Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013

Gradually Returning to "Normal"
Sunday, September 29, 2013

This evening I was working in the kitchen, cleaning the clutter that tends to accumulate on my kitchen counter while I have my back turned.  Surely I am not the one cluttering the counters and I can't imagine my husband going around making more work for me, so I don't know where it comes from.  Wrong!  It is the two of us looking for a quick spot to set something that isn't ready for the trash, or that belongs in a room we aren't headed toward.  For the last three weeks, since my second elbow surgery, the clutter had taken over far too much of the counter space and it was time to fight back. 

As I cleaned, scrubbed, tossed, sorted, and put away things, I noticed that my arm wasn't hurting.  Of course, I was still pampering it some.  I continue to be careful about the amount of weight I try to pick up with the left arm, but just sorting papers, mail, rubber bands, paper clips, and things like that, I didn't have to worry about the weight and just worked.  Now, after a couple of hours of that activity, the counters are almost finished and there is a little soreness in the muscles in that arm, but for a while there, I got a glimpse of my life returning to normal.  It was a nice feeling.

While working in the kitchen, I had the TV on and was listening to the end of a movie and with the Cochlear sound processor doing its job, I was able to follow the dialog in the movie pretty well.  It had been a day of observing gains in my adaptation to the Cochlear Implant.  Again, it is not perfect, but I am so far ahead of where I was, even years ago, that I can only thank God for His timing in the whole process.  We had lunch with some family members, and my sister-in-law Barbara (not my daughter-in-law Barbara) brought up God's timing and I was reminded that I am so blessed that this Sudden Hearing Loss came at a time after I turned 65 and went on Medicare.  We are self-employed and as such, our health insurance was very expensive and terrible.  We never could have afforded the surgery at that time.

As I write this, I seem to be going at my day in reverse, so let me start at the beginning.  We went to Sunday School and church and Ron was able to teach his class today.  He still has a slight limp, but is off the crutches and continues to make progress.  When it was time for church, one of my grandsons greeted me at the door and told me that his older brother was at scout camp.  I knew that, since he had been talking about it at the office Friday.  It turned out our son (his dad) was sick, as well as well as two of the other kids, so their mom had to go to camp to pick up the scout.  Only two of the children had made it to church today and they were going to be with us. 

After the service and a church business meeting, we stayed around a while to visit and while the music minister waited for his wife, we talked about how I am doing hearing in the services.  I told him that for the last two weeks I had been able to hear him when he talked during the services for the first time since I got the Cochlear Implant.  Also, I told him that I am hearing the music better.  He did confirm my suspicions that they had replaced a couple of bad speakers on my side of the auditorium.  That is great, but it makes it hard to know if there was improvement in my adaptation to the implant or if all the recent improvement was due to the new speakers.  I guess in some ways, it doesn't matter.  The bottom line is, I hear better.  The speakers needed to be replaced and other upgrades need to be made to the sound system, but I am thankful for those that have been made recently.

We took our two grandchildren with us and went to Ron's mom's house for lunch.  Ron's brother and sister-in-law were there and had prepared lunch.  It was so much more enjoyable than their last visit where I struggled to hear.  It was frustrating not to be able to help prepare lunch.  At one point, I decided I could help and headed to the kitchen.  The next thing to be done was put plates on the table, but they were heavy pottery type plates and I instantly became aware I could not do that, nor could I carry serving dishes to the table.  The kitchen is small, so since I couldn't help, I just returned to a chair in the living room and visited with my mother-in-law and went to the yard for a few photos in her garden.

Lunch was great and we stayed until 3:30 visiting and watching the kids play hide and seek.  On the way home, I dropped the grand children off at their house and was rewarded with a couple of great pieces of cake.  Once at home, I curled up in the recliner to do some Immersion Reading, and promptly fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon. 

Once I woke up I returned to the Immersion Reading for a while before starting on the kitchen counter job.  It has been a good day, and a good weekend.  I am a little frustrated with the extension and range of motion on my arm.  I feel I have lost ground this weekend.  Maybe not.  I guess I will find out this week in Physical Therapy.  The swelling in the elbow and wrist are both better.  There is still tenderness in both places.  I put my wedding rings back on last Friday for the first time since surgery. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28, 2013

A Stay-At-Home Saturday - Almost
September 28, 2013

What a nice day I have had!  It has been relaxing and I needed that after this past week!  I seemed to toss and turn much of the night and had an ear ache.  That did not give me a peaceful night, but it was gone when I got up this morning.

Our house keeper came and worked hard this morning.  She is needing some time off from her hectic schedule.  She has been caring for Ron's mom for a long time and has several other jobs.  I told her I would let her out of my Saturday job if she wants, but she is seeking another answer.  I hope she finds another answer!

Ron went on some errands this morning while I worked in the yard on the ponds, bird baths, and bird feeders.  I also took care of a few other things.  All the potted plants and hanging baskets are back to requiring regular attention since the rains have stopped.  This past week has been hot and steamy and I lost one plant that I think had a heat stroke.

We had a good lunch and then I spent two or three hours doing the Immersion Reading (listening while reading).  During that time, I wasn't reading all the time, because the birds were putting on quite a show for me in the back yard.  Out came my camera so that I could share that show with you!  All of these were shot through my double paned windows, so the quality is not great, but the variety was wonderful.

Tufted Titmouse
Buff-bellied Hummingbird. 
There were also Ruby-throated hummingbirds, but I didn't get pictures of them.
Budgerigar (Budgie)
This one was green but there was also a blue one this afternoon.
Green Jay (One of my favorites)
The birdbaths stayed busy with sparrows taking their Saturday baths.
(I counted at least 14 in this photo)
Bewick's Wren
The male Golden-fronted Woodpecker continues work enlarging his house.
Some of the birds will share. 
Some won't.
The afternoon bird show was a lot of fun.  Ron's brother Don and his wife arrived at Ron's mom's house mid-afternoon, so we went over and visited with them for a while.  The last time they were here, I was using my amplifier and could only hear bits and pieces of the conversation.  Don was pleased that he could be heard without effort.  I always enjoy conversations with his wife and look forward to a relaxed visit with her during their short stay. 
My elbow continues to improve, as does Ron's foot.  We are on the road to recovery and hope to be back to full strength in the near future.
Poor little bird!  Sometimes after a bath, you just can't do anything with your feathers!

September 27, 2013

Friday Fun With the Grand kids
Friday, September 27, 2013

I am a little late in getting this posted, but I was just plain tired last night.  I was up early to get to Physical Therapy by 8:00.  Most of the activities were the regular ones.  The main difference is that the therapist started working more aggressively on the range of motion during the massage time.  He is still very gentle, but he is trying to increase the extension and the inward pull on the arm. 

When I left there I went to the office which Ron had gone in to open.   He said he planned to go home soon, but as the day wore on, one thing after another kept him there for the rest of the day.  Around 11:00 our daughter-in-law, Barbara brought our oldest grandson and oldest grand daughter thinking Ron would be going home and this way they would be with me.  Both of them brought their school work and spent most of the time doing lessons.  I worked with my grand daughter on math and spelling.  Math is my strength and her weakness; spelling is my weakness and her strength.  So it was interesting helping her.  Her older brother worked on biology, history, and writing.  In the photo, it was writing that he was working on - his favorite subject.

We relaxed while eating our sack lunches, and they did a few chores around the office: emptying trash cans, picking up trash, and assorted other activities.  I worked on sorting old papers.  The computer repairman spent time remotely working on my computer.  It keeps locking up when I write emails in AOL.  That gets very irritating!  Since I could not hear on the phone well enough to work with him, Ron stayed to do that.

Once home, we had a light supper and were both ready to "crash".  It had been a long, hard week.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26, 2013

Ron Gets His Stitches Out
Thursday, September 26, 2013

This morning was a little less hectic than usual.  I didn't have to be anywhere until 9:00!  After a relaxing breakfast, I took Ron to Dr. Olson's office for his appointment.  Dr. Olson removed the stitches and asked a variety of questions about the pain, movement, tenderness, etc.  He told him he can drive if he feels up to it and walk on it as much as he is comfortable doing. 
These are two of the incision spots.  The first is where Dr. Olson worked on the nerve causing pain.  The second is where a pin had seemed to be rubbing from surgery for the broken ankle 19 years ago.
This one on the outside of the leg is where the doctor removed the rod from his leg bone.  The rod was loose when they got in there and could well have been causing a lot of Ron's pain.
It is amazing what doctors can do through little tiny holes.  Not fair.  He got the three tiny holes and I got the long incision - twice!  Oh well, whatever it takes to get the job done.
Here, Dr. Olson is applying band aids to the places after he removed the stitches.  Ron was glad to get the stitches out, but still has some pain, mostly around the incision near the toes.  Dr. Olson said it could be a couple of weeks before that area feels normal.

When we left there, Ron asked me to take him to the shop for a while; but it wasn't very long before he asked me to take him home.  He was sleeping soundly when I arrived home at the end of the day.

My day at the office was a little busy.  Again I worked on paying bills and clearing my desk.  Mom came by briefly in the late afternoon.  My customers today were easier to understand.  I had several interesting conversations with some of them.  It was well after closing time before I got out of there. 

When I got home after making one stop, I found Ron sleeping, so I left again and went to look for a birthday gift for our son David.  I made a couple of more stops before coming home. 

The rotation in my hand is improving.  The extension seems a little better.  But it is sore today.  It is the kind of ache that usually comes with a weather change.  I think we would all like a change.  It was hot today.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013

Another Full Day
Wednesday,  September 25, 2013

Up early for me, and at Physical Therapy by 8:00 is becoming a habit.  Again, they were able to keep things moving and I was out by 9:15.  Had a very good talk with the therapist who worked on me today about his life.  He has come a long way from growing up in a migrant family, to having a great life with a wonderful family of his own.  He reminded me how much I take for granted.  God has blessed me with so much.

From there I went to pick up my oldest grandson to take him with me to the office.  He spent most of the day doing his home school assignments.  Many of his classes are on video, so he worked hard on them across from my desk.  He did agree with me that most of my customers today spoke too softly, too fast, or mumbled.  Many were very hard to understand.  And there were MANY of them.  It was a busy day for me.

Later after my grandson had finished his work, we had some great discussions.  We talked about how blessed are those who grow up in a Christian home.  We each still have to make our own decisions to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, but when you grow up in a home where the Lord is loved and honored, it gives you such an amazing support system.  Again I saw how blessed I am.

We also had lots of other discussions.  What a blessing to have days at the office with this amazing young man.  Like his Dad, he enjoys people of all ages.  He is not "hung up" on only spending time with others his age.  He spends time with several different men in our church who are training him in assorted technical areas, from the sound system, to electronics, to web page design, to computer programing and video editing.  God has a lot in store for him.

The two of us finished up the day with some cleaning at the office; not as much as I had hoped to do while Ron was out, but at least the floors are clean.   Our son picked up his son at the end of the day and we had a brief chat.

When I arrived at Ron's mom's house to pick up some bills from her for Ron to pay, her flower beds of Bachelor Buttons were filled with butterflies.  What a lovely sight!  I had a long visit with my mother-in-law.  She had been to a couple of doctors the last couple of days and we spent a lot of time talking about the outcomes of those visits.  Naturally she wanted an update on Ron's recovery and mine.  Leaving there, I took a prescription to the pharmacy for them to fill for her. 

Ron's brother Don and his wife will be arriving this weekend for a quick visit of a couple of days.  It is always good to see them.  They will enjoy how green Margaret's (my mother-in-law's) yard is after all these rains.  It was almost 7:00 by the time I got home.  I took care of things in the yard - ponds, bird feeders, and potted plants, and still had to fix supper.  I did some reading while I ate (Ron was on a different eating schedule, having slept much of the day).

Tomorrow morning I will take Ron to see the orthopedic surgeon and see if he gets to return to work.  Don't tell him I said so, but I hope he is!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013

Early Morning Doctor's Appointment
September 24, 2013

Ron had an 8:15 doctor's appointment which isn't too bad, except that it was in Harlingen - about 35 minutes away.  The doctor had been out of town last week so this was the soonest she could see him for the appointment to follow up on the trip to the Emergency Room last week.  The appointment went well and she had some test results from a visit he had with her about 2 weeks ago and those results were good.  By 8:45 we were heading back home.  We made a fun stop on the way home.  Brownsville now finally has a Shipley Donuts store.  They are my favorite donuts by far! 
Welcome to town, Shipley!!!
After I got Ron home and we had our donuts, I headed to the office.  The morning was rather quiet, but the afternoon was busier.  I got an assortment of projects done.  I filled some key hooks, did a little cleaning, a little unpacking of merchandise, some bookkeeping, paid some bills, and prepared a bank deposit. 
After work I took the deposit to the bank and stopped to paid the utility bill close to the house.  Since Ron was asleep when I got home, I started doing some work in the yard.   The ponds needed filling.  I had asked my daughter-in-law about having some of the kids come work in the yard with me.  While I waited I trimmed several shrubs and hauled several carts of clippings.  There have been bees all over the hummingbird feeders and not many hummingbirds, so I brought in all but one feeder. 
I had about given up on the kids coming and had put away most of the supplies when they arrived.  The oldest mowed.  The next one moved potted plants to make the mowing easier, filled bird feeders, took trash out of the kitchen for me, changed light bulbs, and things like that. 
The youngest of those who came to help, (the oldest girl) mixed up a fruit salad for me and helped me move things to smaller containers in the refrigerator to make room for the salad.
Then they took time to visit with Ron before I took them home.  I stayed to visit a while with their parents and younger siblings when we got there.

Speaking of visitors, Ron had a nice visit today from long time friend Rodney Sullivan.  I am sure they had lots of laughs.
On the way home from taking the grandchildren home, I stopped for milk and bread arriving home at 10:00 and fixed a little supper for myself.  My 8:00 Physical Therapy will come early in the morning!
I did have a couple of interesting hearing events today.  When I brought Ron home from the doctor, I started hearing a strange sound that sounded like a motor of some sort and looked and looked for it.  It turned out that I had tossed my Kindle on top of my purse on the kitchen counter and it hit a button on the blender and turned it on.  Sounds don't sound completely normal to me, and I have no idea where they are coming from.  The second problem was while I was at the office alone.  Off and on I would hear what sounded like a ringing telephone, but we have ours on call forwarding to Ron's cell phone.  I thought maybe a customer had left a cell phone.  I finally found out it was coming from the computer. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

A Long Day
Monday, September 23, 2013

For some unknown reason, I woke up before 3:00 a.m. and didn't get back to sleep.  A little before 6:00 I got up and got ready for the day.  Physical Therapy exercises went quickly today.  For a while, I was the only patient there and things progressed one right after the other with no gaps waiting for a therapist to be available.  I started with 12 minutes on the exercise bike, peddling with my right hand and the left one just along for the ride.  Then the pulley exercises followed by various hand and wrist exercises and finally the heat and electronic stimulator, followed by a massage of the arm. I was finished a little after 9:00 and went to the shop to open up earlier than anticipated. 

The day was busy at the shop.  There were a lot of customers and often they come in wanting a medical report.  One who comes in fairly often had seen my sign on the door saying that due to medical needs our hours this week would be: 10:30 - 5:00.  He wanted to know what was up.  We had a good visit and it is always nice to know how much our customers care about us.  He was keenly interested in my hearing loss and my Cochlear Implant.

Frankly, I was ready for closing time to come before it arrived.  On the way home I stopped for a carwash.  I had to coupons for carwashes that expire tomorrow, so wanted to take care on one right away.  I came home, checked on Ron who was reading in bed.  I checked the mail and found Ron had a cute get-well card from a couple who live up-state.  The bird feeders and birdbaths had not gotten done before I left this morning, so I did them, started supper (broccoli soup), took Ron's car to the carwash, came home and finished the soup to find Ron sleeping.  He never woke up for supper. 

Again, I found I had not planned ahead well enough.  Especially since Ron didn't eat, I had a large bowl of soup to get in the refrigerator: one-handed.  I considered waking him to help.  Oh, sure.  I could just picture him carrying it while on crutches!  Grrr...  I waited until it cooled and then managed it.  I hated to divide it into small bowls, since space was limited in the refrigerator.  It is a constant challenge to remember those things and plan for them.  I can use the arm for some things - just not heavy bowls. 

At the office, I did clear the workspace in front of my chair at my desk for the first time in a while.  I did some reading, texted a list of things to Ron for him to call in an order for me, waited on many customers, and did a little cleaning in the front.  Sure wish both hands were working while I have time to do some cleaning with Ron not there!

Hope to get to bed early since I have to have Ron in Harlingen at 8:15 for a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013

Softly Singing With the Saints
Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Cochlear Implant makes hearing music as it actually sounds, very difficult.  Today as last Sunday, I was able to pick out the melody line in the old familiar hymns.  So I joined in on those.  I do love to sing the old hymns!  It was good to have three this morning in the worship service. 

The morning stated quietly at home.  I let Ron sleep since we had agreed that he should not trying going to church this morning.  On a normal Sunday he teaches a class so he stands for the hour he is teaching.  Then as Chairman of the Deacons, he is usually walking for most of the service, being sure there are enough men to serve as ushers for the offering and then monitoring activity in the vestibule, etc. 

After our Sunday School class with Daryl Mortalla substituting for Ron, (I do love to hear Dayrl teach!) I went to the auditorium.  Soon, one of our grandsons arrived to sit with me.  He usually attends Children's Church.  I never did find out why he came to the worship service, but I was glad to have him sit by me.  Later his Mom arrived with one of the other children.  The music was great and the pastor preached a very good sermon.  I heard a good bit of the sermon, but not all.  Things are getting better with using the implant in the church services.

On the way home I picked up some chicken for us and we had a relaxing lunch.  During the afternoon I did a little cleaning in the kitchen.  It was a beautiful day so when I went to feed the birds and fill the ponds. I could not resist staying and doing some trimming in the yard.  The clippers only need one hand.

I wrote some cards and the read for a while, falling asleep while reading, but not for long.  Ron woke me to show me some sailboat races on TV.  Many (about 45) years ago, Ron owned a sail boat that we use to race.  I didn't get to race with him often, but it was interesting.  With my nap disturbed, I went back to reading and some woodpecker watching.  One of the male Golden-Fronted Woodpeckers has been preparing a new home.  He has been digging a hole in a tree.  Today it was finally big enough for him to get inside and continue work from there.  It was fun to watch him poke his head out with a beak full of wood chips and toss them out the opening.

Here he is tossing the mouthful of sawdust/wood chips.
I am going to enjoy watching this woodpecker family! 
Later, I started another puzzle.  Ron helped me finish it this evening.  There were a couple of challenges in working this puzzle.  The pieces were thin and other than the edge pieces, they were all shaped almost exactly alike.

Ron is feeling much better.  I did take him to the church this evening for a deacon's meeting.  Our deacons serve as elected, for a 3-year term and then rotate off for at least a year before being eligible to be re-elected.  This is Ron's last meeting on this term and as chairman, he wanted to be there.  One of the men brought him home afterwards.  On our way to the meeting, we went by the office to remove the sandbags from one of the doors.

When I got home, I made oatmeal cookies and they are great.  I have the art of cookie baking one handed down to a good routine.  But I bought a brisket yesterday and on the way home it dawned on me I can't get it out of the oven once I bake it, so it may have to wait until Ron is a little more steady on his feet.

I forgot to mention that my grandson who sat by me in church, is very soft spoken.  I had to turn the ear toward him that has the sound processor, but I could hear him just fine.  As they say, "Priceless."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21, 2013

Saturday Morning Nap
September 21, 2013

My body must be rebelling from the lack of sleep recently.  This morning I got up at 6:00 as usual and did a few things before my house keeper arrived.  Daddy used to joke that women clean the house before their house keepers come.  Not exactly.  One of the main reasons we hired Silvia was to do regular dusting.  My allergies are bad and if I try to dust, they just get worse.  My goal is for her to have her work on the house, not the dishes or the laundry.  So I was finishing the laundry before she arrived.  I have been having her fold more of it recently due to the arm weakness.  I just can't do the sheets at all, or heavy towels very well difficult.

After Silvia arrived and got started, I went in the backyard to fill bird feeders and ponds.  The rain that had been here in the night returned so I came in and curled up in the recliner and slept for almost 2 hours.  Sleeping on a rainy Saturday morning while your house gets clean is great!

Ron had slept late and said when he woke, that he had no pain for the first time in recent memory!  He was delighted and said that could be wonderful to be pain free.  I told him it would be great to live with him not being a grouch (due to the pain).  He said he wouldn't want to change that.  Oh, well.  I tried.

We had a little to eat and he went to rest some more and I went shopping; nothing grand, but it was nice to get out.  I was gone 2 - 3 hours and was exhausted when I got back.  It is all but impossible to shop one-handed.  Using the hand/arm for just minimal things left me tired and sore. 

After putting away groceries, I put a big pot of beans on to cook for the rest of the day and they turned out to be super (and supper).  We started a puzzle when the Aggie game started and finished just about as the game ended.  Mom stopped by for a quick visit and brought some spice-pumpkin muffins. 

As for my hearing, I did fine during the shopping.  I think I am making progress.  It is just slow and hard to notice.  This evening I had one of those spells with the loud noises in my head.  I don't like those.  It didn't last too long thankfully.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013

What A Difference a Day Makes;
Ron is Improving
Friday, September 20, 2013

Seeing someone you love, suffering either in physical pain or from frustration of limitations is hard.  What Ron and I have gone through is so minor compared to what some are going through, and yet we still hate to see each other not being able to do the things we want and need to do.  We also know that these limitations, for the most part, are temporary. 

The reason I go to Physical Therapy is so that I can return to doing the things I love to do.  I keep telling the therapist that I want to be able to get the turkey out of the oven for Thanksgiving.  He smiles and says, "We are working on it."  But today, as he does most days, he reminds me to slow down.  Easier said than done!

My vibrating alarm clock got me up ay 6:00.  I worked on my previous blog entry for a while before getting ready for another busy day.  Just an example of being extra busy: I was just moving a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer and starting another load.  There is more laundry this week just because I was wearing things only once before washing since so many days this week were in the hospital, the emergency room, the doctor's office, etc.  I am not as obsessed about germs as some, but you know those places are full of sick folks!

After working on the blog some (but not finishing it) I headed to my physical therapy session.  There are three therapists in this group plus the head of the department.  I had each of the three for one day this week.  Today was the young lady in the group.  One of the things I like about them is that to all of them, their children are so precious.  I have never heard them complain about them except for one day just before school started, when one of the Dads said his kids were going to have to clean their rooms before the first day of school (indicating they didn't keep them as clean as he wished).  But he said they would all be working on that chore for the weekend, taking out grown clothes and toys to his church's collection for those in need. 

When I finished at the therapy office, I was able to rearrange my appointments there next week, to set all for 8:00 a.m. (Mon. Wed. and Fri.).  That way, I should be able to get to the office by 10:00 to open for the rest of the day.  Ron has a doctor's appointment in Harlingen at 8:15 Tuesday and with Dr. Olson 9:00 on Thursday.  Another busy week coming our way.  As I left the office it was raining.  I got in the car (Ron's since it is easier for me to drive) and his windshield wipers didn't work.  So I came to the house and got my car and headed to the office. 

I stayed pretty busy with customers and bill paying.  I had hoped to get some cleaning done with Ron out of the office, but that may not happen.  Had some good sales but was frustrated that one customer had me prepare some things he HAD to have and I told him they would be ready at 12:00 and I was closing at 1:00 so to not be late.  I waited as long as I could before closing, but he didn't return.  Went by the post office on the way to the house to pick Ron up and take him to Dr. Bhondi's office. 

Ron had a 2:00 appointment and we got called in about 3:00.  Then waited another 30 minutes or so for the doctor.  Ron had a bad sore throat.  After checking, the doctor said there is no infection and that it is from the anesthetic and the surgery.  At one point, Dr. Bhondi asked a question and Ron answered and I commented.  Dr. Bhondi looked up and his eyes got wide as a smile spread across his face.  He said, "You can hear!"  Dr. Bhondi is the one who diagnosed my Sudden Hearing Loss.  That was the first time I met him, so I have never really heard him speak.  We both saw him often, the early part of the year, but neither had seen him since a couple of weeks before my Cochlear Implant surgery.  He was delighted.

At 4:00, on our way home, we picked up Chick-fil-A sandwiches for Isaac and me for our lunches.  I had been too busy to get lunch and Isaac had been busy and forgot to eat.  Jeff picked Isaac up on his way home from work just after I had removed the dressing from Ron's incisions.  There are three very small incisions and they appear to be healing well.  He is now allowed to put a little weight on the foot, but I have convinced him to stay home Sunday morning.  He is normally on his feet the whole morning at church and that is not good at this stage. 

I must say, it was such a joy and blessing to have Isaac here since Wednesday afternoon.  He is a cheerful helper and he worked hard on his school work.  Since I am "deaf" when I take the sound processor off at night, I wanted someone else in the house at night to help listen for Ron.  As the three of us ate lunch/supper together, we talked about stubbornness in not having the patience to allow correct healing, but also agreed that determination is necessary to recovery. 

Late in the evening I saw that we had a cold front approaching the area with a heavy rain band, and I had not put the sand bags back in front of the side door at the shop, so we headed that way and took care of moving the bags.  I plan to enjoy this weekend.

September 19, 2013 Part 2

Rough Night Last Night -
Progress Today Continued
September 19, 2013 (Part 2)
As I explained in the previous blog, I was just too tired to finish; so here is the rest of the story.  After my three hours of sleep, I got up, showered, washed my hair, had breakfast, helped Ron get up and fixed him some Jell-O and gave him a pain pill.  He was beginning to feel a little better.  Once I had him  safely back to bed, I woke our grandson who had waited up for us to return from the E.R. the previous night.  He is home schooled and for that reason, he can bring school with him to our house.  I told him Grandpa (Ron) was back in bed, already sleeping and I was going to Physical Therapy (PT),  so he could sleep until I got back, but to try to listen for Ron.
The PT office is not far from our house (thankfully) and I arrived with a couple of minutes to spare.  Whoever opens up didn't arrive until 8:15 and there were many of us waiting.  Carlos, my therapist for the day said I could have put off my appointment after he heard how my day and night had gone, but I probably was just as well off going ahead to try to do the work.  I did have a good variety of exercises.
There is one place on my elbow that did not heal real smoothly.  I showed the therapist and he suggested that I show the doctor next time I saw him.  I told I don't have another appointment there for a month.  By the end of the session he decided to have the head of the department look at it.  After he looked at it, he decided Dr. Olson's nurse should see it.  After she saw it, she decided she would get some steri-strips to put on it.  She disappeared a while and returned with Dr. Olson who looked at it and finally decided to leave it alone.  He did want to know what the outcome of the E.R. trip was and I asked him for a prescription for something for the nausea for Ron.  He said to go to his side of the building when I finished to pick it up.  So I am glad I went.
When I got home, Ron was ready to get up and so after I had him up, I got Isaac up and helped them both get some breakfast.  As instructed at the E.R., Ron set up a couple of follow-up appointments with other doctors, our G.P., Dr. Bhondi,  and our urologist, Dr. McCormick, in Harlingen.  I did a few chores around the  house and then went to pick up our oldest grand daughter to go to the office with me.  We picked up a pizza for our lunch on the way to work and as we got out of the car at 12:00, a customer pulled in.  So much for hot pizza.  Another customer came in right behind him and next was my mom and three more customers who kept me hoping before I got to chat with Mom.  She offered to run a couple of errands for me and I warmed a piece of pizza which was barely out of the microwave before I had another customer.  It was 1:15 before I finished a second piece and put away the leftovers.
My grand daughter was picked up at 1:45 and I locked up shortly after that to take Ron to see our G.P.  I did manage a 30 minute nap at the house before I took him, and it helped.  It is an effort to get Ron and his crutches loaded safely, and when we arrived at the doctor's office there was not an easily accessible ramp available (he has one, we just couldn't get to it) and we have had so much rain, that there were slippery, mossy spots on the sidewalks.  Got him in the waiting room and he was worn out.  I told him I would sign him in.  The clerk said they had been trying to call us to cancel due to an emergency, but couldn't reach us.  They had Ron's cell phone number but he had been sleeping and missed the call.  Could we come at 2:00 tomorrow?  Yikes!  That left me about 2-3 hours to be open at the shop, in between my physical therapy and taking him to the doctor.
God's provides.  Sometimes I start to panic wondering how we can continue to meet the needs of our customers and pay the bills.  But God is faithful and continues to meet our needs.  Even though I was only open 2 hours yesterday I stayed very busy.  The health isssues are temporary and most of our customers are loyal and are willing to wait until Ron can meet their needs.

We stopped to pick up a prescription on the way home.  Ron rested well.  We had a relaxing supper with our grandson.  He stayed another night.  During the day Isaac worked on school work at the dining table.  Many of his classes are on DVDs.  They are videos taken in a regular classroom in a Christian School in Florida.
In the late afternoon, I spotted some warblers on the waterfalls and was able to show them to Isaac.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013

Rough Night Last Night -
Progress Today
September 19, 2013

Exhaustion is the closest word I can think of to describe my current condition.  I am totally and completely exhausted!  About the time I finished my blog entry last night, Ron said he had some issues that needed a doctor's opinion.  After a few phone calls, Dr. Olson sent him to the Emergency Room back at Valley Regional Hospital, where we had been just a few hours before. 

So around 11:30 last night, I drove Ron back to the hospital.  We had at least an hour's wait before he was taken to a room.  While waiting we both read books on our Kindles.  Those have been such a blessing to each of us.  "Grab and go".  Daughter-in-law Vickey sent me a Facebook message about 1:00 a.m. and we were able to chat on line to pass the time for me. 

The bottom line on the problems is that they seem to be reactions to various medications he was given during the day.  Some he was warned about and others he wasn't.  Example: the anesthesiologist had told him of the nausea, and the male nurse had told him to ask for something if he was at all dizzy, etc.  He said many patients won't ask and get in car to go home, only to have motion sickness in the car going home.  Ron had thrown up several times and hadn't kept anything down, including pain meds.

It was 2:15 when we headed home and 3:00 before I got to bed partly because Ron tried to eat when we got home and it came right back up.  That gave me 3 hours before I needed to be up to get ready to be at Physical Therapy for an 8:00 appointment.

That is far as I can go tonight.  Just too tired.  I will say, he has turned a corner and is much better.  I will see if I can fill in the rest in the morning.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013

Ron's Turn for Surgery
September 18, 2013

This morning we needed to be at the hospital at 6:30 for Ron to have surgery by Dr. Olson, my Orthopedic doctor.  As I have previously mentioned, Ron broke his right leg/ankle when a ladder he was on broke 19 years ago.  The surgeon at that time put a rod in the outer leg bone and a pin in the inner tip of the ankle bone.  Both have bothered him almost from the beginning.  He finally made an appointment with Dr. Olson who agreed to take out that hardware as well as deal with a very painful nerve in his foot near his toes.

We arrived on time but apparently this hospital has most of the day surgery patients arrive at the same time and then arranges the schedule as they go along.  Ron was taken into the prep area about 7:15 and little was done until 10:15.  Then he was taken to surgery holding area at 10:50, and surgery started at 11:35 and finished at 11:55.  The doctor had said surgery would take about 20 minutes.  He was right.  Around noon the anesthesiologist came to the waiting room to tell me all was well.  They had been able to remove all the hardware and there was no infection, etc., but that a piece of the hardware on the outside bone was loose and that could account for some of the pain. 

About 2:00 a nurse took me back to area where we started the day and said they were concerned because his blood pressure was low and he was nauseated.  He told them to bring me in and his blood pressure would go up.  :)  They also had to give him two different medications because he was in so much pain.  That much pain medication took a long time to wear off and for him to become coherent enough to try walking with the crutches. 

They sent in a little 85 lb. nurse to get him up on the crutches.  I told her with my arm problem I would be of no help and to go get someone else to help.  Another nurse came but she agreed after a few minutes that he was too groggy to try the crutches yet.  About 30 minutes later they tried and decided to wait longer after he put pressure on the foot that had been operated on and it started bleeding.  Part of the dressing had to be changed and he was still too groggy to deal with it.  It was after 4:00 before he was ready to leave, and I am not sure how ready he really was, but he was ready to go to his house, with his bed, and his nurse.

Most of the staff members were outstanding and we appreciate their help.  A couple of the assistant nurses were difficult to deal with. 

At Ron's suggestion, we picked up our oldest grandson to come spend the next 24 hours or so helping get him up and around and to be here tomorrow while I go to Physical Therapy and then to the office for a while.  I hope to take our oldest grand daughter to the office with me tomorrow.  Our pastor's wife brought supper to us tonight and Ron slept through it.  Our grandson and I enjoyed and appreciated it.

As for my hearing today, I could hear most of the professionals who were in and out of the room.  At one point a nurse called on the phone in the waiting room to tell me something and I asked a man in the waiting room to take a message for me.  I texted our kids to keep them updated. 

It was a long difficult day and I know it was draining for Ron.  I hope he forgets most of the day.  I know I would be happy to!  He has slept since shortly after we got home and I hope he can sleep tonight.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

Staple Removal and Back to Physical Therapy
September 17, 2013

Whoever suggested that I work a jig saw puzzle...  They are so addictive!  I am probably 85% of the way through the quilt one that is 1,000 pieces.  I think I will have to put them away after this one.  But it did help me not over use the arm that has been healing.

This morning (after some puzzle working) started with a visit to the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Olson.  His nurse took the basic information about pain levels, medication, etc. and then she removed the staples.  Dr. Olson came in and checked range of motion and chatted a little about the surgery.  He said to come back in a month and he will do an x-ray at that time.  He said, "No push-ups."  Ha, ha!  I have never in my life been able to do a push up.  No danger of me starting now.  I asked about limitations.  He said to go by the pain.  If it hurts too much, don't do it. 

After scheduling the next appointment I let the secretary for the physical therapy department know that I was there in case I could get in earlier for my session ( it was still 45 minutes until my scheduled time).  They called in in after about 15 minutes and got me started on a variety of hand exercises that I had done a few weeks ago: squeezing the rubber egg (I got a soft green one today), the grip strength device, the silly putty to squeeze and then to pinch.  I did arm bends  and hand rotations, and then the pulley for ten minutes.  That is a very long ten minutes.  Toward the end of the session, there was the heat and electrical stimulation for almost 20 minutes, followed by a massage of the arm.  That felt very today even though it was not a deep rub.

I came home and had lunch before heading to the office.  Ron went out on a job for a couple of hours and I got several things done.  We will be closed tomorrow since Ron is having his surgery.  So I had a few things that really needed attention.  A salesman came in at the end of the day and my friend Pat brought me my supper since she knew Ron was tied up.  Pat brought one of my favorites - Chick-fil-A!  The smell of it coming into the office helped propel me out of there to come home.

Once home I finished supper, I then took care of things in the yard - bird feeders and waterfalls.  When I got in the house and opened the curtains, there was a little Hooded Warbler on the ground under the bird feeder, having his supper.  I had not seen any of the warblers in at least two weeks, since the rains started.  I had decided that they headed for a drier climate.  I was so delighted.  I spotted at least 4 different little ones on the waterfalls in the following 30 minutes.  It was getting dark so the photos aren't great.

 Ron is tired.  He has been in pain all summer with the leg problems.  They have been bad for years, but got very painful this summer.  That is wearing him down.  He got home very late last night.  It was a nice event that kept him out late.  Our oldest grandson was receiving a couple of Boy Scout awards and his Mom was out of town and his Dad had an emergency meeting.  We are so proud of Isaac for all he has accomplished in scouting, so Ron was pleased to be there for him.  I think Ron is preparing for his recovery time.  While I have been writing this, he has finished my puzzle.  One piece is MISSING! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

Hurricane Ingrid Lets Us Know She is Close By
September 16, 2013

Hurricane Ingrid may have only reached a Category I storm but she sure has a lot of rain to dump in Mexico and South Texas.  There is a lot of street flooding going on in our area.  When I watch the TV news, I can't complain after seeing what is happening in Colorado.  During the past 3 weeks we have had about 10 inches of rain according to reports I heard today.  The upper valley wasn't getting much.  They are making up for it tonight.  They are really getting dumped on.

Does any of this have anything to do with my hearing loss?  In a way, yes.  Do you recall that I said I was looking forward to hearing the rain?  I am enjoying hearing these storms.  But I also told you how the brain doesn't like silence and fills it with other sounds.  Mostly mine have been good music, but I also get other sounds.  I have mentioned the loud sounds I get that sound like machines.  Now for the past few days I hear thunder storms with heavy rain and blowing winds.  I have never thought I had a very good imagination, but my brain is awesome!  It creates this sound and I sit in my windowless office thinking we are having a squall blowing outside, only to  go look and see just dark clouds and little or no rain.  So only by looking out the window can I tell what is really happening. 
I do love thunder storms, so for now I won't complain. 

Seriously, the brain seems to pick up a sound that is happening and then just keeps using it.  I am trying to keep track of what is happening when I get the loud noises that can be very irritating, and they seem to be triggered by an actual sound.  If I have to have one going on in my head, I think I will take the music and the rain in place of the loud machine noises. 

The music is still playing and it is there most of the time.  It is softer than it was before I had the Cochlear Implant done.  Sometimes it is rather non-descript, like elevator music, but most of the time it is a hymn.  Today it has been I Love You, Lord.  One of my sons always asks me, "What is playing right now?" 

Today my husband had to go register at the hospital for the surgery he is having on his leg this Wednesday.  I left early for work and picked up our oldest grandson to be at the office with me.  For one thing, I needed him to move the sand bags that were blocking the doors.  The schools closed today due to the weather situation so traffic was light.  Once Ron finished at the hospital, I took our grandson home.  He was doing home schooling work and needed to email some writing assignments for a class he is taking on line. 

I left work a little early as streets were starting to flood.  I just had one detour on the way home due to a flooded street that was blocked.  The evening was spent on a puzzle. 

Tomorrow morning I go see the orthopedic surgeon so he can take the staples out of my arm.  I am eager to get rid of them.  They pull and itch and I am tired of them.  Following that visit, I have a Physical Therapy session. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15, 2013

Cochlear Implant and Today's Church Music
September 15, 2013

Much to my surprise, the first congregational song in church this morning was an old hymn using the traditional musical arrangement.  I could hear the notes and sang along.  I am not sure if I was on key, but my grand daughter, standing beside me didn't give me any strange looks, so I hope so.  It was so nice to join in and sing.  I did not try harmony in my usual alto.  I could hear the individual notes.  I don't know if it was because it was so familiar or what, but I praise God for allowing it!  The rest of the congregational songs were ones I am not familiar enough with, but two of them, I thought I had the melody picked out.  What changed?  I don't know.

Another thing special happened during the song service.  Normally the older grand children go to Children's Church.  This morning just as church started, one of my sweet grand daughters came with a smile and a hug and sat beside me.  I didn't ask why she decided to come instead of going to Children's Church.  I think God sent her.  Her Mom is out of town for the weekend so maybe she just needed a hug.  I think God sent her to hear the special music.  I don't know the name of the song, but it said in part that we don't need to fear the darkness, because we carry the Light.  There was a video playing along with the song and the words were on the screens.  I turned to my grand daughter who has recently started having nightmares, and said, "I think those words would help when you have bad dreams."  She very seriously looked at me and nodded and said, "Yes, they would." 

A few months ago, she accepted Christ as her Savior and in doing so, The Light of the World (Jesus), now lives in her.  We all go through times of fears and worries.  The song was a good reminder to all of us, but I especially pray that she will remember it in times of fears. 

Warning!  Photo of arm incision with staples follows.

As usual, after the service, we stayed and visited with the grand children.  As we got ready to leave I called my youngest grand son over and told him "Happy Birthday".  His birthday was a few days ago and we decided not to try going to the celebration since I am still so protective of my arm.  He has just turned 5 years old.  I told him I was sorry to miss the gathering, but that I still had the staples in my arm from the surgery.  Naturally he wanted to see.  I showed him, and his eyes got big and he said, "Cool!  Did it hurt when he put them in?"  I told him I was asleep.  I think he was disappointed.
Here is my arm with the 22 staples. 
Do you agree with him? Cool?

We got to the car and the battery was dead.  Thankfully Jeff was still there and we had jumper cables, so we got a quick fix.  We went by the office for a minute and then as we started home, the rain started again.   There had been a heavy shower while we were in church.
Shortly after 12:00 noon.  A little dark for noon.
By the time we were almost home the sky had some clear spots. 
That is the way the day went.  There were showers off and on.  The birds came to the feeders between showers, but some were a little wet like this Green Jay.
I spent the afternoon working on the new puzzle.  I am making progress.  The puzzle actually is a sampler quilt with 30 different squares.  I have about 11 of them put together.  Still much to do on this one!

I failed to mention that I stayed in the auditorium during the sermon today and did fairly well.  There were sections I missed, but I did better.  I don't always see progress on a day to day basis with the Cochlear Implant, so it was good to see some today. 

Since we are on the northern edge of the rains from Hurricane Ingrid the schools in town are closing tomorrow.  I am going to the office.  Ron and I ran an errand this afternoon with me driving and I think he decided I could manage in his car.  I had told him I am more comfortable driving it when strength is limited.  With no school, traffic should be lighter.  He has to go to the hospital early in the morning to register for his surgery on Wednesday.  We have a VERY busy week ahead.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 14, 2013

Rain, Rain, and More Rain Coming!
September 14, 2013

It was another very rainy day here in the Southern Tip of Texas.  It has rained almost every day for two weeks, and it is in the forecast for at least another week.  We are expected to have very heavy rains for the next couple of days.  It is a sandbag kind of rain.  Our business is in an area that floods, so today Ron and our son Jeff put out sandbags.  If the rain does like it has been doing: a heavy shower and then a break, we will be alright. 

Those two naps I took yesterday afternoon really messed up my sleep last night.  I went to bed about 10:30 and woke at 2:30, never getting back to sleep.  My house keeper came and took care of cleaning for me this morning.  After we had a heavy rain around 8:15, (that followed the very heavy one overnight), Ron and I went to the grocery store.  It was very quiet.  Ron commented on how nice it was.  I reminded him that I can have a quiet shopping trip whenever I want.  All I have to do is remove my sound processor. 

After we got home and unloaded the groceries, Ron went to see about some sand bags and then went to the shop to check on things.  We are used to the problem, but it still can create a major mess!

We spent the afternoon working a jig saw puzzle while we watched the Texas A & M football game.  The Aggies lost 42-49 to Alabama, but it was a good game.  We finished the puzzle about the time the game ended.

This one was 550 pieces and fun.  I am now working on a 1,000 piece one that is very difficult.  The new one is of an antique quilt and most of the colors are dull.

Another very heavy rain shower came during the game, around 4:00 and it was windy and got a little dark.  Hurricane Ingrid is bringing rain to an already water-logged area. 

We are trying to get a few things done this weekend since Ron will be having surgery on his leg this coming Wednesday.  He goes to pre-register at the hospital Monday morning.  He will then be given the time for the surgery.  In the meantime I am having him replace a few light bulbs and stock the pantry, etc. 

As for my hearing, it has just been nice to listen to the rain.  It was nice to have my husband want to spend the afternoon sitting at the table with me, chatting and working a puzzle.  We had gotten to where we did things separately.  I always had the TV way too loud for him.  It was a nice day.

My arm is sore, but not terribly painful.  One reason for working puzzles is that I am not tempted to use the bad arm.  It is very important for me to move it, but also to protect it.  If I am doing almost any other activity, I forget and reach for something with my left arm.  Working a puzzle is pretty much a one-handed chore.  Even if I should pick up a puzzle piece, I should not inflict damage from one piece.

Today I did talk on my cell phone once to my husband.  That is major.  A current limitation is my left arm.  I can't hold the phone to use it on my left ear (the only one that hears).  We both need to replace our phones, so maybe in the next week or so we can get that done.  Ron was delighted that I could hear him!
Water pouring off the roof this afternoon.