I took Wendy for a little walk last evening after dinner. On our way home I noticed a deer walking down the road towards us, stopping now and then to graze. I decided to stand still and see what would happen. Wendy cooperated by lying down next to my feet. The deer kept coming and basically walked right up to us. I don't know what the story is with the tag on its ear. Wendy stayed calm the whole time. I think she may have wondered why it didn't ask to play. Apologies for the poor photo quality. I took the photo with my iphone and it was dusk. It seemed worth sharing nevertheless.
I'm taking care of Mr. Baby tomorrow so I'm staying overnight in MA. On the drive up I listened to a podcast of "This American Life." I think the title of the episode was "Starting from Scratch." My favorite segment of the episode was about a guy who came up with the idea of creating, from the ground up, a cable network entirely devoted to puppies as a change of pace from the usual TV fare- no words, no people, just puppies.
If you've noticed an overall pattern of randomness in this sudden burst of posting I've done, you're on to something. I'm just trying to show up and post every day. Vamos a ver... we'll see what comes of it.
I'm excited about dinner (partly because Jim is cooking it!) so I thought I'd post about that.
Bread that Jim is baking-- I'm pretty lucky! He's asked me to make it clear that it will be a handmade, crusty loaf- not a bread machine loaf.
Frozen broccoli from Trader Joe's that we need to eat before it gets freezer burned.
The tempeh won't actually be smokey because we leave out the 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke that the recipe calls for. I don't like foods that taste smokey--probably for the best.
I discovered Veganomicon in our local library and we have loved every recipe we've tried so far. This "we" includes Anna (daughter) and Ray (son-in-law), neither of whom are vegan--although they do like tempeh. Anna is the one who first introduced me to it.
I've also been enjoying recipes from Vegan with a Vengeance which Anna bought me last week as a present. I'm interested to hear what she thinks of the Tempeh Reuben recipe she's planning to try. Just FYI there are plenty of recipes for things other than tempeh in both cookbooks-- it's just a coincidence that the two recipes I mention here are tempeh based.
Here's Jim cooking as Patches looks on, and yes, that "counter" he is cooking on is a clothes dryer--how annoying it that! We live in an old house that needs lots and lots of work. Eventually we plan for our kitchen to be more kitchen-like.
For those who may have wondered I'm still alive (which is excellent, if I do say so myself!). Here it is October aka month of dreaded pink marketing crapola (again!) and it seems that I left off saying something about triathlon training (which ended up not happening because my knee just wasn't having it).
Still lots of other things have happened. Awesome grandson was born in August. We had a good growing season at the office/pool garden, including tomatoes that didn't get the blight. I've adopted a vegan diet and don't see myself ever going back to animal foods. It's snowed TWICE in the past week. I've started knitting again. The dogs are well, including Gus, who at thirteen seems to have gotten some of the youthful spring back in his step now that the weather is cool. I am also feeling more energetic, with a little more time to spare than I had over the spring and summer and therefore picking up where I left off.
As you might guess from this post title the knee is doing much better. I saw the orthopedist yesterday and had the stitches out. He was pretty satisfied with how the knee is coming along, although he does think that at least a couple of physical therapy sessions would be helpful. I'm having a little more difficulty, compared to what most people experience after this type of surgery, straightening the leg. He said I can do a couple of sessions and then evaluate whether to just do whatever exercises/program they give me on my own or whether it would be better to keep going for a full course of 10-12 sessions.
The most satisfying part of the visit was having him go over what he'd done and getting his opinion that going back to running (slowly after building up with a walking, then jogging program, plus the rehab) at any level I choose to should be no problem. Crystal and I are signed up for our second Danskin Triathlon (end of July). I'm confident that I'll be able to do it.
Patches and I celebrated this good news and kicked off triathlon training yesterday with two 15 minute walks up and down our closest dirt road. This morning we were really ambitious and walked a full two mile loop. Now we're reaping the benefits- Patches is asleep on the couch and I just feel BETTER. Gus and Wendy had a walk too, but a shorter one, kicking off the start of their canine weight loss and fitness program- sorely needed after this past winter of not getting nearly enough walks, between the weather and my knee problems. It was so great to get out in the sun and enjoy the signs of spring that are suddenly showing themselves everywhere- sprouts of green coming up on the roadsides, budding trees, ducks on the ponds. Today we saw mergansers- can't remember if they were the hooded or common. Yesterday on one of our walks we saw two piliated woodpeckers. For more on our local birds see Crystal's blog.
*I just checked Crystal's bird photos. It was the hooded mergansers we saw- on Rebecca and Michele's pond.
Today marks the 5th day since the meniscus and tibia cartilage trimming and I am finally turning the corner. The shower prohibition ended this morning so in addition to feeling a little better (more on that in a minute) I am also clean. Showers are so taken for granted and under-appreciated for the luxury (both as a pleasure and as a major indulgence in terms of the resources they use) that they really are. I saved a lot of water this week with my washcloth baths and the one hair washing I did at the kitchen sink. It dawned on me, during this at the sink shampooing, that when I was growing up people used to often wash their hair at the kitchen sink. I don't think people do this anymore. I wonder why?
For the most part I've spent the day lying down with my leg up with the calf well wrapped. The wrap makes a huge difference in cutting down on the pain. The rest and elevation seems to have worked its magic. Suddenly this afternoon, for the first time since even before the surgery, I found that I was able to walk without a limp. This was pretty exciting since the whole point of doing all this was to have a functional knee again. Although I'm still not up to spending a lot of time on my feet, I finally feel like I'm headed in the right direction. My plan is to keep doing what I'm doing, with more walking added in as I can tolerate it. I'm still tired- like really wiped out tired- from the systemic impact of being put to sleep and having power tools used inside a major joint. Although the holes they make are really little this stuff takes its toll. Hopefully the recovery process will start to speed up over the next couple of days. I have to teach Tuesday night and it will be little tough doing it if I don't feel a lot better than I do now.
Jim is making dinner again, another soup, this time with potatoes from the Brookfield Farm. This weekend is the last winter share pick-up. We'll have to go tomorrow or we'll be out of luck. It won't be long until the Foodbank Farm opens for the season and we'll start seeing all those greens again.
The dogs continue to get along. Patches is a joy and a nuisance- smart, sweet, and fun, but also good at finding trouble and finding it fast. She's so big and so agile that she can overcome almost any barrier. Put up a gate and she just leaps over it. If she wants something on a counter, say a stick of butter, she can just help herself. Just now while Jim was cooking she got one of my sweaters, luckily an old one, and chewed part of the collar off. Once I'm back on my feet there's going to be some serious dog proofing around here. Good thing she's crate trained or we'd really be in trouble.
I had the knee surgery yesterday morning and it went well, although I am not exactly reaping the benefits just yet. Yesterday I felt great which led me to think I'd been the recipient of a miracle cure, when in reality I'd just been the recipient of lots and lots of really good drugs, including an anti-inflammatory and plenty of local anesthetic put right into the joint before I woke up. Today has been a bit tougher and I'm told tomorrow will likely be similar. Oh, well. The offending torn cartilage has been cleaned up and I should be getting 100% function back once it heals, including back to running. This is hard to imagine right now when I'm living from one dose of Vicodin to the next, but it's definitely something to look forward to. Despite the temporary misery I'm glad I had the surgery because the problems in there were not going to fix themselves.
I really misjudged what the recovery from this would be like. My surgery experience up until now was limited to the mastectomies. As awful as the idea of having your breast chopped off might be and for all the disconcerting pity responses it tends to elicit, it's actually not very hard to recover from. I didn't even need painkillers afterwards. This knee thing almost requires a home health aide. Really. I'm sitting here with Estelle's walker next to me, and I'm grateful to have it.
The dogs are getting along better which is a huge relief for us. Gus seems to be accepting Patches as part of the family and has been close to her a few times today with no attacks. I think our close supervision and clear, strong messages that attacking her is not okay have been very helpful.
Patches will definitely be a great running dog- she needs a couple of runs a day at this point so I better hurry up and get over this knee thing. She's been pretty lively around the house- lots of energy and creativity. She likes to collect things, especially if she's a little bored- you can see her looking around for something to carry off- a pen, a DVD, baby clothes, a jacket, a book off the shelf. She hasn't chewed anything up...yet, and she's been good about handing over whatever she's taken in return for a Nylabone or plushy AKC toy. None of this is unexpected but it sure is a workout.
Calling all local friends. Please don't hesitate to come by if you want to play with her or go for a walk!
I am having a much lazier day than I intended, surrounded here by sleeping dogs. I had all sorts of ambitions for this afternoon, but I'm tired. Yesterday was a busy day, with a lot of excitement, including some dog fights. The dog fights were short, because I made them short. Today they're not happening because I've taken control and there's no opportunity for fighting.
Let me back track a little bit. Yesterday we adopted a new dog, Patches, and brought her home. This has been in the works for the last two weeks. Although she's female, friendly, and gentle, with good people and dog social skills, Gus does not approve. His aggression used to be limited strictly to other male dogs but now, in his old age, he's apparently extended this insanity to ANY other dog. We took great care in our introductions- had them meet outdoors on neutral turf, honored Gus' place as top dog in our feeding routines and giving him the attention he's used to- all this to no avail (so far). Given any kind of a chance he goes in for the kill, right for Patches' throat. After a couple of incidents yesterday it was clear that we needed to institute tight controls. As of late in the day yesterday, Gus is ALWAYS on a leash under my control or in the crate when Patches is out loose. At other times Gus has run of the house while she's in the crate. This has worked well so far and they both seem more relaxed. Patches has made friends with Wendy and initiated some play with her. Gus has been minding his own business more and not watching Patches' every move while obviously plotting how to kill her, and we've been praising him for ignoring her. I'm optimistic that with time and good supervision they'll get to the point where they're fine together but we have some work to do in order to get there.
Although Gus may not be so keen on her, it was love at first sight between Patches and me. She's an awesome dog, everything we'd been told she would be and more- pretty, sweet, friendly, SMART, and very, very curious. In the past 24 hours since she arrived she's made a great adjustment and has remained a happy dog in spite of the assasination attempts by Gus. She should be lots of fun to train, and I think I'll be able to do things with her that I've not been able to do with any of my other dogs, like fun clicker training and agility kinds of stuff.
This will have to wait a little bit because I'm having ARTHROSCOPIC KNEE SURGERY tomorrow, FINALLY. I have to be at the hospital by 7:30 am and the surgery is at around 9am. The plan based on the MRI is that the surgeon, Dr. Glenney, will trim off some torn pieces of meniscus that are catching in the joint, maybe do some repair if the tearing is in an area with enough blood supply for healing to be possible (unlikely). I should be home by late afternoon, probably without crutches but with a big immobilizing brace on just for the first 24 hours. After that the brace comes off, then it's bandages for 5 days, then in a couple of weeks I get the stitches out. It sounds fairly possible that I may be walking better and more comfortably by the end of this week that I have for the last three or so months. Vamos a ver... I'm expecting to be back at work seeing clients as usual on Wednesday. I've heard that some people are ready for light jogging as soon as a month after the surgery- sounds almost too good to be true but I hope it is. I am so eager to start enjoying the outdoors again- walking, biking to work, working in the yard, RUNNING, all that stuff.
Jim is taking Monday and Tuesday off so we'll have a little long weekend together. My experience is that you can make these things into little vacations given the right attitude and expectations. Tuesday I have to go see Parker at Dana-Farber for my regular, every 3-4 month follow-up. Some people sweat it about these visits but I never do. It's more likely that if something (i.e. metastisis) were going on, that I would be the one to notice it. The only thing they do there that "interests" me is labwork- particularly the liver function tests and tumor markers, which can be early indicators of possible "trouble." Anyhow, it is what it is. Mostly I like the social aspects of the trip, seeing my former chemotherapy nurses, Cathy and Ellen, the phelbotomy techs, and going to the Greek restaurant down the street or to Whole Foods in Framingham on the way home.
These days I find that I can usually take the approach to worry that the Dalai Lama recommends. If you can do something about a problem then just do whatever that something is and don't waste your efforts and energy on worry. If you can't do something about a problem, why worry because what's the point? It won't do any good and will just make you miserable. This can be more easily said than done, but for some reason these days I'm actually able to do this and my life is a lot better for it.
I was going to start Zometa infusions on Tuesday but we're holding off for a month or two to let my jaw heal a little more where I had the extractions. No sense in inviting trouble when you can easily avoid it.
Today Jim is out car shopping with Kate, looking for a replacement for the car that got totaled when someone crashed into her this winter. He's also checking out a VW camper that's for sale and that we found intriguing.
Time to do some chores while I can walk around semi-easily. I'd like to rest up from the knee repair in a fairly tidy house. If it's anything like my last surgery I should feel pretty well afterwards. I'm bringing my anesthesia record from Windham so they can try and do basically the same mix of drugs. I woke up from that last surgery feeling great, unlike previous times when I felt like crap, sick and freaked out which is not much fun. Spinal anesthesia is an option for this knee repair and evidently lots of people choose this route, which I find surprising. Being asleep and waking up with the surgery all done and feeling pretty normal seems a lot less weird and creepy that having a needle put in your back and being not being able to feel or move your legs for a few hours, including even after the surgery is over. Shudder. Thanks but no thanks, Dr. Glenney. Wake me up when it's done and you can show me the pictures and tell me all about what you did. If I want to watch an arthroscopic meniscus removal/repair I can find one on YouTube.