Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April Showers

Late April 2014
As I've shared earlier, we, in California, are heading for a very dry summer; so, it's with happiness I can announce that we're having some April showers; more importantly, we're getting some good snow-fall in the Sierra.  For those Californians among us who remember draught years in the 70s, any little bit of water helps.  

Unlike the stats for many of our United States, California (most of it) can pretty well count on there being NO precipitation in the months of July through October.  It's even a rarity to have any measurable rainfall in May or June.  Now that we're coming to the end of April, we know that it's kind of "now or never" for having water to store for the upcoming dry months.  Our beautiful mountains and hills will change to golden, then brown.  That's normal.  But, what we're lacking is our storage potential.  When our storage is low, or non-existent, we have to have water rationing, which is not fun. 

April 30, 2014
Yup, here we are, ready to hop into the merry month of May.  The weather in California, for most of the spring, has been beautiful, with a few showers thrown in, to help us not despair, regarding what's probably up for us this summer . . Hopefully people will be resourceful in limiting water use and preventing forest fires.  I'm currently very concerned for all who live on the East Coast, the South, and the Mid-West with all the weather devastation going on.  I keep all my virtual friends, wherever you may be, in my prayers in this overly antagonistic year, weather-wise.

 Hope this American flag made of growing flowers fosters a little patriotism and hope for you . . . Flower Flag
Happy May, Friends!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

. . . On the Mend

Yes, it's true; the surgery's been completed and I'm on the mend.  I was a little disappointed when my doc called last Thursday to say that the components for my knee replacement would arrive Monday morning, but not in time for me to be the first surgery case of the day.  Being an old OR nurse I'd requested that, but it just didn't work out.  So, I was rescheduled for 11:20 AM.  My son, Spencer, drove me to the hospital Monday morning at 9.  There's always lots of papers to sign, etc., that I was busy from 9 -  10:30.  Then I was prepared for the 'long wait' that usually occurs when one is NOT the first case of the day.  

Just about at that time the anesthesiologist came to talk and plan the best anesthesia for me.  He suggested I have a femoral nerve block to cover pain issues post-operatively, and general anesthesia for the surgery itself.  He explained that he would expect the block to remain in effect for  12-14 hours, getting me over the hump of the immediate post op pain.  While the three doctors were injecting the nerve block, along came my Orthopedic Surgeon; his first case of the day had finished early.  That meant that my surgery would be able to start on time (almost unheard of in Operating Room occurrences).

Once the block and IV were in place, the anesthesiologist gave me IV Versed and I don't remember anything until I was being transported to my private room many hours later.  The surgery took about three hours I'm told and I awoke to a completely comfortable time.  As I said before, the femoral block was supposed to function about 14 hours; well, for me I had NO PAIN for 29 hours after surgery.  And, at that, I've only resorted to oral Percocet before I do any of the rehab exercises.  This has been, and is, just about as easy as it could be.

While I was in the hospital, my son-in-law, David, and my son, Spencer, went to my storage unit and brought my own bed to the house;  I have my own private room complete with TV, and a bathroom for my use only.  I'm being pampered like a princess and couldn't ask for more.

Thank you everybody for your well wishes - this, so far, has been a completely positive experience.

I'll leave with a couple of photos from Easter Sunday . . .
Mimi with newly engaged Quinn and Landon 
And, here's the beautiful ring.  We're all so excited and happy for Quinn, Landon, and ourselves.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Holiday Everybody . . .

Checking in with wishes that all had a wonderful holiday weekend - Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Sikh, Buddhist.  It is a time for new beginnings and I wish all my readers the happiest year ever.

For me today was a wonderful get-together for a large portion of my family at my daughter Kari's lovely home in El Dorado Hills, CA.  It's not often, and has not occurred in years, that all three of my children and their various families were here to both celebrate the Season, two birthdays, and very importantly, the marriage proposal and acceptance for my oldest granddaughter, Quinn.

Landon, her boyfriend of about three years, chose this day to honor her in front of her whole family with an "on-the-knee" popping of the question in front of all at the dinner table.  You can bet there were lots of tears of happiness.

Quinn knew absolutely nothing about it.  Quinn's family has a tradition of having each person sharing one thing that has been important to him in this past year.  Landon had prepared personalized messages that all began with, for example, "Quinn, I love how patient you are with your siblings and friends."  The round table event started with Kari.  Quinn appeared a little confused as to why her mom, then her two sisters, and on around the table, began each statement with "Quinn."  She said she knew something was going on when every single person at the table (there were 20 of us) began with her name.  Then she said she noticed that some people were laughing and crying at the same time.  She didn't have to wait long; everyone was anxious to get their statement out.  Then Landon, got down on his knees and asked the important question; but her hardly had time to get it out when Quinn said "Yes" loud enough for there to be no mistake regarding her feelings.  WE all clapped and shouted our good wishes while Landon put an absolutely gorgeous diamond ring on her had.

I'll have photos to share soon.  A wonderful day was had by all.  Landon's musician brother even put on a little concert - playing the piano and singing and being accompanied by his wife.  What a treat for all.

On another level, I know I've shared about my almost 100-year-old father-in-law, Charles Spencer Sherman.  Sadly, he passed away on Easter Eve, just had his wife about 30 years ago.  We're all thankful that we had chance to visit him over the last two months.  His brain was intact until the end; his body just gradually slowed down until he slipped into unconsciousness and passed away in his sleep.  Spence was more like a real dad to me, as my own died forty years ago.  I've loved Spence and know he loved me.  What a wonderful human being and I'm sure he's treat all the angels in Heaven with all the caring he gave us all our lives.

Lastly, I'll share that tomorrow is my big KNEE day.  I'm scheduled to have my Right Total Knee Arthroplasty at Kaiser Permanente Hospital at 11 o'clock.  Being an old Operating Room nurse, I know that surgery schedule times are 'approximate.'  It could be 11 - or any time after that.  I have reading material to keep me busy while I wait; and my daughter, Kari, has family members' assignments for 'staying with Mimi' all in place.  Tomorrow morning my younger son, Spencer, who's here from Brussels, will drive me to the hospital and stay with me in the pre-op area.  Then, Kari will give him a break and she'll be there to speak with the surgeon after the surgery and for when I wake up - whenever that'll be.  I'm a little nervous, probably more so because I pretty well know what the surgery entails.  I promise to do my best to be a good patient, follow instructions, and try to the best of my ability to quickly get on the road to recovery so I can get back out there in Floribunda and see the World.

Eleanor made her first trip out of the RV yesterday when I took her to a lady's house right here in El Dorado Hills, to be cared for until I'm home from the hospital and well enough to want my kitty on the bed with me.  Lacy will stay here in Kari's house with their 2 small dogs.  I swear Lacy knows something's going on because she's sticking to me like glue.  It'll be over soon and we'll be back in our RV where we live a very wonderful life.

My best wishes go out to all to make this Spring and Summer the best yet.  It's such a gray time to Pay It Forward.  Let's all try to do something good for someone.  If we were to do that once a day, the World would be a much nicer place to live.

Happy New Beginnings All!

Monday morning April 21st - I'm off to the hospital.  Tonight, a new knee!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


April 15th
I recently read that it would be more accurate to call citizens of the United States "Usonians" than Americans.  Usually, we are called "Americans," 

Yesterday I finally finished my taxes and got them submitted electronically.  It was quite an experience, as 2013 was the year I had to begin taking RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) from several investment accounts.  I'd used Turbo Tax for last year's taxes and it went very smoothly.  Well, 2013's experience has been challenging.  I can't say I don't enjoy the process, but I certainly fiddled around with it for weeks; then found myself last weekend with only days left to file on time.

Thursday before "K" day!  Yup, this coming Monday will be "K" Day (that's 'knife' day!).  In a way I'm kind of looking forward to it.  This last prep period has been difficult.  Without the help of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the arthritis all over my body has been in full force.  I've curtailed driving any distance in Petunia, as she doesn't have cruise control; maintaining pressure on the gas pedal becomes a small torture after about 15 or 20 miles.  Well, that'll be over soon.

This week I'm cleaning house and getting things done, like grooming for Lacy, that'll have to be put off for awhile.
I'm going to store Floribunda here on Bob and Judy's ranch while I move into Kari's (daughter) house on Saturday.  I'll be chief cook for Easter, my last hurrah before Monday.

Oh, and yesterday was the 53rd birthday of my son, Jeff.  OMG, can that be true?  When I spoke with him last evening he said his brain just can't take it in; he feels like he's made it into his 30s; but 53?  No way!  They say that recent memory goes first.  So, I can remember very clearly that day in April when Jeff came into my life.  I was barely 18 and didn't know too much about life; but, I loved him with all my heart the first time I saw him.  He was a 7 pound, 7 ouch bundle of joy; and has become a wonderful man, Usonian, husband, father and friend.  Happy Birthday Jeff.  May this be the happiest year of your life.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

More Than You Probably Wanted to Read About Total Knee Surgery!

On Tuesday I joined a group of about 8 other "bum knee" people for our "Total Knee Replacement Arthroplasty Pre-Op Class" given by the Physical Therapy and Nursing Departments at Kaiser Permanente.  It's a nice way to get all the instructions for how to prepare for surgery (mine is scheduled for the day after Easter, the 21st) before the patient has to be able to actually follow the instructions.  It gives patients the opportunity to ask questions and have some of their fears alleviated.  For me it was interesting to see the improvements that have been made in the treatment of hospitalized patients, in general, and specifically from the standpoint of the Orthopedic patient who'll not only be physically compromised and in pain, but in a hospital environment with its inherent discomforts and exposure to foreign bacteria.  [Any time it's necessary to open a bone in a surgical process, it leaves the patient particularly vulnerable to infection and complication].  The thrust these days is to involve the hospitalized patient  in his own treatment and get him out of the hospital as soon as possible.  We've 'learned' how to deal with those germs around our own homes (mostly it's our immune systems that have built defenses  to the germs in our homes); but hospitals are public places, housing patients with all kinds of maladies; it's possible for there to be a germ that our immune system hasn't yet built a defense!  From where I 'm living, at Bob and Judy's ranch, it's a 75-mile drive to the South Sacramento Kaiser Permanente Hospital; fortunately all Physical Therapy after surgery will be at a Kaiser facility only about 4 miles from my daughter's house. 

I'll 'move in' to my daughter's house probably a couple of days before surgery after I pack what I'll need and get Floribunda ready to sit patiently and wait for Lacy, Eleanor and I to return.  The problem for me in moving back into the rig won't be the stairs I'm sure, but the bending, crawling, etc. that must occur to clean and operate the vagabond lifestyle.  Who knows when I'll have that kind of mobility.  I'm diligently doing the pre-op exercises to build as much strength and breathing power before the surgery as I can, so I'll be ready to tackle the rehabilitation.  
This week I ordered a pedal exerciser that I'll be able to use for flexibility and strength of my legs and arms after surgery

This is a picture of before and after total knee reconstruction.  I've had lots of experience with this surgery - but only from the "other side of the knife!!"

I stopped taking the miracle medication called Celebrex last Monday as it "thins the blood" and makes bleeding more of a problem after surgery; so, not only does my knee hurt like crazy, but all my other areas of arthritis are inflamed.  Driving Miss Petunia has become very uncomfortable, mainly because she doesn't have 'cruise control' so I have to use my right foot all the time I'm driving; and arthritis in my spine (some due to spinal surgery several years ago) has also flared up.  So, the long and short of it is that I'm not driving any distance and things like shopping have gone by the wayside.

I 'moved' into the guest room at Bob and Judy's for the weekend because my daughter-in-law, Alice, and my granddaughters, Malia and Samantha, are staying in Floribunda; they're here for a soccer tournament.  Malia will play and Samantha, with her broken leg, will be a spectator.

I'm making a chili feed for this evening and we'll all play Mexican Train Dominoes.  It's so fun being able to include the girls (14) in the adult game.  And, I'm sure they'll be better at it than I am!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I'm Still Here Enjoying the California Poppies . . .

Happy Spring Sunday!

I'm still here in Loomis and have been busy with family activities and surgery preparation; so I apologize for being out of touch with my wonderful "virtual friends."  I hope all are continuing to enjoy Spring 2014 wherever you are.  I'll get back to posting soon.

Before I retired I always seemed to be too busy to slow down and just enjoy the wonders of nature and the view of our wonderful world.  I am so enjoying This Spring back in California . . . and we've even had some good rain.  I hope we haven't seen the last of it because we need so much more; but it's not as bad as when I got here!
Above is what our hills look like now . . . in a couple of months they'll be golden brown again and our Oak trees will depend on water deep in the ground
Our State Flower, the California Poppy is in full bloom almost everywhere you look.

New news:  Samantha, one of my son Jeff's 14-year old twins, was injured in a girls basketball game two weeks ago today.  She fractured the top of her right tibia (big bone in lower leg) and had surgery complete with placement of screws and is now recovering.  She'll go back to school tomorrow but will continue rehab for 4-5 months.  The docs say she'll be able to return to her traveling soccer team next year.  She's been a real trouper and we'll both be in right-knee-rehab mode together.