Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting Old is a Pain

I'm getting old. 
A dear friend reminded me of this in November when I first learned exactly what I did to myself. 
But I'm also stubborn and not very good about waiting for someone to help me do stuff. 

This summer was no exception.  
We were getting ready to go to Kalaloch.  Matt, Brit and Mr. T were riding with me because Mike was on the Fire Tower.  We were discussing how much to bring and whether or not we'd be able to get everything in the Tahoe and the rocket boxes.  

I decided to do a test load.  

Since I'm just a tad OCD when preparing for camping, I had been collecting food and supplies for a couple of weeks on the dining room table. 
I loaded up a couple of spare Rubbermaid totes. 
I carried them outside to the garage and started to load tents, (empty) coolers for spacing, sleeping bags and chairs as well as the two totes.  

Hearing the voices of my husband and sons I made a conscience effort to 'lift with the knees' so not to strain my back.  I knew I'd never hear the end of it if something happened.  
As I lifted and twisted to put the tote in the back of the Tahoe, I felt a horrendous pain and pop in my right shoulder. I dropped to my knees.  My arm was numb and I thought I was going to be sick. 

After several minutes I started feeling a tingling sensation in my hand again and appeared to have full motion with my arm.  I slowly, and very carefully, continued my practice load session to confirm we would be able to manage everything.  

My shoulder ached and I wasn't ashamed to ice it and find a pain pill for sleeping.  

Life continued...  I finished up my work week and we left for Kalaloch as planned.

  The following week at the beach, the same thing happened when I was lifting my camera to take a picture of Ruby Beach.  This time was more manageable but just as painful.  I spent the rest of the week being very cautious. 
Once home I started a new position at work - one where I unpack freight, move boxes and load shelves of inventory.   My shoulder would ache and I found the analgesic pads like Salonpas worked well to help. I went to the doctor the end of August for x-rays, a steroid injection and PT exercises.  Figured time would just have to do it's thing and thought to give it "a couple of weeks".  

In November I was no longer sleeping.  Turns out if you research shoulder injuries, this is a very common result. I went back to the doctor who ordered an MRI.  I was no longer able to move my arm across the front of me or behind my back.  

The MRI showed the damages.  
Torn rotator cuff
Shredded cartilage
Bone spurs
I was going to need surgery.  Time was not going to help. 

It was the end of the year.  Everyone and their brother is trying to get their injuries fixed before the end of the year to take advantage of their already paid deductibles. I was referred to a doctor at St. Al's but after a week they didn't call nor did they return my call.  I talked to coworkers and finally walked to the Orthopedic office in the hospital.  The very busy office receptionist got me help. because I 'was one of our own'. Finally something going right. The employee went through the multiple surgeon schedules and found the earliest one - still mid December.  I was grateful to have anything.  I really wanted to have surgery before classes began in January. 

Back in the OR, another coworker thought I should talk to one of the surgeon's direct.  I wasn't comfortable but am friends with a surgeon's favorite scrub tech.  I talked to him one morning between cases.  He talked to the surgeon who shared she had just cancelled a ski trip and would have openings in her schedule in a couple of weeks.  She texted her nurse who put me on her calendar the first week of December.  At my appointment, the surgeon confirmed the MRI results - and the need for surgery.  Surgery was scheduled for the following week - December 10th. 

I never wanted to be a patient at the OR where I worked.  I thought it would be awkward.  Turns out when you are desperate to feel better you don't really care.  
And my coworkers were the best.  My treatment was superb.  
Honestly, I just wish I remembered more about the day...

Mike's favorite - the arthroscopic pictures taken of the procedure.  I have five sutures and two implants holding the rotator cuff tendon back together.  The bone spurs were shaved off.  The additional tear was also repaired and the bicep tendon was repaired but didn't require placement. 

I turned black and blue...  no surprise there.  

Fortunately I'll heal quicker as it wasn't an open procedure - she didn't cut my shoulder open.  Just four small incisions where the camera and equipment went inside.  


I'm three weeks into my six week movement restriction.  I'm sick of wearing a sling strapped to my waist 24-7.  I see improvement.  I can move my right arm across the front of me.  I am not able to raise my arm or move it without help from my other arm.  I still take pain meds at night and often after physical therapy.  I try to limit my meds to a strong anti-inflammation med during the day.

I go to passive physical therapy twice a week.  It's not hard work.  I lay down while the therapist tells me to relax and he moves my arm around to keep the muscles from stiffening.  Its not as easy as it sounds.  Try to relax when your shoulder is feeling every stretch.  I'm still limited with what he does because the tendons need to heal. 

I start regular physical therapy (i.e. rehab) the last week of January - when I also hope to be returning to work.  Silly me - I seriously thought I could go back after two weeks and just do computer work.  At two weeks I was still unable to reach my laptop on the desk - and barely functioning.  

I slept one week in the recliner and have since been in the guest room where I can arrange my half dozen pillows just so - 
I tried my own bed last night - for about twenty minutes.
I survived Christmas festivities single armed.
I will be on the far side of surgery when classes start the 12th.

Note - wrapping gifts with one arm is not practical and tape is a pain. 
Removing anything from the oven isn't a big deal - it doesn't work. 
Folding clothes is a deal breaker.  It's easier to wad them up.
Buy twist top wine...
My hair has always been a no-fuss deal - now more than ever.
My DIL's are big help with mascara because a left handed application is not a pretty sight. 

So many things have gotten easier.
I can wear my contacts again. 
I can dry myself with a towel. 
I can dress myself and dress myself.
And I've learned - grandsons are sweet and worry about one armed grandmas. 

But I'm still a horrible patient and I spent entirely too much time this weekend being mad at the world. 

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve with our growing family.  Its become a tradition to gather together, enjoy dinner and drinks, exchange gifts, play a family game and go to Mass together.  This year was no different.  

Christmas season was very low key for us.  My shoulder surgery mid-month left me still in recovery mode and not one for running about.  Fortunately we had the house decorated (alittle subdued inside and out knowing I'd be restricted when the holidays were over...) and gifts purchased and ready to mail. 

This year Mike wanted to make some very special bird houses for our gang.  Each one was made of a different type of word (alder, birch and jocoba) with copper accents - they turned our lovely.  We just realized neither one of us took any pictures of the final product.  

And for the first time, we went to visit the Glow lights at Idaho Botanical Garden with Erin, Chris, Cheeks, Matt, Brit and Mr. T.  The boys had a visit with Mr. Claus - although Cheeks wasn't too thrilled with him.  Surprising since he is generally such a happy go-lucky guy. 

During the weeks before Matt and Brit finally announced they were pregnant to friends.  

Christmas Eve Mr. T. wanted to follow Santa's progress with the NORAD website on my laptop.  He has been doing this now for several years.  This year his little sidekick was a big help. 

Our little Mr. T is growing up too fast.  Legos are no longer cute, little boy sets but combat ready soldiers and their equipment. 

Matt and Brit had a very special announcement to share with all of us. 

I opened the gift to find a "little man" onesie and an ultrasound announcing their next baby will be a BOY!  
Mr. T learned the news with the family.  He wants a little brother.  
We were all very excited. 

Especially Cheeks!  
He reacted to everyone's excitement by clapping and shouting 'yeah' with everyone.

Krieg and Karissa took advantage of the mistletoe. 

Mr. Cheeks is also growing up fast.  This was the first Christmas for him to really participate and it was a lot of fun to watch him. 

The last gift was a second 'family' gift.  Erin asked Brit to open it up and pass around the envelopes labeled for each of us. It was the Christmas card from Erin, Chris and Cheeks.  

I examined our photo, commented how cute they all looked and passed it on to Papa.  As I looked at the rest of my family I realized by their reaction to what they read, I'd missed something...  

Erin said - check out Cheeks' shirt. 
It said "Big Brother". 

I completely missed "Baby Murray" on the card.  
I was just a little surprised.  
We have another new grandbaby to join us the end of July '15. 

Naturally we had to have a family picture to commemorate Christmas 2014. 

And we wanted an extra special one of just the girls...  

While the boys played with their newest toys and books, the adults played "Five Crowns", a very fun card game - even in the most competitive of families, until it was time to go to Midnight Mass
We hope everyone enjoyed a special Christmas celebration, with family or friends.

Friday, December 19, 2014

It's a Secret.

Finally Matt and Brit are sharing their very exciting news...
I've nearly spilled the beans a thousand times. 
We are so thrilled for our newest grandbaby next Spring.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Giving Thanks

We are so blessed.  

We have a nearly non-working oven. 
Our microwave went ka-put just before Thanksgiving. 
My aching shoulder has been confirmed to need surgery. 
Doesn't really sound so wonderful - but you know what??

Our kids offered to host our family Thanksgiving meal.
They took it a step further and prepared the majority of the food as well. 
I made a salad, brought pickles and a veggie tray. 
We gathered at Krieg and Karissa's home where they cooked their first turkey for our first gathering there. 

Everyone had a place to sit together.  
The table(s) were set perfect. 

Thanksgiving 2014

Cheeks shows his Dad some toys until the final countdown for dinner. 

You know what?  My new remote works awesome...  especially when you point it in the right direction.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Snow Day

This is our 13th winter in Idaho.  We moved here from Wisconsin so it hasn't always been what we consider "winter".  We've had a fair share of snowy days.  Often snow removal was done in shorts and sweatshirt - and sometimes with a leaf blower.  We've had a few snowpacolypses as well.  For me, if it's going to snow please let it be anytime in November and December.  Bring it on!  As of January 2nd - it's time to move over to Spring...

Last week we heard of the big winter storm for days in advance.  Some weather forecasters went so far as to say 6am Thursday - which BTW was NOT the case.  However as daylight was breaking a few flurries were starting to reveal themselves in the not yet dimmed street lights.  By the time I left work at 10:30 there was enough snow on the ground to look like this...   

Actually I just wanted to take a picture of our very sexy new tires. There's just no exciting way to share "We have new tires! on social media.  Dang!

By the time I arrived home, Mike already had the first snow removal taken care of - with the leaf blower mind you.  The ground was definitely covered white.  

This lone pair of leaves hanging on for dear life in the tree across the street. 

I bet our campground flamingo wishes he flew south for the winter

Nothing new here for the frozen tundra. 

The last of our grapes.  We didn't get back out to cut the final bunches.  These would make some amazing dessert wine.  The sugar content must be perfect. 

It took awhile but even Ruger was refreshing his memory regarding the white stuff.  

Friday morning it was STILL snowing.  The plows were busy in the parking lot when I arrived to work at 5:30.

And when I got off work at 10:30 it was STILL snowing!  I was loving every white minute. 

Snow removal was still taking place on a regular basis but Mike had to break out the shovels.  The snow was wet and heavy.  We had about 6" so far. 

Our grandsons were enjoying a snow day as well.  Cheeks was able to test his Alaskan/Michigan/Wisconsin roots and seemed to like what he saw. 

 Mr. T was busy helping his Mom with some shoveling and then when Dad came home they built a barricade in the front yard.  Mr. T even came over to help out his Drahma on Saturday after soccer.  We cleared snow off the deck and the pavers around the fire pit.

Friday night we agreed the season for drinks on the deck had succumbed to winter. 

Saturday morning the skies were crystal clear and brilliant blue.  The temperature was in the high 20's. 

Snowed in.

Here's one yard gnome who probably wished he was anywhere else. 

Oh did I mention?  Saturday was Ruger's 1st birthday. 
Happy Birthday Ruger!