Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Onward and Upward

This is the last week of my post surgery.  Six weeks is a pretty standard timeframe for recovery from most surgeries.  I have a doctor's appointment for next Monday.  I am still dealing with soreness and stiffness around the incision.  I don't recall ever having this much discomfort the last time for this long.  I am 8 years older which is probably contributing to it. Maybe I need some additional PT.

That aside, I was up early to begin the day with our company.  I had a French toast casserole ready for the oven so when folks started to stir I popped it in the oven and cooked a pound of bacon to go with it.  We had a nice breakfast and once finished, Kristin and I started making two pumpkin and a cherry pie for Thanksgiving dessert.  I used cherries that Ted and I picked in Traverse City MI last summer.  Next up was getting the marinated green beans ready.  Last for the day was the cranberry jello salad.  Of course then the kitchen needed to be cleaned and the dishwasher emptied.  I had been on my feet over six hours and wasn't even dressed yet.

Kristin and I finished setting the table and it looked very nice.  I was not sure of my numbers because there were a couple people recovering and others with fluid plans.  We always had 7 eating dinner with us and right then it stood at 9.  I set the table for 10 because there were two separate single folks who may or may not have joined us.  Regardless, I would make it work.  With Gerre bringing a 25 lb. turkey it was not a problem!

Ted and Larry had gone to the gun club so we ladies all got ready and when they returned we headed to Brio to have a very late lunch or early dinner.  Either way, Larry treated us all to a very nice meal.  I imbibed to the tune of two glasses of wine with dinner.

We were going to walk through the lighted display at the ice rink but my muscles were objecting big time.  After a quick stop at the mall, we headed home.  A pain patch on my muscles and a pain pill (which I haven't taken for days) were first up.  I crashed on the couch and quickly felt much better.

I had a good night's sleep and was up by 7:00. After breakfast, first up was peeling the white and sweet potatoes and then Ted and I peeled the shrimp.  I had my cheat sheet telling me at what time I had to put different things in the oven.   Once the drinks were iced and the appetizers ready we were able to sit for a bit.  

Three o'clock was the bewitching hour and all our company arrived right on time, 10 in all.  I had all the dishes under control and Barry proceeded to slice the turkey.  It was so moist and tender.

It was a great meal if I say so myself.  Everyone cleaned their plate.  The cherry pie was gone before either of the pumpkin were cut!  We chatted over coffee while the first dishwasher cycle ran and then made some doggie bags to go.  After everyone left we emptied and filled the dishwasher again and I immediately fell asleep on the couch.

We had been concerned about the weather but the reports kept changing so we kept our fingers crossed.  Thanksgiving was fine and Friday dawned warm but cloudy.  After quiche for breakfast we gave the kids my car to go to the mall.  No way did I want to go there.  This gave me an opportunity to straighten up a bit and run a load of laundry.  Once I was dressed I took a nap on the couch!

When it was dark we headed to the Magical Lighting Lantern Exhibit at Sam Houston Raceway.  This is apparently the first time it has been exhibited in the US and will run for 52 days.  Imagine our dismay when it started raining while we waited in line to park. It stopped shortly and was dry the rest of the night.  But the rain had turned everything into a wet, muddy mess.  There were no handouts to show you the best route to take so we wandered around until we thought we had seen all but the rides and midway.  

The exhibits are beautiful.  The Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House, Taj Mahal, the pyramids, Under the Sea, Dinosaur Land, London Bridge, Chinese Zodiac Signs, etc.  I had my photo taken with the Rooster, my sign.  There was a special Houston exhibit with all our sport teams, a NASA rocket, the rodeo, etc.  All in all an enjoyable evening except for the mud!
We stopped at our favorite Mexican restaurant before going home.  I have umpteen take-home boxes filling the refrigerator from our various meals out.  The packing commenced and the scale was brought out to see if the Christmas gifts purchased put any of the suitcases over 50 lbs.  Initially it appears things are OK.

I stayed out of the way so the showers and bathrooms were available to the others.  They stripped their beds and I started laundry right away.  By the time they left I was putting the towels in the washer and took the last twin set of sheets out of the dryer to put back on.  While Ted drove to the airport I took the pads and leaves off the dining room table and put that back in order and straightened up other odds and ends.    We are back in business!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

And So We Begin Anew

Success!  I finally slept in bed for the first time in a long while.  Trying to sleep on my side with nothing supporting my back sent my hip into overdrive.  It would only take seconds and I had to get up so I had been sleeping on the couch with my back up against the back of the couch.  That worked but I was anxious to get into my own bed.  The PT suggested I take my pain pill at night, not in the morning, and it worked!  I was not as stiff and sore so I didn't need that pain pill in the morning.  I can only pray it continues to work as my muscles get strengthened.

I ended my PT by taking a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood with Katena.  She discharged me and I am on my own.  Two things continue to bother me.  The muscles above the incision are always very sore in the morning but loosen up as I walk.  I think it must be some way I lay while sleeping.  The other is a hesitation before I take a step.  I call it getting my leg in gear.  Or as Michael Berry says on the radio "Time to lock and load!"  It may just take more time for all that new stuff to get firmly attached.  After all, they did saw the top of my femur off and shove a titanium piece down in it!

We have been getting ready for Thanksgiving company and dinner.  I put the suitcase racks in the guest rooms and made sure there was space in the closets to hang things.  Then I cleaned the refrigerator out and also the pantry.  Ted went to the grocery after I pulled out my recipes to see what I still needed.  Gerre and Barry are bringing the turkey, dressing and gravy so the rest of the meal is the easy part.  Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, cranberry jello salad, rolls, pumpkin pie and cherry pie made with cherries we picked in Traverse City last summer.  I already have the table opened up with the pads and tablecloth on.  I sat the chargers and plates out and folded the napkins.  I will wait to put the glasses and silverware out.  Dusty crystal or tarnished silver is not pretty!

The weather report for Thanksgiving went from 75 and sunny to 75 and rain.  Friday is supposed to be rain!  I bought tickets to the Magical Lights show at Sam Houston Raceway and I am not sure how this will play out.  I am going to inquire about the ability to change the date in case the weather is just too bad.

Saturday night we went to church and then attempted to drive to Cracker Barrel.  It took us longer to get there than it did to eat our meal due to an accident and the traffic back-up.  When we came out it was cold, cold, cold!  I was happy to get home and get under my blanket on the couch.

The weather has turned unseasonably cold for our part of the country.  We had to turn our furnace on. My sister in law Carol has had a health issue but came home from the hospital on Sunday.  We took dinner over to them and stayed to visit.  When their kids started calling we came home.

Monday I drove myself to the hairdresser to get rid of my gray hair that is streaking through big time!  Cindy came in on Monday since she won't be working on Thursday.  Lucky for me since Tuesday will be busy with our company flying in that night.

I was busy Tuesday getting all ready for Kristin, Larry and Maureen's arrival later in the evening.  With the house in order, the groceries in, the French toast casserole ready for Wednesday breakfast we were off to a really busy airport where they arrived right on time.  And thus begins the holiday season of 2015.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Week Four

Recovery Road is in sight!  Wednesday Ted left me alone to attend the men's lunch and I did just fine.  But I did get a headache in the afternoon so I kept a low profile all day.

I had PT Thursday morning that ended in a walk with Katena to the cul de sac and back.  She said I am doing great and next week I will be discharged.  She sees no need to ask for an extension.

I had about an hour to rest before Norma came by to pick me up for the ladies lunch.  Even though I can get around fine, it is very tiring for me and the incision gets very tight and uncomfortable.  I don't want to push too hard and end up causing a problem.

We did receive news from my brother Dan that his 15th grandchild arrived on Veterans Day.  He was welcomed by his two sisters and named Gunner.  Babies, babies and more babies.  We are awaiting grandbabies #94 and #95 of Ted's parents.  This includes grands, greats and great-greats!   Babies R Us and Bed, Bath and Beyond (showers and weddings) know me on a first name basis!

Out of 15 ladies we had 3 for lunch!  Medical issues continue to plague so many.  Pacemaker, dental bridge, hand surgery, bruised coccyx, etc.  It was a nice lunch in that Merry, Norma and I got to know each other on another level.  It is hard to have those deeper discussions in a large group.

While I was gone Ted attended the layout of a camping friend who died after 10 years in a nursing home.  I see his wife at the Senior Lunch when I work at the Lutheran Church.  She knew I had surgery and said not to worry, she will see me at the church in December.  If I knew the lunch crowd was so small I would have suggested we cancel and attended with Ted.

When we both returned, Ted went to "shoot a hog" at the gun club.  He has tried several times and so far the hogs are winning.  I just told him not to bring one home.  These wild boars are so destructive and there is open season on them all year.  Isabelle came to clean so we are off to a good start of the weekend.

I talked Ted into getting a haircut at the salon I go to.  His haircuts at the local barber just don't cut it for me.  So Friday we both went and his hair looks so much better.  Cindy did a terrific job.  Afterwards we were heading to dinner when the news broke about Paris.  All I can say is "There are none so blind as those that will not see."  It is so frightening to imagine what lies ahead for our children and grandchildren.

We stopped for dinner and received a phone call from Tommy and Susan.  We called them back as we drove home.  We all were so angry about Paris!  Once home I watched Amazing Race, my favorite show.

We attended church on Saturday and then I drove us to Connie's to play cards.  I can feel it in my leg when I move from gas to brake but now, for short distances, I am OK to drive.  Ted won at his table, but I, for lack of a 7 of Hearts, did not.  It was late when we got home.

Ted shot skeet on Sunday and then we met Terry, Carol, Vicki and Steve (their old Indiana neighbors) for dinner.  Afterwards we played cards.  Again, Ted won and I didn't!

Sunday night I was finally able to sleep in my bed.  I was very stiff in the morning and stood in the shower under real hot water to loosen my hip up.  I drove myself to play Bunco without incident.  More and more baby steps.

In the afternoon we hooked up the trailer and took it to get two new batteries installed so we will be ready next month.  I have no trouble driving but it still hurts swinging my leg to brake.  I have given up the narcotic pain pills and pretty much given up the other pain pills but I think it will be necessary on busy days to consider taking one before I start out.  

Tuesday is my second last PT visit.  I will have one more on Thursday which is the first day of Week 5.  I think it is time to return to normal life now.  I am still very stiff when I wake up and my hip hurts when I am on it too long but at 70 I guess you need to deal with some aches and pains.  Thanks for listening this past month.  It felt good to know others were interested in my progress.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week Three

PT was at 9:30 Wednesday and I am doing great they tell me.  I can walk slowly by myself but it hurts and eventually I give in to limping.  The cane takes the brunt when I use it so I will continue with it for awhile.  

I did a load of laundry and wrote out thank you cards to all our food and flower contributors.  And that was pretty much it for my day.  I stayed alone for awhile when Ted went to the grocery for a few things, staying put while he is gone so I know I won't fall.

We finished the steak and chicken kabobs Judy brought the day before for our dinner.  And I watched Survivor and NO football.  We are both getting bored but we will just have to be patient for another few weeks.

Ted drove me to get a haircut, only my second outing since surgery.  It felt so good to get it done and look human again.  It was about 1:30 when we were finished so we stopped at Whataburger for lunch.  That worked out OK and I was able to use the handicapped restroom with no difficulty.  I used only my cane for walking.

It tired me out so I took a little nap when we got back.  Shortly after 5:00 Marleah came with vegetable soup and muffins for our dinner.  Ted loves soup and he pronounced it Good Stuff.  She stayed for a visit and we all enjoyed that.  Later on Cleveland played Cincinnati in football so it was exciting to see the two Ohio rivals face off especially since the Bengal win made them 8-0 for the season.  I slept through must of it though.  Going out just wears a girl out.

BORING!  That was Friday.  I am about to lose my mind.  I pick up the few things in the morning and one by one (since I only have one free hand to use) I put things where they belong.  I can get my own coffee so Ted sleeps in and I use my IPad for email, banking, etc.  Once he is up I can be a bit more adventuresome in moving around and he stays with me while I do my PT.  After lunch the whole afternoon and entire evening stretch before us.  He did leave to check the batteries on the trailer so it was back into the recliner for me.  After dinner the TV shows were good so that helped pass the time.  Next week is looking better so I just need to hang in there a bit longer.

Saturday was the wedding we missed in Michigan.  Our daughter Kristin was Matron of Honor for her friend since age 8, Sheetal.  Friday night was the traditional Indian Garba and the wedding ceremony was Saturday.  Kelly, Pat, Kara and Bill were there too.  Everyone was so disappointed we couldn't make it but there was just no way.

Traditional Indian dress.

The wedding venue.

Congratulations, Sheetal and John.

Judy came by on Sunday to bring lunch and take me for a ride while her husband golfed and Ted went shooting.  It was a glorious fall day and I welcomed the chance to get out into the sunshine.

On Monday I had PT early and then Gus and Melissa drove all the way from Austin just to take us to lunch before they head home to Michigan.  We usually try to meet half way but it wasn't in the cards this time.  I thought we would have to skip but they said they would just drive here.  And they paid for lunch!  There was no talking them out of it.  Such wonderful, faithful friends.

I received this photo of my great-great nieces and nephews taken at the lake house this summer.  We spent the 4th of July with them.  They are all so cute and fun to be with.  Jameson, Maddy, Morgan, Lily, Jemma and Lucas.

Jameson and Jemma's Daddy works with my nephew Dave in operating the fireworks for the Bengals and Colts.  Ted is jealous of the field access they have!

I had a doctor's appointment today and tomorrow I start Week Four.  They took an x-Ray of my new hip and all looks good.  For now I will finish up my PT this week and next, do my PT on my own on days the PT doesn't come and then until 12/1 when I have my next doctor appointment.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week Two

Thursday morning I woke up because I couldn't get comfortable no matter what.  It was just 6 am.  I want so much to sleep on my side but for now neither hip is cooperating.  I got up and ate a bit of the pie so I could take a pain pill.  I can't do much with one hand in the kitchen so it seemed like a good idea to me.

I went to the couch and fell back to sleep until around 8:00.  PT was coming so I got up to clean myself up for the day and put a few things in order.  Everything takes me so long and I tire so easily.  PT went well and I think she is moving me to just twice a week starting next week.  I have to do it myself on days she doesn't come.  Some moves are easy enough, others harder.  What surprised me is trying to exercise my left side which is fine but in doing so you are asking the right side to support you. Then you can really feel it.  I hang on for dear life doing them.  I am still not steady enough to go without my walker.  She wants me to graduate to the cane in the house.  I will wear the belt that Ted can hold on to while I walk with just the cane.

Isabelle came to clean amidst all the chaos and Judy stopped by with dinner. It was from a new French restaurant that I didn't know anything about.  She brought soup, quiche, salad, croissants and pastries.  It was fabulous, great food.  I need to check it out further to see if I can take my neighborhood ladies there when it is my month to choose.

On Friday when I started my PT on my own, my right leg quad cramped.  Trying to get out of a recliner with a new hip and Charley horse is not easy!  I put ice on it but every time I tried again I could feel it starting to pull so I just stopped.  I will try again in the morning.

We finished Judy's leftovers for lunch and Esther came by with some beautiful roses and to visit.  She stayed about an hour and that was the extent of our excitement for the day.  

Saturday morning Susan called and asked if they could stop by since they are heading home on Sunday from the campground.  Since we were going nowhere I told them to come on over.  We had a nice visit and talked about them coming to Mission while we are down there.  They did it once and we had a great time.  When they left I got into the shower and this time washed my hair too.  Then I attempted my recliner PT and got the same cramping.  So I just moved on to the walking/balance/stretching ones for now.  

The rest of Halloween was quiet.  Despite Ted's optimism that just maybe we would have trick or treaters and bought a bag of candy, none came.  We are 13 years, zero trick or treaters!

I finally went to bed when no matter where I sat or laid was comfortable.  I managed sometime during the night to get up on my left side with my foam thing between my legs keeping my knees apart and more than 90 degrees from my hip.  I hope this is a turning point in my healing.  I slept until 8 am, got up for a pain pill, cookie and coffee and then went back to sleep until 11!  Awesome sleeping.

Sunday was all football.  I am glad Ted has something to watch all weekend but I tire of it quite easily. I talked to my sister in Cincinnati, Eileen in Florida and our friends in Michigan.  Everyone is checking up on us.  Absolutely nothing else happened here the rest of the day.

PT was at 9:30 Monday and then we had no visitors at all.  Ted had to actually make dinner.  Tuesday, however, was busy starting with PT at 9:30 followed by a shower and Ted getting ready to leave for the day.  Gerre came, and then Jennifer, to babysit me.  We had a nice girls day, lunch together and at 4:00 Judy came for the second shift. 

Of course she came laden with food that will last us a couple of days.  I had a salad sampler plate that was delicious and allowed me to take just the second pain pill of the day.  She fixed herself a plate and we watched some TV until Ted arrived home around 10.  I am overwhelmed with the caring and generosity of our friends through this time.

Where was Ted all day?  He had to pick up a fellow at the airport, go to lunch downtown, attend a meeting and then attend a dinner before dropping his passenger off at his hotel at the airport.  It was a long day but he so needed to get out and talk shop and sports with guys!  I was visualizing him doing a cartwheel out the gate but he said that didn't happen.

So Week Three starts today with me down to 2-3 pain pills a day (versus 12 they say I can take!), walking inside with just a cane, sleeping better and doing small things around the house.  I started laundry by leaning against the hamper and using my picker upper thing to bring each piece to me so I could turn it right side out and then drop it in the washer.  Ted did all the transferring after that and I eventually folded it.  Once he carried it to the bedroom I put it away.  Baby steps in getting back into a routine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

First Week After

We were home by late Friday afternoon and got all my things gathered on a table near the recliner.  I didn't want to stay in bed all the time and at first the couch was too low.  Poor Ted had to get up with me every two hours that first night.  I don't know where all the liquid was coming from.

The PT lady came Saturday morning to assess my needs and do the paperwork so she wasn't here too long.  Since we were up and down all night we both promptly fell asleep after she left.  The phone ringing at 1:00 woke us up.

Late in the afternoon Terry and Carol brought us dinner before they went to church.   Ted really enjoyed the ribs Carol made but my appetite had not returned so I skipped dinner.  Our second night was a bit better in that I only got Ted up once.

On Sunday Carol and Terry stopped at Popeye's and again brought dinner.  I ate two wings and a few spoonfuls of sides.  I think my medication has a lot to do with my lack of an appetite.  Ted, on the other hand, is so grateful for and enjoying all this food.  He has been very busy being nurse, kitchen help, and getting everything I need.  He doesn't get to sit down much.  We have watched lots and lots of football!

PT came by Monday morning and Ted used the opportunity to run across the street to get water and a few groceries.  I did really well and she could see an improvement in just those two days.  Gerre came by to visit and brought us her homemade sausage ziti.  Ted was going to stick it in the oven at 5:00 when John showed up laden down with bags from Spring Creek BBQ.  It was all ready to go so we switched gears and had brisket and turkey.  I was able to eat a bit more than I had been so we have lots left!  I told John he brought enough for us to throw a party.  What wonderful friends and family we have to help us out.

Tuesday was a busy day.  I had both PT and a doctor's appointment.  I got totally dressed including makeup before PT so I would be able to rest afterwards and before needing to leave.  That in itself took a lot out of me.  I did all my PT and then rested before climbing into my Expedition for the ride and long walks to the doctor's office.  My incision looks very good and everything else is right on schedule. Then there was the climb and the ride back home.  

Because we had so much food left from John the day before that we asked Terry and Carol to come over and eat with us to help make room in the refrigerator.  I tried to help get things on the table and cleaned up a little afterwards.  And I paid for it dearly on Wednesday.  I laid pretty low the entire day.  Late in the afternoon Jody brought us a homemade apple pie because she knows it is my favorite.  She knew I was resting up and didn't stay long.

To end our first week since surgery we ate ziti, salad, bread and apple pie.  We have certainly had lots of good food to choose from.  Now I hope today's rest will get me back on track because being sore and tired is no fun!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

This Week

I had my surgery Wednsday and came home Friday.  Everything was pretty routine.  I did attend four PT classes while in the hospital and am now having them come to the house for the time being.  The facilities  and staff were excellent and I would have no problem recommending the Joint Center to anyone.

Everyone has been very helpful offering help, food, staying with me, sending flowers and cards, etc.  There is not much to write about but I will give you periodic updates.  It will be a quiet blog month.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tomorrow Is The Day

Sunday I decided to straighten up Ted's "room."  To say he didn't appreciate it is an understatement!  I bought matching clear bins so all his things are visible but uniform with no wasted space.  If there is an empty spot he will find something to set there.  When there isn't an empty spot he starts piling things up like containers sitting in the doorway.  I didn't throw anything away and It looks much better.  I think when he can find things easier he might come around.  Next up - the garage!  But that will have to wait until I am back on my feet.

My Bunco group met Monday and I was presented with another birthday cake and more birthday cards.  My sister in law Carol had a cake made and she and Penny the hostess coordinated the surprise.  This has certainly been the year of celebration cakes.  It is fun being married 50 years and turning 70 all in the same calendar year.  This group is a great group of gals and I was overwhelmed with their thoughtfulness.

After Bunco we went to vote early.  We had requested mail-in ballots but only Ted's arrived.  Of course mine indicated I had received a ballot by mail so it took two phone calls and a form to be able to cancel the mail-in and be allowed to vote.  Despite Ted's having arrived last week I bet mine shows up this week.  I have to shred it if it does.

Today I did the laundry after I put on clean sheets as directed in my booklet.  I have to shower tonight with special soap, put on clean PJs, get in the clean bed and then do it again in the morning.  After dinner I received a call saying my arrival time has been changed from 7 to 9 and my surgery pushed back.  Eventually we will get this done!

Monday, October 12, 2015


It was time for our Canasta group to start up again.  Everyone was still busy or gone in September so we were actually getting started a month late.  Unfortunately it was sort of a repeat of my ladies lunch.  Geri arrived using oxygen, Michele was in a sling from rotator cuff surgery, Teri is having eye surgery and then there is my hip!  And this is a younger group.  Anyway I came in the middle of the pack again where I always end up in this group.  We play partners and a different one each of four games so you are not necessarily the master of your own destiny.  But for $1, who cares?

Tuesday was my final pre-op doctor's appointment.  He said we are good to go with nothing coming out of the tests to indicate otherwise.  So I went to the nail salon to get that out of the way.   I should be OK in that department until I can drive again some weeks down the road.  We had roast chicken for Sunday dinner so I made a pot pie with the leftovers.  I know this is something Ted won't make while he is doing all the cooking.  

Isabelle was due on Thursday but called on Tuesday night to ask if Wednesday at 10:30 would be ok and I said yes.  At 1:00 on Wednesday I called and she said no she was coming Thursday!  I asked at 10:30 and she said no 1:30!!  I think I will just bang my head against the wall.  At least it won't hurt once I stop!
She finally came at 1:00 on Thursday and the house was cleaned.  I wrote two and four weeks out dates on a piece of paper for her.  I don't think her English is as good as I assumed. Saying yes does not mean "I understand and agree" obviously!

We met Terry, Carol and their son Ken for dinner.  She is having follow up doctor appointments and had spent all day in Houston.  It was the only chance we had to see Ken.  

Friday I attended a General Meeting of Forum where I did the devotional and spoke on Gift Distribution for the Women's Shelter.  It was wonderful to have so many give me hugs, promised to pray and offered to do anything I would need after surgery.  Unfortunately we lost one of our best members this past week and she will be sorely missed.  She was one of the most talented and accomplished gals I ever knew.  May she rest in peace.

In the evening we met Gerre and Barry for dinner and the theater.  She brought my birthday gift but I had walked out without hers!  Dinner was good and the play was so funny.  We really enjoyed this one.  We also saw friends we hadn't seen in quite some time.  They were guests at the play of our other friends, Gene and Jennifer.  All in all, it was a good day.

Saturday we had to stop by the RV place and pay our rent for the last quarter of the year.  Then we went to Randy and Brenda's for a birthday lunch for Randy.  He is Ted's shooting buddy and had open heart surgery while we were gone and coded twice on the table. It was a blessingto be able to celebrate another birthday with him.  Afterwards we drove by Gerre's to drop off her gift.  We gave it to Barry and said we couldn't stay.  We wanted to go to church and that's just what we did.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Year of Celebrating Coming to a Close

Thursday was my neighborhood ladies' lunch.  October has the most birthdays (4) and Jeanette always hosts this outing and bakes for us.  We had delicious decorated chocolate cupcakes after our lunch.  That should be the end of my year of cake.

Our 4/24 anniversary celebration in Texas

The cake for the Class of '63 birthday weekend at Nashville, IN in May since we all turned 70 this year.

The anniversary cake presented at my family reunion in Pigeon Forge TN in June

Aboard the Disney Fantasy for our family celebration.

What a tremendous blessing this year has been.

It took three different spaces to hold all the birthday cards we received, the mantle and both niches.  We are so blessed with family and great friends.

But real life lurks around the corner in that our ladies group is suffering different medical issues.  Debbie is still recovering from rotator cuff surgery, Gracie is having her hand operated on because the fingers have closed into her palm, Norma was hospitalized for blood clots in her lung, Paula's husband is awaiting bone marrow transplant after 18 months of treatment, Jeanette's husband fell at church and broke his elbow and I am getting a new hip!  I would need a new lunch group if I wasn't part of the problem.  

had an appointment with my GP on Friday to get a clearance letter for my surgery and have my bloodwork done to renew my cholesterol and BP prescriptions.  It appears we have the type and dose figured out now.  I have now done all I need to for my upcoming surgery except one more doctor appointment to go over pre-op results and then pack my bag.  

Isabelle hadn't arrived by 4:30 on Friday so I called her.  She didn't come because she didn't know if she was supposed to!  Picking the date and writing it on the calendar in front of her two weeks ago didn't count.  She gave no explanation as to why she didn't call and ask.  The bad part was I was home all day alone and could have done what I could myself because we were hosting Shanghai Saturday night.  It made for a busy Saturday.

Ted vacuumed for me which took care of the front of the house and I ignored the guest bedrooms that no one uses at the back of the house.  While Ted worked at the gun club I cleaned the kitchen, breakfast area and family room.  I got my drinks and snacks all set up.  I had a Shanghai on Game 5 catching everyone which catapulted me into first place.  I won big!

We went to church Sunday morning and stopped in the hall after Mass for coffee and donuts.  Friends we met when we first moved to Texas were there too.  I worked with Bev and another lady Betty in starting the group, Senior Pals.  We were invited to join their family on a 50th anniversary cruise in 2007.  When I greeted Bev she said "I don't remember you."  I said my name and she shook her head no.  When Ted brought our coffee I asked if she knew him and again she said no.  Then Bill said she has Alzheimer's and they have had to move to the Conservatory, a senior living complex.  She knows her children but confuses their spouses and doesn't know who the grandchildren belong to.  It was so sad to basically lose a friend right there before my eyes.  Nancy Reagan said it best "the very long goodbye" for those closest to them.

To all my friends and family:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Getting Things Ready

I am usually so busy that when I clear my calendar I don't know what to do with myself!  The house is clean, the laundry and ironing done, bills paid and I have cooked dinner two nights in a row!  Ted has taken over much of the cooking so between him and eating out, I don't cook too often.

I have been doing the pre-op exercises as shown in my info book and hopefully that will help my recovery.  

Thursday I had my pre-op appointment which included urinalysis, blood work, EKG, BP, heart rate, weight and height.  There was lots of paperwork and many instructions.  The night before I have to shower with a special liquid soap, sleep on clean linens in clean PJs with no pets in the bed!  Then I have to repeat that the next morning.  And we have to be there at 7 am.  I will be attending PT class with all the others getting new joints while in the hospital.  Party Time!

Friday I had a Board of Directors meeting followed by a much needed haircut.  Then I made my way home through what seemed like two dozen school zones.  It took forever.  We had made arrangements to visit Tommy and Susan at the campground and have dinner.  The traffic was so awful that we all decided to stay close by to eat rather than fight the traffic. Saturday was Susan's birthday so we took her a cake and had dessert back at their motor home.

Terry had been on a golf trip in the Carolinas and the group broke early because of Joaquin.  Not much golf during a hurricane!  Ted had been scheduled to pick him up Sunday evening but was working at the gun club on Saturday so I went to get him.  He was so happy to see 72 and sun after his soggy week.  After church that afternoon we all went to one of the best steakhouses in our area to celebrate my birthday.  We had a wonderful dinner together and they gave me a very generous birthday gift.  We talked about 1961, the year when I started dating Ted and they were married.  We have all been together a long, long time.

Ted usually shoots on Sunday so Susan and Tommy invited me to lunch so I wouldn't be alone on my birthday.  When I told Ted he said he told the fellows he would not be shooting so we both went to lunch after Susan presented me with a pot of beautiful bronze mums.  We both have Landry cards and with Ted, my and Susan's birthday in one week's time, we both used our birthday reward.  Our bill was less than $5, theirs less than $10.  Another nice birthday gift!

Monday morning I answered a phone call from Kristin on Ted's phone.  She said my phone was going right into voicemail and had been since Sunday!  I inadvertantly turned on Do Not Disturb.  It was then I found out how many birthday calls I had missed.  This new phone is taking some getting used to.

I worked my last event on Tuesday until after I recover from surgery.  It was the Senior Bingo/Lunch at the Lutheran Church.  It was a nice affair and the ladies did a lot of running for me throughout the morning.  I do have a meeting to attend and then I will be out of the loop until November sometime.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Decision Made

I did literally nothing the rest of the week except kept another appointment with Dr. B.  I told him I stopped all the medicine but my cholesterol pill.  He said that explained the drop of 35 points in my BP.  It was obvious to us that I would not be able to control my hip situation with normal anti-inflammatories.  And Dr. C had warned me that you can ruin your kidneys, liver and stomach taking them long term.

I knew this fall was the best window of opportunity I had to get my hip replaced.  So the decision was made and 10/21 is the date.  I had done a good job of keeping my calendar cleared but Ted hadn't.  He has lots to do this month.  I told the doctor after 10/20 would work and he said that was perfect.  We need the time for insurance approval, pre-op testing and he had one spot left on 10/21.  I hope that is God's way of saying it is time to do this.

Afterwards we had lunch at Willie's and stopped at Kohl's to get Ted a new belt.  I wanted one of those pedi things I have seen advertised on TV to smooth the skin on your heels.  We found them both plus a pair of shoes for me before coming home.

I checked my calendar and only had one appointment to cancel, beg off hosting Shanghai at the end of October and switch taking food to a meeting from November to October.  This timing allows Ted to make 2-3 business calls and keep his commitments to Mike at the gun club too.  

I slept better than I had in a long time.  From 10 pm to 7:30 am.  Unheard of for me!  I think the weight of the decision allowed my brain to rest.  It is hard to sleep when your brain never shuts up!

Saturday we were invited to meet our camping friends in Seabrook for dinner at one of their favorite spots.  It meant not going to church Saturday night so we went Sunday morning.  It took us a good while to get there but it was a great time with the four of them and really good food.  Susan brought a birthday cake for Ted's birthday and we had a fun time.  We planned to go to the Boardwalk but we learned it was Beerfest so it would be very crowded and a long walk from any parking.  Since I never know how long I can go before the hip gets the better of me, we decided to pass and came back home.

We went to church at 9 am and Ted left afterwards to visit his friend Randy who had open heart surgery before continuing on to the gun club.  I straightened up then went to Walgreen's to pick up two prints I had made.  I was talking to Eileen on my phone when I picked them up and did not check the envelope.  Sure enough, when I got home, I had an 8 x 10 of a bride and groom I don't know and none of my family!  I called, they reprinted my order and I made a second trip.  

We were invited to Terry and Carol's for dinner to celebrate Ted's 71st birthday that was today.  We had a good visit but came home by 9:00 because Terry has a 5:30 am flight to Myrtle Beach to golf.  Their brother Kevin will be meeting him there along with other Cincinnati looks.  I hope they have good weather.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I took the new BP pills W-Th-F.  By then I was retaining water, a side effect I had been warned about, couldn't sleep and felt like my body was buzzing.  My pressure was way up Saturday morning too!

I had enough!  My BP was perfect in May when I was at the doctor before all this pill crap started.  So I decided except for my cholesterol pill that I have taken for 10 years, I was not taking any medicine.  Maybe not the wisest choice but I know how I feel and it wasn't good.

By Saturday evening when we went to dinner with Terry and Carol after church, I was feeling much better.  Sunday morning, after lots of bathroom breaks through the night, I felt like my old self again.  My plan is to monitor my blood pressure a few times a day, deal with any hip pain with rest, exercise, heat, cold, Tylenol.  If that doesn't work then maybe it is just time to get it replaced.

Ted had his end of season luncheon for his shooting group.  He made BBQ and added a pound of chopped brisket to it.  I made beans for him and he bought potato salad.  Not too much trouble.  While he was gone I started getting things ready for my Bunco group due here on Monday morning.  I used some of the blueberries we picked in Michigan to make muffins.  I also went to the store for tea, lemonade, fruit, quiche makings, etc.  The hard part is having the house in order, Bunco tables up, food ready and yourself dressed by 10 a.m,

At 6:00 Sunday evening we went to the visitation for a friend who succumbed to brain cancer after a two year battle.  She was only 64.  Then I learned another friend's 40 year old daughter died from cancer too.  This is all so sad and it is hard to stay upbeat.  My prayers are with both families.

When we returned from the visitation we were invited next door for the evening.  The couple have three homes and a house sitter for this house.  All three of them happened to be in town at once and wanted to talk to us about visiting Michigan.  We had a very enjoyable visit and appreciate getting to know them better.  All of us are gone so much I thought maybe our house sitters know each other better than we know each other.  But apparently not!

I met my 10:00 deadline Monday morning with Ted's last minute help making our bed, emptying garbage, etc. and then made himself scarce.  I have no idea where he went!  It was the start of our 15th year of Bunco, there were three subs and we had a great time!  Needless to say, I was pooped and took a nap in the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Medical Week

There are 5 days in a work week and I have 4 days with medical appointments!

Monday was the dentist.  They had called me in June when I was due but she phoned while I was working at the Thrift Shop.  By the time I got back to her it was too late to schedule before we left town again.  On our return I called and got this appointment.  Everything was OK so I am good for six months.  By then I will be in Progreso and will see Dr. Flores for $25 versus Dr. S for $205!
Next up was PT at 9 am on Tuesday instead of the 7 am I had been doing.  She put me through my paces and then we talked about where I am on this.  We agreed the consensus was forming that this is a hip issue, not my back, and I will not come again until the two doctors agree it is warranted.  If I need a new hip, no amount of PT will fix it.  It has been a whole lot better but I don't want to push the inevitable down the road as I quietly get older in the meantime.

Today was my GP appointment.  My problem is a vicious circle.  The anti-inflammatory pills for my hip cause my BP to raise and the BP pill I was prescribed in the Kentucky ER makes me cough like I have whooping cough.  I had stopped taking them and watched my BP to be sure it stayed down.  But as the prednisone wore off it became necessary to take the anti-inflammatory again and my BP shot up.  After only three pills I was hacking so bad I could not even sleep.

I had to bring Dr. C up to date on my summer and the pills I have been given.  I explained my problem and asked him to prescribe a BP bill that would not produce the Ace Inhibitor Cough.  He agreed all these pills are not good for you long term and if I need a hip no pill is going to fix it.  He prescribed a different type so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  My hip doctor appt. is the big one on Friday.

Thursday was our only day to have fun!  So we met our friends Jay and Stella for lunch.  They came home from Colorado for medical reasons and we were so pleased they called to ask us to get together.  We had a good visit and hope to see them with Tommy and Susan in a week or two.  

When we left them we stopped at Verizon to join the 21st century.  Until today we both used flip phones!  We had been looking at the various Smartphones and finally decided on the I Phone 6.  He said it would be so much easier for us to learn to use because we are used to the I Pad.  We'll see about that!  Our contacts are in there and I was able to receive and send emails.  So far, so good.

Friday's doctor's appt. was not as definitive as I had hoped.  He said there was arthritis in the joint but he has seen folks way worse who were willing to deal with it instead of having surgery.  I explained the medicine I have needed to take makes my blood pressure go through the roof so my choice is no pain meds and reasonable BP or manageable pain and worry about what the high BP will do to me.  And we still don't know how the new BP will work and if the cough will go away.  Then there is the matter of the back doctor and the PT.  He said it is entirely up to me what to do so I will be mulling this all over the weekend.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hitting the Ground Running

We arrived home Wednesday about 2 pm.  After unloading the car I left for the nail salon before I put somebody's eye out!  I was in desperate need of a mani/pedi and had already broken a nail.  This was a desperate situation much like my hair was when we arrived home in August.

On Thursday I attended our ladies neighborhood luncheon and got caught up on all the local news.  Ted used his time to mail two packages, some letters and make a bank deposit.  When I got home he took my car to be inspected so I can get my plate renewed.  All these things pile up when you are gone.  

Friday I made a fruit salad for a funeral at church and after taking it there did all the laundry and then had dinner with John and Irene before attending a play at the theater.  It was after 11 when we got home.

Saturday Ted worked a fund raiser at the gun club.  I am glad he has this outside interest that he enjoys.  Everyone needs something to occupy their free time so you don't get bored or boring!  After church we went to play cards at Linda and Ray's.  Ted won at his table but I was knocked out of second place when I was caught on Hand 5.  We didn't plan on such a busy weekend on our return, it just happened.

Sunday I spent most of the time that Ted was gone shooting, working on a photo book of our cruise.  Because some of the photos were .png files, Shutterfly could not process them.  So I moved on to Mixbook which could.  It takes awhile to download what I had, grab some from FB and email then get them to Mixbook to use.  I have over 23 pages done but am waiting on Kristin's photos.  I have several pages of the other two families and need some of her and Larry.

Here are some random photos of us and the grandkids.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Arriving Home

We drove to Gulfport MS on Tuesday night and arrived home about 2 pm on Wednesday.  Ă›neventful drive except for a few 5 minute thunderstorms.

Here are a few photographer photos from the ship.  Kelly hasn't sent me hers yet.  Mine only include those Ted and I are in.

The James/Kneale family.

With my favorite redhead.

Not my best side (I don't have one!) but the Aquaduck was fun.  

Kara already posted this so you may as well see it too!

Our Formal Night

Getting on the ship in our Minnie and Mickey shirts that said 50 Golden Years

Pirates' Night

Had a great time and was worth every penny spent plus all the time and planning to make it happen.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Helping at Kristin's

Kristin wanted us to stay for a few days so I could help her with some decorating ideas.

She bought this desk on Craig's list and finished it herself.  We shopped a bit and came up with the following in Larry's office, not to be confused with his man cave that looks like a library and photo studio collided.  That will be another story someday.

The displayed cameras were Larry's grandfather's who was Head Photographer for the Orlando Sentinel for a lot of years.  The ribbon to the side is an award Larry won for his photo of two orangutangs at the Tampa Zoo.

These three photos Larry took while on their Hawaiian honeymoon trip.  He loves to surf but hasn't in awhile due to a sensitive back he doesn't want to aggravate.  The water action captured in the shots is outstanding.

Next up are the planter shelves in one of the guest rooms!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Somewhere along the line our time with Dad and Edna plus our days before the cruise including Universal Studios got deleted.  We had a great visit with Dad, Edna and Laurie, my sister.  After we went to dinner Laurie had us back to her house for dessert.  She and Spence have moved closer to her work and to Dad's house.  It was great to see them all but we missed Spence who was in Ohio helping get his mother settled back into her home after rehab.  He laid wood floors so she can use her walker safely.

Here is a picture of Dad, Laurie and her mother, Betty, that she shared recently.  I am 7 years older than her.

We left for Kristin's on Monday and I spent Tuesday doing laundry, cooking dinner for us plus a meal for Wednesday when the Dudas arrived and Ted picked them up at the airport.  They stayed at Kristin's for the night while Ted and I moved to the Doubletree Universal.  Thursday everyone else went to the Royal Pacific on site at Universal so they could enter the park an hour early and have front of the line passes for the day.  We spent a second night at the Doubletree and took their shuttle to the park in the morning.

Sam and Morgan have wands that can be used around the park to magically make things happen.  There are brass plates on the ground that shows the "spell" to make it happen.  We made it rain, turned lights on, destroyed and fixed things, etc.  Even I had fun with that.

Morgan wanted a cape from Hogswart but I can't remember what she is.  Giffendorf comes to mind but I know there is a Slitherin also!  I am not a big Harry Potter fan so am not "up" on all this terminology.  Butter beer is another HP thing so Morgan is complete here with her robe, wand and beer!

After 8.5 hours, Ted, Larry and I decided to leave because the weather was threatening.  As soon as we got in the car it let loose and rained as only it can in Florida.  With Friday night traffic and the rain, it took an hour to get back to Kristin's.  The others all stayed at the park until it closed at 8 pm.   We all were spending the night at Kristin's so we were together on Saturday morning.  Kara and family arrived Thursday and spent two nights at the Royal Pacific and met up with us at the ship on Saturday.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Day Six and Seven

We had a day at sea as we headed north for our final stop at Castaway Cay, the Disney private island.

We spent a lot of time in the pools, took more rides on the Aquaduck and paid a visit to the Rainforest Spa.  I banged my thigh as I got into the hot tub and was soon sporting a huge bruise!  

Dinner was in the Animator's Palette again.  This time we were asked to draw a person on a special piece of paper, staying within the blue lines.  After dinner an animated cartoon which had been computer generated using our drawings, was shown. There were four figures across, changing every few seconds, who danced, skated, ran, etc. across the screen to music.  It was so cute and fun looking for everyone's drawings.  I wish they had run it a second time!

After dinner we saw a production called Believe which incorporated many characters and music from different Disney movies.  The quality of these productions was astounding.

Our last cruise day found us docked at Castaway Cay, a large private island with several beaches, restaurants, music venues, etc.  There were hundreds of chairs, lounges, umbrellas, etc. for our use.  You could rent wave runners, snorkeling equipment, rafts, tubes, bicycles, etc.  There was even a souvenir shop!  Trams took you to wherever you needed to go but we stayed at the first beach where we had enough lounge chairs and umbrellas for everyone.

Poor Sam tangled with a jellyfish right off the bat!  We took him to First Aid where they put vinegar on the sting.  Once he settled down the others took turns using the snorkeling gear to investigate the grassy areas where fish gathered, to investigate the "sunken ship" and Mickey and Minnie statues under the water.  It was a great end to a great trip.

Our last dinner was in the Enchanted Garden where our first dinner had been the Saturday before.  The last evening production was a synopsis of all we had seen during the week.  

There is much to do the night before disembarking.  Packing and getting your bags out by 10:30 is first up.  Ordering your photos and CDs is another.  Filling out your survey, customs card, etc. and keeping it all together with your ship card and passport so you can exit is another.  We had to get up by 6:15 so Ted and the Dudas could walk off with their bags first because they had a noon flight out of Orlando.  

I remained behind with Larry and Kristin and rode back with them.  Ted was in their driveway waiting for us to arrive.  He is now nursing a full blown cold.  It is good we are staying for the Labor Day weekend so he can get better before we start our drive home.  I may be driving a lot of it!

Day Five

Next stop was St. Thomas, a much nicer island than the day before.  The Dudas went on an excursion to a sea life park, the Carpenters took a cab to Megan's Bay Beach and the rest of us stayed behind to ride the Aquaduck some more!   With so many off the ship, it was a perfect day to get in some rides.  We have been to St. Thomas a few times before and there was nothing special we wanted to do there.

Eventually Ted and I went to the adult pool where we had struck up a friendship with two KY doctors from Elizabethtown.  The ship sailed at 4 pm and soon we were getting ready for dinner.  The food has been fantastic and the service spectacular.  The first night Morgan said "he knows my name and it is freaking me out."  Sam was impressed that on the second night they knew he wanted no ice in his Sprite!  Our waiter did an excellent job of managing Morgan's gluten free needs throughout the entire cruise.  He ordered her breakfast and lunch items each day no matter where we chose to eat.

That evening's entertainment was a hypnotist who put on a great show.  I am impressed with the blend of adult and children entertainment Disney puts together to please everyone. Ted bought the Magic Dave CD for the kids and I think their mother bought them the Buckets and Boards one.

Every evening and into the night there was music in the Atrium where Disney characters were scattered for photos.  I have never heard any better music performed on any cruise ship in any clubs or venues.  

I slept well while we were gone, managed my hip pain with anti-inflammatories and mild pain pills and got along pretty well.  I will see the hip doctor upon my return.  If he agrees I need a replacement I would rather do it sooner than later.  I don't like taking medicine, it isn't going to fix itself and I won't be any younger down the road.

Days Three and Four

Ted and I had breakfast at the buffet and were joined by Kara's family before we finished.   The kids wanted to see Magic Dave's next show so we took them there.  We enjoyed him as much as the kids did.

Bingo was being played in the same lounge afterwards so Ted and I stayed to play.  They have electronic cards so you can play 24 games at one time because the machine keeps track for you.  I got down to one number a few times but never won!

We went to see another show that was very funny.  Michael Holly was billed as Physical Comedy but he did lots of silly things with the young children and we laughed so hard.  We told our kids to go see him in the afternoon.  While they did that, I took a nap!

Dinner that evening was in Animator's Palette.  It is an interactive restaurant and Crush the Turtle, along with others from Finding Nemo, swam across the screens and talked with people closest to the screens.  The kids really liked that.  Morgan liked the animation drawing classes.  She did really well.

The evening programs are running together in my head.  That night was a play called Wishes which was very good.  Some in our group didn't know if they would like it but they did and were glad they took it in.

The next day was our first stop, St. Marteen.  We have been there before but Sam wanted to visit the Yoda Museum.  The gentleman who runs it was responsible for all the masks created for Star Wars.  Sam absolutely loved it.  It was necessary to take a water taxi to downtown but it was worth it to see Sam so excited.  I am no big fan of Star Wars so most of it didn't mean a lot to me but I went along for the ride!  Sam was so pleased with the amount of time the director spent with him.

It was extremely hot and there was not much else to look at besides jewelry so we returned to the ship.  Because of high winds the Aquaduck had been closed a lot so we returned to take advantage of the short lines to take a few rides.  It is a long enclosed tube that soars out over the ocean at one point.  There are photos on our CD the kids bought for us but I have to install it on my computer at home to access the photos.

Sam's next favorite thing was Buckets N Boards.  It is a Branson MO act similar to the Blue Man Group but with comedy.  The quality of entertainment was outstanding throughout the cruise.

We seldom stayed up much past the evening entertainment but the others did whatever they wanted to.  There were Disney movies constantly.  You could watch them on your TV, in the movie theater or on the huge screen out by the pool. We watched Hercules at the pool one day.  Disney Trivia games proved we don't know much about the last 30 years of Disney!

But that evening was Pirates Night.  Everyone dressed like a pirate at dinner and after the show there was a pirate bash on the 11th deck by the pools followed by fireworks.  I think it was the latest we stayed up.  

We tried to video the fireworks but had a setting wrong so we got nothing!