Friday, February 12, 2016

Still...Still and Be Still...There is a Difference

It is a little before noon and it has already been a full morning. PT was a little earlier than usual to accommodate PT guy's schedule today. We mainly did resistance work and I think we are slowly but surely coming to the end of home PT. I am ready to move to the next level. As soon as he left I headed over to Academy to try a field trip there when it isn't so crowded. It looks like Academy has changed up its merchandise quite a bit and since nothing appealed to me, I went over to the shoe dept to see what if anything fun might be there. Okay, comfortable shoes are not fun but since I have tennis shoes and boots, I need to find something that I will wear here and in NC. Found some shoes on sale so we will see how all that works out. Field trip tired me out so it was back home to pay bills. Now I am waiting on Roy to get home and then a trip to Emmanuel for a haircut and I think we might just eat dinner out.

I saw something on Facebook the other day that was rather interesting. In light of Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God, in my reading the other day there was a post about staying away from still people. So stay away from;

  • Still Broke
  • Still Complaining
  • Still Borrowing
  • Still Hating
  • Still Childish
  • Still Insecure
  • Still Stupid
  • Still Not Making a Change In Their Lives
Guess there is a huge difference of being still and knowing and procrastinating on change.  It all goes back to living small lives and making small choices instead of living an expansive and spacious life that only God can give. Now this is for me, but I can see being back here in Houston how easy it is to get sucked into chaos and smallness. Nothing new under the sun. I think the still insecure and still not making change in their lives are two of the most dangerous stills. Insecurity fights with each and every person or thing, real or perceived at any hint of threat to comfort or to what someone has acquired and feels like it could be taken away...again mostly perceived. So still people go around clutching tightly, grasping at it all, trying to control what someone or something is trying to take away. Again, real or perceived. My opinion is it is mostly perception. So the insecure have to tear down others and can choose to be vocal or they can hide those thoughts in their hearts and scatter their insecurity at the deemed opportunistic times. The best is when they spiritualize insecurity and call it discernment. It is kind of sad to watch whether it be from a distance or close up. I had a parent who was and probably still is immensely insecure. They chose to attack strengths in order to produce a mass of insecurity and doubts. After a while you almost get immune to it if you are strong willed and God help you if you are not. But even if you are immune to those attacks on yourself, it is obvious and riles you up a bit when you see it happening to someone else that doesn't really know what to do with the criticism, attacks and put downs. Oops, I totally got off subject here and did a little bunny trail. Oh well.... bottom line watch out for those who are still insecure and haven't seen the light on how this can change in them and make them happier and more pleasant people to be around. And yes, I admit those insecure times happened in me but I'm here to tell you, the wear and tear insecurity takes on you...it is not worth it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

So Very Blessed

I am actually easing into the day and it is a welcomed respite. Many mornings begin early due to PT or appointments or due to the fact that I am wide awake at an early morning hour. The sunrises have been outstanding and the sky a rich golden hue. The birds are active early and they return toward the evening. The roses we planted several years ago are now so tall and it is the time of year to dead head but I will have to depend on the kindness of Roy to do that cause I don't think a short ramble into the yard is part of the whole field trip experience right now.

Yesterday, I had PT in the morning and we did a lot of resistance band work. I had to stop some of it because it was causing my knee some pain. Then I had a fun field trip of meeting Bev for lunch. We are notorious for our lunches in that they are the longest lunches ever and we don't mind that one bit. Even when we saw each other at Bible study, our lunches have always been long and entertaining. We had such a wonderful time catching up. Bev is such a talented artist and she has three alpacas, one dog and one husband. Ha!  Anyway, she made me a felted heart for tea cups and mugs. It is too beautiful to be an everyday used item. I am thinking it will be proudly displayed in the twin bedroom at the Ander House. I hope that Bev will be able to schedule some time up that way in the fall.

When I got home Chris was finishing up with the house. She had her work cut out for her this week. We were rather messy people. While she finished up in the casita bedroom, I worked on a small project to bring a couple of good laughs for a friend.

Today my friend Sherrie came over with lunch and we had the best time talking and encouraging one another. She helped me with two package deliveries too. Sometimes the courtyard makes me a little unsteady with the extra ridges and stamped concrete.

My iPhone does not know what time it is. It keeps shifting between eastern and central time. Eastern time has caught me unawares several times and I'm wondering where did the time go or sometimes it is, I am running so late.

Roy is making the bold move of putting up the walker tonight. I am only supposed to use it now when I feel really tired. Thankfully, I only feel really tired in the middle of the night when I am sleeping.  And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

We continue to count our blessings as God is doing a wondrous thing in our lives. This morning my Bible reading was Psalm 46 and once again God's Word fell afresh from very familiar scriptures. I love when that happens.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On the Right Path

The sunrise out here in Rancho de Five outdid itself this morning. Such warm, golden rays stretching across the sky. The Rancho birds are singing their hearts out this morning. Such lovely accompaniment for breakfast. Chris comes this afternoon which means a few things need to be picked up before she gets here, which I call predustination, what one does before the cleaning lady comes.

Tuesday was a milestone day on the road to recovery. My assignment, if I chose to accept it and I did, was to do a solo jaunt someplace in the near vicinity, jaunt and dismount, walk around and mount up again. I chose Target, mainly due to the fact there were a few things I needed from there. Since this is the land of a thousand minivans, I chose to go early. Thankfully, the first parking space after the handicap parking was open and I took full advantage of having more space to mount and dismount out of the truck. I was also going to Target as Cane-Nan, no walker for me...  I slid out of the truck and stuck the landing, although I forgot to throw my arms up in victory...in hindsight that wouldn't have been the wisest decision.  Anyway, into Target and I did precision shopping, not wasting a step or back tracking for any item. I felt so good, that I drove down to Home Goods and did a little walk through. Home Goods wasn't too crowded but it was a very quick stop. Next stop, the ATM for some cash and I was back home within an hour and a half. I returned home rather tired but filled with a sense of accomplishment. I'm concentrating on how I walk because PT Drew says that falling again is my enemy so I am relearning how to walk and stand.

Roy had jury duty yesterday in Richmond. Only one panel was formed but at 12:30 they let everyone go. By the time he got out of the parking garage and home it was nearly 2:00. He was rather happy to be done with that civic obligation.

This morning I am overwhelmed by the kindness of God from the people of God. Since the moment this accident happened, God's provision and protection has been all over this path. I never want to forget His kindness and I want to always remember to be available to being used by Him for others along the way. I am so thankful for the divine appointment that God had for Kim and me at The Lady of the Lourdes Hospital.  We are so thankful for the meals and for those who have been willing to drive me to appointments or just to get me out of the house. I am thankful for those who have come over and spent time with me making the days go by so quickly. We also have some very witty and funny friends and their cards have made my day. My choir friends from Newfound sent a delicious box of treats, fruit, cheese and sweet dainties. My Sunday School class at Newfound has called, sent cards and prayed for me. I have never known a more warm, fun and loving Sunday School class. They made me feel welcomed from the first Sunday I visited and I have it on good authority that they are saving my usual chair for me. Several have offered to help me with chores until I get back my mountain legs and can be functional on our driveway and yard. Today, we worked in PT on getting my hip ready to do stairs.

I am having another field trip today by meeting a friend for lunch. PT Drew told me today that the more I can do my field work, the better off I will be because it makes me stronger and adds to my endurance. Let me run the race with endurance or maybe better yet,let me walk the race...no race, just a path.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Living In Cane-Nan Now

This is an earlier morning than usual. I woke up a little after 5:00 wide awake.  It was another good sleep night and those seem to be more frequent as the days go by and for this I give thanks. Like many of y'all we stayed up and watched the Super Bowl. I'm glad Peyton will be able to leave football on his own terms.

We enjoyed a relaxing Sunday. Roy went to church and I went to webcast church. We also did a little rearranging of things that will be going back to the mountains with me. All the spring decorations went back into the closet and now we are rethinking what will go back in their place. Houston is doing a good job at keeping me cool, in fact I have been downright cold. Those closest to me are probably stunned at that statement. I figure on those days when I struggle at being warm my body is just fighting to get me well.

I think this is my last week of three PT sessions. Next week I begin two times and then graduating to out patient.Drew and I did some hard work today during PT. He increased things with the resistance band and we did a lot of practical things like learning how to get in and out of the truck on the driver's side. We did a lot of cane work today too, so I am calling myself Cane-Nan, although I don't like to be called Nan and I have been singing to myself The Happy Goodman song, Living in Cane-Nan now. Drew is working with me to change the way I walk because the most damage I could do to myself right now is to fall, again. Just like with so many things that we do without thinking, I don't always bring my foot all the way to make a step and because my sense of balance can be off, I can trip up with the cane. I do NOT want to fall again. Haven't fallen since January 18th.  Once I don't have to use the cane, I will have to remember to do these things and work on balance in a very safe manner. Drew is also starting to get me ready for stairs and he gave me a few things to do as I prepare to launch back into independence in the coming months.

Roy and I are so overtaken with gratitude for the kindness we are experiencing. The dinners, the cards, texts, the calls and visits keep me so encouraged and helps Roy so much. I am glad that I can do more each week and he doesn't have to be on caregiver duty round the clock like he did several weeks ago. This whole experience continues to open my eyes and my heart. In the mountain church I attend people there are so generous with love and care. I have watched them as they care for friends and church members by a visit or cookies or whatever the Lord puts in their heart to do. Being there is much more than the check the box attitude that can be seen in much larger churches. Of course in larger churches it almost can't be helped even with great infrastructure for small groups and Sunday School. God help you if you are in a group where someone who has control over decisions concerning ministry doesn't like you cause you will be hung out to dry. You have to ask the Lord to send ravens or angels or someone if you're in dire straights and believe me He will and does.  I am so thankful for Community Bible Study friends who have stepped in and filled the gap and of course close friends from First. A card I got last week from a friend who would be considered one of our closest neighbors in NC has volunteered to come over when I get back and help me with my chores until I am steady and ready. That blows me away because I know without help there are just going to be somethings I will have to modify to take care of things. Right now Buddy is getting the best care from Bill and he sends me videos or pics of Buddy almost everyday letting me know that she is doing well. OK, they fight over what to watch on TV but every cat wants to be in control. Buddy has met her match with this heavily decorated Navy man. He is putting discipline into her life.

Well, I better go to my set of PT exercises. I might do a little solo trip tomorrow and test out my newly acquired skills. The Dr has encouraged me to do a little driving everyday to gain back confidence.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Field Trip Saturday

There was just that one big flash of lightning and the sound of thunder a little before 5:00 am. Since my phone is next to me on the nightstand, Roy asked for me to look at the radar. The rain would be doing the Cinco Ranch split, with the worst of it north of us and a few yellows on radar to the south of us...we were in the green. So Saturday morning went along as planned. Roy got ready for Bible study and then came back with a couple of donuts for me as a Saturday morning surprise. Yum! There aren't any Shipley's in NC.

We had the joyous experience of Lisa P and CourtneyS coming over yesterday afternoon. CourtneyS came bearing gifts of black eyed peas with sausage, greens, grits and a delicious chocolate pound cake for dessert. It was a meal worthy of breaking a hip for...We all sat around enjoying our lunch and conversation. Since CourtneyS has never seen The Bad Seed, we decided to watch so that she would know the references that Lisa P and I make more times than not about one of our favorite movies. It is so interesting on many levels but just the sheer campiness of it being filmed just like the stage play is so worth it. Roy retreated to the study when we started watching it because he is not a fan. What fun and of course CourtneyS pick right up on so many things and even made us discover some things we had never noticed before. The afternoon went by too quickly but I enjoyed the time tremendously! We took a few pictures to commemorate CourtneyS seeing The Bad Seed. No longer will she say, are y'all quoting from that movie?!

Roy and I spent a lazy evening at home with both of us nodding off while watching TV. Has it come to this?
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It is now a beautiful Sunday morning. Roy has gone to church and I am enjoying the quiet and solitude of the morning. I slept very well last night because it was a full Saturday and I welcomed finishing up my book and going to bed around 10:30.

When I saw the Doctor this week he told me I could start working with a cane a little each day and to try and do a little neighborhood driving this weekend. Oh those are the words I longed to hear. So, after Roy went to Bible study and ran a couple of errands, he and I took off to the store for me to pick out a cane. I found a lovely blue one. We continued on with our day by going to Tony's Mexican Restaurant for lunch. I love Tony's! Our favorite waiter Jesse was our server. He brought out some complimentary queso and jalapenos. The lunch rush calmed down a bit and he was able to come by and visit with us. I told him of my attempts at making chili gravy and he laughed at my futile attempts so far. Before we left he brought me a container of chili gravy which we promptly froze when we returned home. Roy needed a little rest before the next portion of the day and honestly, I needed the rest as well.

I began calling this next portion of the day a field trip and I wasn't too sure I would go through with doing it. But, I thought, driving...big deal, it will be just like getting back on a bicycle, except this particular "bike" was more like getting on a too tall boy's bike. Getting into the passenger side of the truck hasn't been a biggie but the driver side and a right side hip replacement make it a bit dicey. I am not supposed to put my full weight on my leg yet. So after a few attempts I finally got behind the wheel and then I realized Peggy had been the last person to drive the truck, so the seat was still set for her. No wonder my legs didn't want to fit underneath the steering wheel. I drove us down to the Exxon station to fill up SequishShaun and then a little drive through Pine Mill Ranch to Spring Green. I drove over to the Academy store, cane in hand and we went inside. In hindsight, Academy on a weekend was not a smart choice. So many people, in such a big hurry and with little consideration for an older type lady walking with a cane. Roy had to act like a fullback and clear the way for me. By the time we got out of Academy and back to the truck, I was spent...exhausted but we both agreed I needed to get behind the wheel and complete my field trip work. It took some maneuvering but I made it. My right leg was so tired and for a brief second I thought I couldn't straighten out my foot, but it was just the way I was sitting. Happy to report I backed the truck into the driveway and then went into the house and sat down for a bit of a rest.

The intel from the field trip, I have made a lot of progress yet I still have a long way to go. There isn't any way I could drive back to NC right now and I'm not released to do that anyway. I see what work needs to be done and I will concentrate even more on my PT work I do on my own. The good thing is Roy is ready for me to drive and I am ready for me to drive. Right now I feel like I could do limited drive through things. It takes me too long to get into and out of the truck to feel safe.

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and I was able to finish my book The Swans of Fifth Avenue, a fictional account of true non-fiction events. It is outside of my usual reading but since it involved Truman Capote and he is considered a southern writer I was kind of in my genre. It was an interesting read about a style of life I have never ever coveted or wanted and really the 1970's just about destroyed the style of ladies who lunched and wanted to be seen at the finest places in NYC. Several times in the story the hard work of staying attractive for the present husband and for husbands to come showed how they married for money and for what it could bring them, thus they starved themselves and denied themselves.  You know this book was totally about "practiced" people. Those who might be wondering how to live a practiced life might like this book. For me, interesting but sad story and sadly on a much lesser scale I knew some of these types when I played tennis. I remember Pastor Gregg in a sermon referenced River Oaks Blvd in Houston, where the ultra rich live and play and he said has anyone ever driven down that street and felt sorry for the people who lived in those huge palatial houses? I could have answered yes, because I knew the lives some of those women lived there on River Oaks Blvd, who were willing to live that way to have the things they wanted but some did get smart and get away...not too many though.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mama Told Me There Would Be Days Like This

There is a bird that sings right outside our bedroom window just before sunrise. The song it sings is a loud and beautiful one. It has almost been a consistent wake up call for the past week or so. The birds in our side yard keep me entertained as well.

I am not going to lie but yesterday was a tough day. Drew raised PT up another level, which is fine by me but with my endurance encumbered, it can be difficult work resulting in my knee and foot having a bit of a flare up pain wise. Yesterday especially, I felt my knee give way a couple of times. They are letting me put more weight on my right leg and achieving that milestone is so welcomed. This whole hip recovery thing has caused a new normal that neither Roy nor I totally understand and it is a new path for both of us. One of the things he has always liked about me is my independent spirit. We observed while we dated and were first married that the whole dependent thing in some of our friends is what divided them and eventually they divorced. I told Roy that whole I don't know what to do thing while cute when first dating becomes a whole millstone around the neck thing several years down the road when the guy is tired of making each and every decision. I think Roy saw this first hand with his mother and while my mom had been totally capable and at one time had great self esteem, my father wore her down till her whole life wrapped up in and around his and she was afraid to make a move without his approval. So Roy found this attribute attractive of being independent yet knowing I could come to him. Well, here we are thirty eight years into the marriage, going on 39, and the past eight years have held lots of me being dependent on him. First with my heart issues and the resulting domino effect with my health and now after coming back and living life pre-heart virus, the whole hip replacement thing has caused me a greater dependence than even with my heart. So last night in our new normal we encountered a blip on the radar screen we didn't see coming. Several weeks ago I thought I saw a discrepancy with Mission Hospital and Blue Cross from my ER visit in December, I mentioned it to Roy, but he couldn't find what I was talking about. Then last night as we went through the mail, there was a bill from Mission and it reminded me again of the discrepancy, so we looked once again at the papers we had and then out of the blue, Roy was obviously unhappy with me over something. I will tell you this, all this hub bub made me cry, I just lost it because I could not understand why all of the sudden he was so upset and I didn't know what I had done or not done. I think this whole situation took both of us by surprise and so like we have learned to do over the years we began dismantling the pieces of the conversation to see where we diverged. My take was he had brought home a frustration from the office and was acting out the frustration on me. His take was I always paid the bills, why all of the sudden did I want him to get involved and make calls or do research. I didn't really think of hospital and insurance stuff as bills but more like a contract and there isn't anyone better at reading contracts than Roy. He thought I was being passive/aggressive and I thought he was over reacting. Then Roy said something profound, that the new normal contained three types of me and he was confused on where I was on that timeline. There is the independent, not afraid to drive by myself to NC, me; then there is Lafayette Nancy, couldn't do one thing for myself, totally dependent on him and the kindness of strangers; and then there is Katy Nancy, struggling to heal yet knowing especially after seeing Dr Smith, the limitations on forward progress are there for a reason. There is a fine line between progress and setbacks if one isn't careful. Truthfully, he is ready for independent me ( I am ready for that too) and we both know that it is tough on him having to be at the office and then come home straight into a caregiver situation. He has little margin or time for himself. There is always something that needs to be done and looking at insurance stuff was not on his list last night. We were both quick to apologize. Then we celebrated the strides that have been made the past two weeks and how slowly but surely things he has had to help me with has become less and less (thinking back to our first night home.)  That is something we do, celebrate the good, we remember the progress and then we both pledge to be like that verse in Amos, how can two walk together unless they be agreed and I will add it is great to be agreed because the walker can cause strife in the stride. We spent the rest of the evening there on the couch, he reading a mystery and me, well I was watching the conclusion of the Bernie Madoff story.

You might be thinking why did you share all of this Nancy? I will tell you why, to give hope. You see we don't fit in the box that most would like you to fit in. Roy is a great leader but he is not all macho about it. I have a streak of independence but I don't do things contrary to Roy's wishes. We don't have children. I am not a girly girl in the church sense of what a woman is supposed to be like and I question a lot of things have I pretty much let you know what I think or where you stand with me. My greatest joy is not making a casserole and Roy's greatest joy isn't building something. Roy's desire is to walk in love and please God. We didn't figure out how to "discuss" things or solve problems at some church marriage conference, we asked the Lord to show us our willful ways and how we might best do good to one another. There is nothing wrong with getting help from conferences at churches but when you don't fit the stereotype in the first place it might not be all that helpful.

This morning as I have eased into the day Roy and I have talked several times and emailed. We have moved on, forgiving and walking forward being agreed. I am reminded of John 5, do you want to get well. Yeppers!  Don't give excuses of why you can't, look to Jesus and then start searching for that mat you can pick up and move right along, nothing to see here.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Proceeding

My bandages gone, I've been set free, the next few weeks more mobility. Gonna leave that walker behind, it's becoming plain, I soon will walk with just a cane.

Two weeks to the day from a hip replacement, the staples were removed!  Hallelujah! Not only were the staples removed, I also got back on the horse to speak...Peggy and I had lunch at Cracker Barrel before my appointment. It is really fun to go to lunch with Peggy because most times someone there knows her and it is fun to hear their neighborhood stories from years gone by or teaching together stories. And I get introduced to her friends as her partner in crime. If that doesn't make your heart skip a beat, I don't know what will.  Oops, I really don't want my heart to skip a beat...well, you know what I mean. After we had eaten, we stopped by the trash receptacles to see if any of that edging was there...one little metal piece farther down from the can. I guess I can say truthfully the old adage is true, the bigger they are the harder the fall. Felled by a little piece of metal. We had a little bit of a wait since I think Wednesday mornings are surgery mornings for the Dr. Peggy kept me entertained in the waiting room by telling me stories of her staple removal on her knee. That and we kept ourselves entertained with things on FB that we thought funny.

Finally, I was called back to beyond the golden door and I thought I might have heard Peggy humming taps as I scooted the walker toward the door. First off, X-rays. Thankfully the warm up pants I had on had no metal grommets around the waist so I was spared wearing their lovely X-ray shorts. Three pics later and I was done. The nurse then led me back to the little room and placed all the instruments needed for staple removal. The doctor and his surgical assistant came in and we began discussing what happened, how it happened, treatment in Lafayette and the immediate future on the recovery calendar. Yes, it is hip to be square. I am just now thinking back to how I came to being a patient of Dr Smith's. Methodist Hospital in Katy had an information night on knees and joints and getting older. Dr Smith spoke briefly and I liked his manner and approach to care. So, I made an appointment and we began the injections into my knees. He went to the University of the South in Swanee TN and spent his growing up years in Highlands and Cashiers NC. So, he knows why I am anxious to get back to the mountains. He emphasized yesterday he wanted me to go back and be able to pick up right where I left off but maybe a few adjustments. Oooh, maybe I will get that Gator or Mule I have wanted to take down the trash and ride about in the yard.

I've done PT this morning and once again we did some of the work outside. We walked along the green space and then came in and did resistance and standing exercise. Looks like next week I will have three sessions and the week after that two sessions and I should be released to begin out patient work.

This week I have watched the OJ miniseries and the first part of the Bernie Madoff story. Now I remember why I don't watch drama before going to bed and it is because my brain won't shut off. I keep thinking about the show and how basically everyone should have realized if it is too good to be true, it probably isn't. The second part is on tonight and I will probably watch the conclusion.

Some of you might remember me asking you to pray for Shelby, who was a friend of my niece Erin. She fought the good fight and found her joy this morning around 6:50 am. I read her Caring Bridge journal just last night and read of the unexpected turn but I prayed for healing and for her to once again fight back into life. Well, she did that but into life eternal. Thankful she is a believer and she is with the Lord. But still this young woman who I never even met in person but met her via snap chat with Erin profoundly impacted me. Praying for her family in these tough days ahead.

Nancy's Monablog