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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Another week in a sling

Well, it’s interesting, this eight week (from my lips to God’s ear) side trip, life in a sling. When I played silly games with my brothers we would pretend to be blind, or roll an arm up in our tee shirts to immobilize it, and pretend how well we could function, handicapped. Ha! Double Ha for my brothers, one of whom broke a leg and the other an arm (twice!). I don’t recall having sympathy for them.

The worst is the clothing. Even without appearing in public, it is mental humiliation to look like a bag lady. From bottom to top, I cannot tie my shoes, though I can put on socks. I can pull up both my underwear and my “petite ladies’ jogging pants”. The pants are not S or M, they are XL, with a drawstring. With only a moderate struggle, they come up.

No bra since the one I removed to go to bed in the infamous cozy flannel gown that snatched the legs from under me three weeks ago. As vain as I am about size ten trousers, front zip, I am more vain about arranging my over sized chest. Oh, the humiliation of appearing to be contained in a camisole, or, worse yet, a men’s undershirt.

Every morning my sister, or a granddaughter removes the sling, then the nightshirt, gets me into a soft and warm oversized denim shirt I’ve had for years. We reverse the process at night. So much for the TMI intro, unless it convinces you to shorten your cozy flannel gown to knee length.

To drive my car (yes, in public), I have the seat enough forward to use my knee as my left hand on the steering wheel. Joe was disbelieving the first time, and I could feel him mentally steering. Two weeks later he simply is distraught over the continuing post season winning streak. Last night’s team was the only team considered able to beat them, and it failed. Poor Joe.

The first two weeks I limited myself to driving around town. There is plenty of that, between work and schlepping children four times a week. Yesterday I elected to drive myself to the doctor. I went over the route mentally, planning on being a sedate old granny driver who would endanger no one with one handed driving.

It is far easier to cruise the freeway with one hand than city streets. I had my nerve back at the first merge and soon could mutter, “Get your damn BMW up to speed, old man; don’t make me pass you! Oh, well, you were warned. Hasta la vista.”

I stopped at the bird seed store. If I bought two seed cylinders, the feeder was free. The cylinder has meal worms in it. I bought two, so Laura could say "Ewwee" when she put them up.

Our old cylinder feeder. Laura won't give them a new cylinder until the old one is cleared away.

The new suet feeder with a tail paddle board to make woodpeckers feel like they have a tree under them. The feeder has been discovered, though I've seen neither a bird or a squirrel on it.

It is such a cold and dreary day. But, many inches of snow are falling on my friend Ann, in Wisconsin. No complaining, Joanne. Only five weeks to go.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Youthful exuberance

I’ve mentioned, Emily is taking service classes, where at pecuniary expense to grandma, she is learning to be a good person. I’m noticing, senior year seems to be about service. Emily became a member of Honor Society, for instance. I paid a membership service fee, and she must contribute more service hours to maintain good standing. Fortunately she likes to knit, so joined knitting club, to churn out scarves for community donations.

But, I digressed, cynically. Hopefully I have not degraded the best story of all. This very same service class that sees her assisting in an elementary school two half days a week, has another service requirement. Or perhaps this time it is her English class. All this service is becoming a blur.

This assignment is, with classmate Olivia, identify a person who would make them uncomfortable, seek out such a person and do a kindness for the person. I listened to the brainstorming and potential acts of kindness and swallowed my hilarity. When the plan began to unfold, the devil’s advocate driving the grandma bus laughed her way to tears once or twice.

Who would make them uncomfortable: a priest.

What could they do to promote understanding between themselves and a priest: bake cookies.

Still not laughing out loud, I gave them the name and number of the priest at Mother of Sorrows in Peninsula; Olivia’s mother provided the same for St. Mary’s in Hudson. They never made contact with Father T in Peninsula. As he’s a bit long winded as well as a bit of an old curmudgeon, probably the best.

So, two young women kept an appointment with Father Pat in Hudson. It turned out, he’s a nice young man who did take the opportunity to opine his place in eternity is known to him, and he suspected the destination of the young women was yet to be determined, as neither attends a church.

What did Father Pat think would increase understanding between a priest and them: rake parishioners’ leaves. Oh, and bake cookies for the members of his youth group to eat after said raking.

Forgive me, by now I was laughing out loud. Just for starters, every two plus acre lot in Hudson is maintained by a lawn service. It would take an army of tender handed rakers, with their dad’s nonexistent rakes, to move the leaves on one lawn to the curb. But, Father Pat would take care of that.

Last night they baked cookies in St. Mary’s beautiful industrial, stainless kitchen. The bakers who showed up:  Emily, Olivia, another Olivia recruited by the original team, and Emily’s boyfriend. 

They baked so many cookies that after they set aside enough for today’s leaf rakers there were dozens to give to their school secretaries as a random act of kindness (one of my suggestions in the original brainstorming).

How many teenagers plus one priest can rake a yard: Emily, Olivia, Olivia, Emily’s boyfriend and Father Pat raked the front of the parish house to the curb. What of Father Pat’s crew? They were too tired to participate.

Well, that service project is over. Oh, and Emily has been accepted to Hiram, and her initial scholarship award is for four years and covers 30% of her tuition. She didn’t even apply for this one; it’s based on her grades. Wait till she goes for the community service scholarship award. Just kidding.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

In the orthopedic office

Just a week ago I broke my arm. I fell smack on the point of my shoulder. The humerus broke at a place called the surgical neck. No separation, no cast. Hooray! I was in the hospital two days, because the pain could not be controlled (and I’m one tough old lady!). The made sure I could walk and climb stairs, had someone to take care of me at home, knew my patient rights, could manage clothes…..they never made sure the sling was on properly!

I still was a ball of misery when Beth brought me home, where she had a front button gown waiting to replace the ankle length flannel that tripped me up and sent me down, and which must be cut off. Linda called. The weaver of beautiful rugs and former psychiatric nurse. You don’t get anything over on her!

“Don’t even think about a bra!” she thundered. As if I could move enough to even get it on and comfortable.  But I did not like as much loose anatomy as mine rubbing around. “Go to the Dollar Store; get men’s’ muscle shirts, three to a pack. Just step in, get it pulled up, tuck it up under the boobs!” Easier said, but my personal assistants got it done.

I had a shower Sunday evening, and my personal assistants constructed my attire:

Grey sweats (pride goeth before the fall of the woman who owns no pants without zippers!)
Men’s muscle shirt from the dollar store.
A turtleneck from my closet.
The yellow plaid night shirt Beth made appear overnight from Woolrich.
The sling.
My front zip hoodie around my shoulders.

“I look like a Wallmart person,” I lamented.

“No, no visible thong,” my sister replied.

I had to report to the orthopedic doctor Tuesday afternoon. Save clean underwear, my costume was unchanged. Oh, well.

The doctor’s assistant was a most dour thirty something. She was all business, no smile. After the preliminary computer work, she handed me a gown.

“That won’t happen,” I said.
“But the doctor…”
“It won’t happen. I am not going through the pain of un and redressing for anyone.”
“How did you get dressed this morning?”
“I haven’t been “dressed” since Sunday. No gown!”
“You’ll have to take that up with the doctor,” she sniffed, and left.

Half a magazine later, the doctor came in. “Here, let me adjust that sling properly!”

The pain in my shoulder diminished by half!

Back in a week for new x-rays. One week gone, seven to go!