Friday, February 21, 2014

Figure Skating

The first time I remember really watching figure skating was when Peggy Fleming won the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics. She was so graceful and elegant. And I was hooked on figure skating for life.

Over time, figure skating has changed a lot. It seems like there are times that all the emphasis is on the jumps and none on the artistry and beauty that make the sport worth watching.

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, last night's winner, had the jumps. But, in my humble opinion, had none of the other qualities that I love about figure skating. There were no deep, lovely edges. No mood was set by her choreography (or lack thereof). Her spins were not particularly distinctive. It was like she just did jump after jump, with nothing meaningful in between.

Contrasting Adelina's skating with the gorgeous performances given by Yuna Kim, Carolina Kostner, and Gracie Gold, I have a wonder about the judging, which is already under fire. I guess bloc judging is still alive and well, even in 2014.

For the most part, it was a great evening of figure skating. Gracie, Ashley, and Polina showed the world that ladies figure skating in the US is a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Bring on 2018!

Sunday, February 16, 2014


My healthcare team says I am doing well. I am walking part of the time with a quad cane. I have been out to get the toenails done and the hair "did." The weather is warming up. I go to outpatient physical therapy next week to work on getting back to my version of "normal."

So, why am I crying?? I am not normally a person who weeps much. But, I find myself crying at commercials, at the Olympics, and even at these clips I find on Facebook. 

This morning I saw a clip on Scott Hamilton on Facebook, and being quite a fan of his, I watched all 10 minutes of it. I sobbed. Literally sobbed. 

I hope it is just the events of the past few weeks getting to me. The rehab experience was uncomfortable at the best of times and absolutely frightening at the worst. I have never been this incapacitated for this long. I hate having to constantly ask for help from my husband to do things I just can't do yet. I really hate not being able to drive! 

This week, I get back into my routine of teaching watercolor classes. Combined with the PT, I hope to be busy enough not to let my mind dwell on things past. 

I am telling myself that all this is probably normal under the circumstances. But, I hope it does not last much longer. 

I am running low on Kleenex.

Sunday, February 09, 2014


Needless to say, my recovery is not going as quickly as *I* think it should. After a brief attempt at walking on a quad cane and pushing myself a bit too far in physical therapy, I pulled a muscle and set myself back a few days. So, I am back on my tricked out walker with the wheels, tennis balls, and Batman tag.

I guess anyone who has surgery of this type hears all about the folks who recovered unbelievably quickly. The ones who came straight home from the hospital and were using a cane the first week. The ones who were doing almost everything they had been doing before surgery by 4 weeks.

Despite my optimism and determination, I was not this person. Not this time, anyway.

The day I was released from the hospital after my appendectomy 20 years ago (this was when they did the big incision), I stopped at Cedar Hill Cemetery to sing for a friend's graveside service. I back in school (as a student) the next Monday. I had little trouble with any of my other surgeries. Nothing prepared me for this one.

My rehab and home health caregivers think I am doing well, all things considered. But, I am not the world's most patient person. I want to be back teaching watercolor, leading the singing at my church, and doing everything I can for myself. I am not good at asking for help. But, it has been an eye-opener to see how many people really care about me and have been willing to help during this time. I am truly humbled.

I already have less pain than before the surgery. I know that I am going to be better than ever before too long. I just have to realize that I am healing at my own pace. And I have to be content with that.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


I went into my hip replacement surgery optimistically thinking that I would go straight home from the hospital. 


Due to my congenital myopathy, the surgery left me much weaker than the average person. I had to find someplace to rehab in less than 12 hours. When my two choices in Vicksburg were unable to take me, I ended up at Trinity Mission Nursing and Rehab in Clinton. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least!

For the first few days, I was unable to get up without assistance. Every time I had to go to the bathroom, I had to call someone. Talk about a humbling experience! I would be sitting on the edge of my bed for up to an hour and a half watching CNAs go by. For some, if I was not their patient, they were not going to give me the time of day. Often, my call light was ignored completely. I was thankful that I was alert, had a cellphone, and could yell if necessary! But, most of my fellow inmates were not so fortunate. Scary.   

Needless to say, I was eager to get to PT and get stronger in a hurry. I was not sure how the system worked there, but I wanted to let the therapists know that I was ready to get going. I called my friend Rachel to bring me supplies and I made a sign announcing that I was ready for therapy! 

Tracy and Helen arranged for me to begin therapy every morning at the unholy hour of 6:15. Since I was not sleeping anyway, I figured I might as well use my morning wisely. These two got me back on my feet. Literally!

I also now have an appreciation for parents who have to watch the same TV channel day and night. My roommate had TVLand going 24/7 at full blast the first couple of nights I was at Trinity. There is NOTHING more grating that the voice of Fran Drescher (The Nanny)  at 3 AM!!! I finally began getting someone to turn it off after sweet Miss Bonnie fell asleep. 

Dining was another interesting experience. The dining room manager ruled with an iron hand. We short timers were allowed to have a guest for one meal a day. But, that person had to be signed up well in advance. One of the best things about the meal was the homemade soup. But, if one was not signed up, it was  "No soup for YOU!" 

Fortunately, along the way, I met and cultivated caring people to help make my stay easier. The wound care nurses were wonderful. James, Justin, and George helped me to the bathroom when no one else would, even though it was not technically their job. Believe me, when you are hurting and desperate, you don't care WHO is helping you! And precious Krystal was my favorite CNA. She is trying to go back to school, get her nursing degree, and break a generations old cycle of family poverty. I am rooting for her. 

One of the things that was hardest about the whole experience was the lack of silence. The man across the hall had his TV on 24/7 and it was so loud I could hear the dialogue. Staff members would talk and laugh loudly outside the door no matter what the hour. And, of course, there was always the sound of food, laundry, and medicine carts going up and down the hall. I had earplugs and soothing music, but nothing could drown out the other sounds. I craved silence as if it were a drug. 

Thanks to my friends and family, Bill, my minister, Charles, Rachel (who washed my hair for me), Tammy (who brought me a large Diet Coke from Sonic on a snowy day), to Debbie and Judy bearing gifts of hugs and lemon squares and Robyn, the Little Debbie Fairy, who ensured I would have something for midnight snacks, I made it. 

I am sure I ended up in the best place available at the time. But, I hope I don't have to do it again any time in the near future. 


Mystery Meat

I have recently become reacquainted with a substance I have not voluntarily encountered since my school years.  Mystery Meat  I brought ...