Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Driving Again

I've only known two people in my life who never drove a car. Both were my grandmothers. They were always driven by family members, friends, taxis, or the bus lines. They must have been truly content women, happy and safe within the confines of their homes. I wish I was that way, but I am the exactly the opposite.

When my husband endured back to back surgeries to his hips,knee, and foot, I became his chauffeur for years. Until our cars were both outfitted with left foot accelerators, I was the designated driver of his life. It was not fun, as I am a very safe driver, and traffic patterns do not irritate my sensibilities when I am behind the wheel. However, this safe approach drives my husband nuts, and I had to threaten him with his sleep mask whenever he had to be my passenger. He finally backed off when I called a cab for one of his many doctor's visit. When I picked him up after the visit, he apologized and kept his back seat driving pointers under control for the remainder of my driving times. By this time, both cars had been outfitted, and driving 101 had begun. He became fairly proficient, and after a while, I rode with him. We did, however, take two cars for several months until I felt safe.

I must confess that after only 6 weeks of being at the mercy of other drivers, I finally understand my husband's frustrations from years ago. It has just about driven me crazy being limited to other people's driving skills. I am so thankful that I am driving again. I had a hard but satisfying day yesterday running errands, and just driving my familiar roads. I had just gotten home from the veterinarian when my husband drove in behind me. He commented on the bad wreck that was being covered by several patrol cars. It happened just past my neighborhood turn-in. I commented that I must have just missed it. He commented "or caused it." Maybe, I better pay closer attention when I get behind the wheel again.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I woke up this morning without the stabbing pain in my thigh muscle just above the knee. That has been my goal for a while now. Just being able to get out of bed without feeling like I was going to fall is a major recovery step for me. I actually didn't have to grab a pain pill before beginning my day. Sweet hub reminded me to just go back to bed because it was raining. I do like to be lazy on a rainy day.

Hub was gone Saturday and Sunday working on the pecan grove, and it was nice to just be independent for a day or so. The moment he got back, I had to remind him to stop catering. I had survived, not fallen, made my own PB&J, etc. without him, thank you very much. Can't blame the guy as he remembers the pure hell of a three years when he had surgery after surgery to correct a botched surgery. On top of that, he got addicted to Oxycontin, and that was another year and a half of detox.

I told him that I understand the oxymoron stage of his life a little better now. I was given that awful pain killer in the hospital for a total of 4 days. By 4 o'clock every afternoon, I found myself completely furious. I had no logical explanation for the anger. I was receiving excellent care in a facility that resembles a hotel instead of a hospital, and my pain management was pro-active. When the effects of the oxy would begin to wear off, this rage would build. I would be given another pill about two hours later, and the rage would be gone. I was sent home with hydrocodone, and it is a much easier drug to manage. The only side effects are with my digestive tract, and yogurt helps the stomach. Other than the pain level being felt more, this pain killer is easier on the brain. I am able to substitute my bedtime arthritis medicine for the daily doses when needed. I still take the hydrocodone at night as directed and finally, finally have slept for five nights in a row without waking to a stabbing pain.

The professionals in authority all insist that I am doing great, and at this point, I agree. It's just every other day that great shows up. On the off days, I lay around and recover from the great days. I had a great day yesterday, and managed to put together a meal for the hard working man in my life. Meager would be a good word to describe my effort, but he was glad that Honey was back in the kitchen once in while. Tonight, it is leftovers for sure. Now, to exercise, then alternate cold and heat. Glad a friend is picking me up for lunch tomorrow. Patience, patience, patience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One Step Forward

Gonna miss the PT guy. Nice fellow who enjoyed following the World Cup with me. I had about 20 years of following soccer, thanks to the age spread with my boys. Couldn't help but develop a love of the game. After encouraging two youngsters to keep practicing, it is fun to watch the sport in its professional capacity. I've only known three kids who actually went to college on a soccer scholarship, so I have a genuine respect for the players who have made a profession of a fun sport, one that even a MIMI can enjoy for short spurts of time.

Hub took a long lunch today, so I could practice driving. He accompanied me to the pharmacy and then we picked up subs for lunch. Just wore me out, and left me mad that I am such a wuss. I'll survive. Team Smith is going to start walking if just down the block and back. Hopefully, this will increase my endurance. My strength is fine as long as it is for short periods of time. At least I learned that my driving won't kill anybody to and from running errands.

Timing is good for all of this as the boss is needing hub in Denver on a more regular basis. Now, that I can drive, he won't be worried about leaving me by myself. As I understand everybody, I will be on the cane for at least another six weeks. It really gets in my way, but if I try to not use it, I end up in a strange kind of pain. I really am a weakling, but so far I am managing on half doses of meds during the day and full doses at night. Slowly but surely works well if you are an ant. I unfortunately am the grasshopper at this stage of life.

I am thankful that Richard is handling me so well. Most of my friends were wondering how it would go, and most were relieved that he has come through with flying colors. He did comment that he is really praying that I continue to get completely well, and the sooner the better. That was my cue to remind him of the four or five years I played Nurse Nancy during surgery after surgery after surgery. I was so thankful that I had retired before this circus started. I would have hired someone to look after him, or tried to find a way to put him away temporarily. Not really, but I do remember days that my thoughts drifted to the many health care facilities in this area. I wondered just how much peace of mind was going to cost us.

This too will pass, and we will both be stronger. Richard is actually developing patience. I always wondered what it would take. My patience-never going to happen. I want to be 100% yesterday.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One More Try

Definitely set in my mind is the fact that the pain pills do a number on my ability to follow through with just about everything. This is my third attempt this week to write and save a blog. The writing went fine, but the save just disappeared. Ah, so far, so good.

I can't even remember what the topics of the last two attempts were, but that's OK. I do remember feeling better after the written gripe session just for my own posterity. I once thought I could really become a writer, but this past four weeks of being confined to my home has changed my mind.

I do want to thank family and friends who are consistent about checking up on me. They provide a nice break in the routine of the day. This routine consists of taking pills, waiting for them to kick in, and then getting through the exercises that help the muscle stiffness. I will admit that the joint doesn't hurt a bit, but the muscles could use a really good masseuse at this point in time. The ice packs have been replaced with hot packs, and relief comes in waves between doses.

Hub has already suggested eating out tonight, and I will be up for the treat. This is a sacrifice on his part as he loves his down time after work, and only when I was working outside the home did he actually suggest take out or a quick meal somewhere. Most of the times, he didn't have a choice due to kid schedules that kept us running and eating more than one meal on the road to and from events. I would love to start making a quick meal here and there, but the cane keeps getting in the way. The PT has really cautioned me against getting too independent too quickly, and reluctantly, I follow his advice.

Hub came up with all kinds of mundane things for me to do today, and so far I am up to the task. I have also learned that I don't think I could have been anyone's secretary. Just being at the beck and call of others isn't my forte. Maybe next week will be better. I am trying to use less pain pills every day as my driving freedom depends on being pain pill free. I think I am going to experiment tomorrow with using tylenol during the day and pain pills just to sleep. Can't hurt, and I will learn soon enough if it will or won't work.