: the teenager’s band concert on Thursday evening, a Christmas party at a friend’s home (where I had to hop up the front steps, one at a time, on my “good foot”) and my first trip back to church.  By Sunday noon, I was exhausted and back on a 5-hour schedule of pain medications, with my foot elevated for swelling.
I guess you can say it has been two steps forward, one step back, but that step backward is really very frustrating.

I either hop on one foot behind a walker, which is what I do at home (safer for me than crutches, at least in my mind) or I transport with a wheelchair (how I get around away from home). The orthopaedic wheelchairs are too wide for some doorways thanks to those very helpful raised leg attachments. We got into the church yesterday but then I had to hold onto the railing and wall, and hop one-footed down a wheelchair ramp into the sanctuary because an inner doorway was too narrow. (It’s wide enough for a regular wheelchair). I am easily exhausted by such activity. With my boot off for some stretching exercises in the afternoon, I noticed that my left calve muscle is flaccid. That’s going to be a long recovery. *sigh*

Tomorrow we are getting a break in the weather, so that is when the Engineer, the Author, and Little Foot will be traveling to stay with us for a week and a half. In getting their room ready, I had H-J get out the port-a-crib to wipe it down with disinfectant and set it up.  Unfortunately, that is when we discovered that it had all of the accessories for a port-a-crib (changing station/ bassinet, canopy, etc.) but not the actual port-a-crib! This is totally my own mistake; my SIL had found/picked up these supplies for us and I mistakenly thought it included everything, despite her telling me what was really there. A quick text message let them know, and they are bringing the Moses basket this time. We do have (and by we, I mean my husband and his helpers) the changing table/ dresser set up, and the infant swing is ready if needed.  The Barefooter stripped the guest bed, washed and dried the sheets, and remade the bed for me, but it doesn’t look quite right.  So tomorrow I’ll settle into the wheelchair and roll in to “assist” his efforts in prepping the room. This will involve finding where the missing blankets have gone to and replacing them.

I am now in a “walking boot” but it will be at least 3 weeks before any weight from my foot is put on the ground. The boot is simply there to protect my foot/ankle and to attempt to keep my foot in neutral position. (it’s not there yet at all, and I’m battling plantarflexion).  I no longer panic when released from the boot for exercises — and by exercises, I mean extremely gentle stretching toward dorsiflexion plus some pitiful “alphabet” rotations — but I certainly feel much safer when my entire foot and lower leg are ensconced in the boot.

I’m hoping that holding my grandson will take my mind off of my pain. It’s certainly worth a try!

Christmas photo!, cropped for xmas letter

 

Surgery side-effects

My foot came to Thanksgiving dinner,4x6 websized

After the dishes were cleared from our Thanksgiving dinner.

My oldest son and his lovely wife visited for Thanksgiving, daring to be overnight with us, 80 miles away from their birthing hospital. My DIL is rather talented and drew this face on the bottom of my cast:

TWINS artwork on cast by DIL, teen minus glasses as model

Twins!  The teenager might have been the artist’s inspiration.

Pain is mostly under control here. I had a “wound check” today and then a new cast put on my ankle. Started having an anxiety attack, complete with racing heart, nausea, dizziness, and shallow, rapid breathing (a new, not-fun experience for me!) as the post-surgery cast was being removed. It turns out part of the problem was that it was time for my next dosage of pain meds, so I was having pain & anxiety at the same time. Oh, joy.* But we got through that.
The incisions are healing nicely — better than I thought they would look! Big, fat, “beefy” puckers but no nasty drainage. I’ve got one on each side of my left ankle, each approximately 5 inches long. I had SuperDad take a picture of one side, so if you want to see it, just ask. It just looks like a normal fresh scar, post surgery. No dead/dying skin, which the surgeon had been concerned about, so that’s good news.
My dh has been a most excellent caregiver. He sets a timer/alarm on his phone for my medication and uses it 24-hours a day. Since I’m now down to every 3 hours (was every 2 hours over the holiday weekend) we are both getting better sleep at night — until that alarm goes off!
One side effect of being on what is basically mandatory bed-rest is that my backside gets a little sore. I noticed my right hip area becoming numb on Sunday night so I’ve been working on keeping some feeling going to it (I must be pressing against a blood vessel or something). Yesterday I moved ever so slightly and it felt like a lightning bolt shot into my right hip joint. Yikes! So while that area is battling numbness, the nerve works just fine!
I’ve also been having some fuzziness and double-vision, which is another side effect of the Dilaudid. I became fully aware of it on Monday evening when I was working on the bulletin on my laptop. The Mayo Clinic website says to tell your doctor right away… so we told him when we saw him today. Guess what? An orthopaedic surgeon knows nothing about medications and their side effects. He seemed to wonder why I was even telling him about it. That shouldn’t surprise me — I discovered 3 years ago that surgeons do one thing: CUT. And I am happy enough that he did a very good job repairing my very broken ankle. I can live with temporary fuzziness and double-vision, because the pain meds are otherwise doing their job well. Hopefully those who are getting written communication from me via blog posts, facebook, e-mail, and texts can read through my spelling and predictive text errors.
I haven’t yet been set free from the 24/7 elevation rule (ankle higher than my nose and heart). I hope that next week I will be given several hours a day off from this position.
DSCN2305  Top of cast, wine glass

Look! I have a glass of wine! My dear, sweet DIL drew a wine glass for me to carry along wherever I go, which mostly meant that I could lay on my back in bed with a glass of wine. (The face shown in the other picture is on the “bottom” of my cast/foot.)

 

 

Sadly, those fun drawings are now gone, since my ankle was re-cast today. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted, and the people who saw me being pushed in a wheelchair into/through the clinic building got a smile out of it.

Grandbaby #1 has his due date today, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to make an appearance yet. For this, I am glad — I am not in a position to ride 90 minutes to the hospital, and yet the zombie apocalypse couldn’t keep me away. The good camera has a charged battery and is ready to go when we get the call.
After the trauma of my morning (I confess to downplaying the experience in an earlier * paragraph) I was very glad to be back in stranded turtle position on my bed again this afternoon. Apparently, the entire injury/surgery/recovery process is taking a lot out of me. I didn’t even discover that I had my underwear on inside-out until a few minutes ago (although I did wonder why it felt strange). Being here in my little nest feels safe — no one touching my foot or ankle or jostling me around — even if the nerves in my hip continue to shriek whenever they are pinched.
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Have you ever had an anxiety attack, or had a loved one who struggled with anxiety? 

It was a dark and stormy night…

 

Invalid selfie

First, there was the near-total destruction of my left ankle. The doctor said I broke every bone possible, and then some…

CT scan image, left ankle, webshare

CT Scan of my broken left ankle

downed trees, damaged cars

Then there was the record-breaking windstorm that swept through my town and took out our power for 8 long nights and days.

windstorm damaged house Nov. 2015, websized

A house a few blocks away from my own home. This one is a total loss.

DSCN2298 first snow webshare

And then it snowed…

I am so grateful to have a gas-powered hot water heater (we had hot showers!) and a gas stove cooktop, and a wood stove. It was still cold in my bedroom but the main part of the house was almost pleasantly warm and my live-in nurse brought me tea each morning.

Sleeping during the power outage
This is how I slept in my chilly 48° (9°C) bedroom.  I had to keep my ankle elevated higher than my heart or my nose, and I didn’t want to bump it at all — it was still broken, still shattered, and being held still in a temporary cast — so I slept on top of the bed with additional blankets.

“Keep your hand at ankle above the level of your eyes nose.”

Since we still had hot water — and trust me, I know how precious that was! — I was able to shower very carefully while in my temporary cast.
[click on pics for captions]

Our power came back on while I was in the hospital post-surgery. SuperDad brought me home on Thanksgiving Day.  Just a few minutes after settling me in, my in-laws came through the front door. They came to my room to visit with me and then they went back out to the kitchen and took over preparations for the big Thanksgiving meal.

Post-surgery, ankle cast and normal right foot 4x6

So this is my life for the next few weeks: elevation and scheduled doses of pain medications.  There’s quite a bit of hardware in that ankle:

K's left ankle x-ray, webshare

 

What are your plans for the weekend and coming weeks?

 

A St. Patrick’s Day Prayer

DSCN1352

I got home from a meeting last night to find that KCINNOTX had been thinking of me. This card was in my mailbox. Thanks, BB! 🙂

No beer was turned green in the making of this card or the celebrating of this holiday by either of us.  We prefer our Guinness unadulterated. Please pass the corned beef and cabbage!