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Friday, January 30, 2015

Healing up and Moving towards Spring Finding (Imbolc, Grundsaudaag)

First week of many to follow, of focus on healing, movement, exercise and stretching and just plain hunkering down to survive. Whew! We are getting into a routine, finally, with appreciable heat able to be placed in the bed room and routes cleared for me to move about with the walker. Damn trailer, though is not especially walker-friendly and the main bathroom and its door are sufficiently narrow that I must crab-walk sideways to use that toilet. Fortunately that is not a problem. I still have not been doing the bed exercises as much as I need to and expect that the visiting PTs will take me to task, and hopefully find some ways to adjust so I can accomplish the same thing in the front part of the house, or motivate me to go lie down.

I am also thinking that it may be desirable to consider the support hose with my tights under them -- or at least the legs cut off the tights, as I really don't need to fight MORE stuff over my butt in the john. I think this might work, and honestly I don't care if they run, and end up being tossed. Not sure why I kept them anyway, as I have always hated the stuff sausage feeling even of tights that I am not allergic to... Suspect I kept them around only because, if I were to have needed them, they are not something that one can grab at the local store, or inexpensively online.

Pain is varying, most often at the "hurts, but no biggie" level but last night I just could NOT get comfortable and eventually took a full dose of my "good drugs" and then another full dose once the time came around and did manage to find a position and relax. That was a first.

I have not felt the energy present to begin working on the hex orders that have come in, yet, but I have been eying my small painting table which had become a catch all, and we did get it cleared today. I am looking forward to beginning work on the little livestock protection sign this afternoon.

I have been scaling back what I want to do, and therefore need help with, to allow Tractor Guy to focus him limited energies on the outside chores, which have required extra oomph on account of the major blizzard that hit us with 15" of snow  Tuesday and Wednesday. Blizzard, of course, adds considerable wind to the actual snowfall and brings drifts to be fought through. Fortunately the Gods of Winter cut Tractor Guy some slack and blew a totally clear path from house to garage where his favorite shovel had been hiding and stayed gone during the day so his hard work making paths to the fowl remained clear.

Before, with human tracks
to mailbox and doggie
tracks behind car
after! Good work TG
and Fergie!
Thursday was "clear the driveway" day with -- as a back up plan -- crossing fingers that my visiting nurse, who will visit on Friday, most likely at the the wheel of her full size diesel pickup, has the thing equipped with a plow and wouldn't mind making a few bucks under the table as a plow driver. As you can see, though, Fergie was up for the task.

Nurse has been and gone and the bandage and staples removed from Knee 1. Did not really hurt that much and the knee will be happy to be able to begin being washed a bit more thoroughly.

Frigga's light is burning and I am trying to focus on my thanks to Her and Eir, in particular, for my rapid healing thus far. A bit of post-op PTSD is raising its head, though, and I am feeling like I need a good cry, which is just out of reach.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bionic knees -- check

Not much of interest to write about today, as I am blogging from my bed in room 2055, Building Bean2 at Maine Medical Center in Portland. .Right knee was replaced on Monday and from the beginning has not offered many complaints. It was walked twice a day, from day 2, exercised by the PT crew and had been being kept cold by the most wonderful device that  holds a gallon or so of ice water, which is circulated into a bag wrapped around the knee and secured with velcro.

Although I have orders for up to 2 Oxycodone every 3 hours, I have only had to request one, and at that only when the knee was complaining a bit from the exercises.

Knee 2 was done yesterday and has been complaining more than it's buddy,. but not enough for me to want to up the dose of  pain pills. It has been exercised now, but not walked yet.

I really did not need to bring much of the stuff the hospital called for... It really is not practical to change into a normal nightgown, or into workout clothes when you have IVs in both hands.

At this point, PT is talking about releasing me to home, rather than the more typical round of rehab, which I am quite happy with.With the attention I have been paying to "knee miles" the last year, I am already well on track for keeping moving, doing my exercises and puttering around once I am home,

On the hex front, the three signs below shipped out on Friday, and I cut blanks for the two orders I have in the queue, which Tractor Guy is priming for me this week while I am away. 

12" Earth Star Flower  went to NJ
12" Welcome went to CT
12" Love and Happy Home went
to VA
I expect to be back in production next week, working slowly on a 48" sign, which will be done is small bits, as it will require standing, and more quickly on a Livestock Protection sign that is only a 12" one and can be done sitting comfortably.

Of course, Tractor Guy will also be donning his CNA hat for a while to fetch and carry for me, as well as taking on all the critter chores. There is a fine line to walk between being TOO active and falling into the seductive arms of the couch,..


Friday, January 16, 2015

On Faith, and Prayer and Hard Work

This past week found us fighting the elements and the elements, mostly winning.

There are places under the house -- very hard to get to places to be sure -- that the water lines are not insulated. Oh, there was insulation but at one point, before we moved in, someone removed it to work there. Each winter we put lights under that section to produce a wee bit of heat that, with leaving the taps dripping on the coldest nights, mostly keeps the water running. This year our heating lamps elements were burnt out, replacements were not easy to find and the alternative light/heat source, apparently, was insufficient to cope with the serious double digit below zero temperatures and wind chills. The water lines froze up solid, both hot and cold, to every tap in the house. We hauled water, asked every friend in reach, for several days. It really makes no sense to freeze ones body laying on the frozen cement stretched out or scrunched up under a drafty mobile home, and try to thaw pipes when the temperatures and the wind chills persist in the minus-double-digit range.

Normally, we get a January thaw... this year, so it seems thus far, our "thaw" is amounting to a "January-almost-up-to-freezing" but that was enough, after two days of work, for Tractor Guy to be able to finally manage the thaw. Freezing had happened in the line as it comes up from under ground, before entering the pump/pressure tank complex as well as between the works and the taps. It was well after dark yesterday when I heard the sound of water running, first in one tap, then two and eventually both hot and cold lines all 'round ran freely.

It is, once again, BRRRR out there but not so badly as before and we have found replacement bulbs for the lamps. Insulation will be added today and as an added precaution, we will leave the taps running just a bit more freely on the nights when the temps and winds dip and conspire.

It is lovely to know that hot baths can be had again and that washing the dishes, laundry and cleaning the 'fridge and stove will not be more odious chores than normal.  It is especially lovely because all this must be done this week -- along with several other organizational and space making chores -- in advance of my hospitalization next week for double knee replacement.

Yes, as of Monday, Gods willing, I will be writing from the network of the Maine Medical Center in Portland, under the care of Dr. Brian McGrory and the knee replacement team. My right knee will be done on Monday morning, followed by a couple of days of recuperation and physical therapy and then the left knee will be done on Thursday. I plan to be released back to home and hope it will be by Sunday following all this.

As I write this, I know that I will be posting on social media as well, and asking all who are able and willing to put their spiritual shoulders to the wheel and invoke the Powers That Be of their faith tradition on the behalf of Dr. McGrory and his team, and on my behalf, for good results and a strong healing.

You see, I know -- and have seen first hand -- the results of decentralized but focused spiritual efforts. I have stood in more than one hospital room and heard random medical folks comment not only on the accelerated healing of the patient, but also on the "feeling" in the room. Often they cannot put words to what they sense, but indeed it can be sensed even by those who do not know of the efforts being put forth and perhaps would not believe if they did know.

Christians of a diverse range of denominations -- Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist -- as well as Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Heathens and even Atheists and Agnostics, putting their intentions for well being together as a focused lens, do good work.  And yes, Atheists, at least the ones I knew of during the healing events to which I refer, CAN "pray." That is the word they used -- making sure of course that I knew that there was not a God involved -- but noting that they can still put out the energy to the Universe At Large as something greater than "just a wish" that the person they are thinking about be well.

Of course your mileage may vary, as they say.

However, as someone who works with the Divine Energies on a daily basis when painting hex signs, I have found that energy is energy and good will can be universal. And I will ask any and all for the good energies that they can spare in the coming weeks. I have heard "horror stories" of course, but mostly I have heard "you will wish you had undergone the procedure earlier." I have heard, yes, that the physical therapy was the hardest thing the person had ever done and that it hurt like heck -- and also from one double knee patient that she kept waiting for the pain which never came. I think, at least partly, it's a perception thing. But regardless, it will be done and I shall do the healing work as assigned by the medical team, augmented by what my body tells me (likely I will be craving milk and vitamin A-rich veggies). And hopefully will find enough creative things to keep me occupied post op.

I am working hard to complete hex orders before surgery, but will have one 4' sign to complete after I come home and a 1' one as well. This week I completed and shipped three:
Earth Star Flower hex sign

Welcome hex sign

Love and a Happy Home hex sign

Friday, January 9, 2015

Serious Winter!

Looking out on a sunny, snowy landscape at the moment. We do not have a LOT of snow, but the ground is finally covered and not likely to be bare for a while. We have temperatures that are forecast to remain below freezing and at least one (more) night that looks to drop into the double-digits-below-zero with wind. We had a -13 temperature over night a couple of nights ago, and with winds running about 20 MPH, considerable wind chills. Even with heat lights on the pipes under the house and in the cabinets where they usually freeze, we have no running water. And with another frigid night in the forecast with days that do not reach even close to freezing, let alone going above, I do not hold much hope for thawing any time soon.

We have been shoveling snow into a large kettle on the space heater to melt for flushing and watering fowl, and each time I renew the fowl's liquid water, I bring the ice that I can collect from dumping their basins back in to thaw. It is, after all, more densely packed than snow, so I have to carry less to get more water.

Peace, Love and Protection
Meanwhile my push to get things done prior to surgery continues. The freeze-drying laundry totaled a couple of the aging clotheslines, but after repairing some and relocating laundry to others, it all did dry successfully. The final roosters are in the freezer and all of the chickens are now happily sharing the new coop. How do I know they are happy? Well, despite the temperatures and regardless of the short days, I have been getting an egg, or even two, each day! The ducks seem happier with just Christmas, the remaining white turkey, as a house mate and have been willing to go into the coop even on nights when, previously, they would have just hunkered down in the snow.

Abundance and Prosperity hex sign from http://www.dutchhexsign.com
Busy hex painting days continue. Today I will ship a 2 foot Abundance and Prosperity, left, and a new design, for Peace, Love and Protection, which was commissioned by someone who has not yet purchased, and loved by my youngest daughter, for whom I painted a 1 foot version for her to hang indoors (though it is a wooden sign, it has a picture hanger on back instead of the drilled mounting holes .  I hope to be able to feature this sign on my web site, http://www.dutchhexsign.com, as a regular offering soon!

Mighty Oak, 36" hex sign from http://www.dutchhexsign.com
We were also finally able to connect with the local (Maine) folks who had bought a 36" Mighty Oak sign which we were supposed to meet to deliver. Since they are in southern Maine and we are in the center of the state, we agreed to meet about mid-way, in the Mardens parking lot in Waterville. While I am NOT a fan of our local Mardens store -- it is poorly lit, badly organized and dirty -- I was blown away the first time I visited their Waterville location earlier this year and never mind a good excuse to get down that way. We were early and while waiting for the buyer's husband to arrive around 6 pm, we browsed the store and I found huge roll of webbing -- like for dog leashes -- for $5. I was wanting a LONG leash for the Moose to allow him to explore the grounds with greater freedom and still be able to rein him in if needed and this will work well. All I need is the clip to attach the lead to his harness and a bit of time with the sewing machine!

I had also been keeping my eye open for a good deal on some new baking sheets as mine are very ratty and much more suited to their spring time alternative use as a base for the soil blocks -- and found some very nice once for 99 cents each! So, a successful trip all round. The client is very happy with their sign, too.