Friday, February 10, 2012

My Windah

This is my window (or as my Midwestern mama says, 'windah') that I slid open, stepped onto the patio roof from and swiftly slid across and flew from.  Today as I was sitting on my bed contemplating, meditating and praying I glanced out of this window.  The first thing I saw was this beautiful tree with its bright shiny green leaves swaying in the breeze as the morning sun shone through.  As I thought about my impending surgery and getting on with the rest of my life I used the tree as a metaphor.  I seem to communicate with myself in metaphor to find meaning in even the most seemingly insignificant things around me.  The tree, on first glance, was put there for its beauty.  It makes me feel good to look out my window and see that tree.  The other bedroom window shows off another gorgeous tree.  Sometimes I imagine that I live in a tree house.  It reminds me of a house we lived in at 313 E. Harrison St.  Eureka, Illinois.  My bedroom had 7 windows that wrapped around the room.  They were the old fashioned kind that dropped down into the wall when you wanted some fresh air.  I used to sit on my bed there and contemplate life as well.  Then I was an adolescent and my problems, which seemed so insurmountable, seem so easy compared to now.

As I thought more about my present day tree, I realized that hidden within its leaves and branches were many very important utilitarian features.  The first one that came to mind was that whole photosynthesis thing.  I love oxygen and I love to breathe so I am grateful for all that biology going on right before my eyes.  There are also many families who call that tree home.  There are always birds flying around it and countless babies have been born there and subsequently pushed out of their nest into the real world, just like I was pushed out of my 7 window bedroom (not literally...)into my reality.  And, how about all the bugs and other critters that inhabit my tree?  I don't like to go too deep on critters and bugs but I just know that they're there, somewhere.  The shade that comes in the summer is worth that tree's weight in gold.  The blistering summers in Fresno would be impossible to live through with without shade.  When our kids were little, the trees around our house provided endless fun when they were used as base, forts, or just for climbing around.

There's another part of this picture that fits into my picture of making something of my life.  The roof over the patio is obvious (the brown roof just outside the window).  This is almost exactly where the accident happened.  It's been just over 5 months now since I opened that window for the last time.  That event has changed forever my path in my life.  It may sound melodramatic, but it has.  As I think back on all the huge decisions that have been made and all the emotional and physical ramifications of that day it makes me antsy to get out of this 'sick mode' and be well again.  When something like that happens, at first it is somewhat of a novelty.  You lay in bed drugged out with pain killers and people bring you food and anything else you want.  People come over and call all the time and you get flowers and cards, too.  And the food!  Church lady food starts filling the fridge with unbelievably good grub.  But that's all fading now.  Life has gone on and other people are in trouble so much of the good will that was once pointed in my direction is now tending to someone who is more needy.  That's probably a good thing.  Otherwise no one would ever want to get well.

I want my life to mean something.  Even if I'm 58 years old, I think I can contribute.  I know that God still looks at me as part of his team.  He has things for me to do.  I have things that he has entrusted me with and I need to continue on.  My prayer today was that he would show me ways that I can be useful; ways that I can reach out to others and in a small way make the world a better place.  In my time with God this morning he showed me, through a window, my life.  I can stand tall and look good--just like the tree but if you look deeper, there is so much potential, just like the tree to reach out my arms/branches and serve those around me.  I can see where I've been--the roof--and make plans to avoid such interruptions to my life.  I can be thankful for everything I have learned these past 5 months and how much I appreciate my family and friends.  God has shown me the best in people as they have ministered to me.  

I'm going to keep looking though that windah and think of my future and how much of a blessing it will be to be able to walk and drive and go places and also how much of a blessing it has been to be ministered to. I will get through these next few weeks with that as my goal--to be able to be what God has made me to be.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Coming Up For Air.....Finally!

I am finally able to see light at the end of this insane tunnel I've been traveling. That means that I have some long awaited answers to my medical questions.  The latest tests show that the lumbar spine is intact with no hardware or vertebrae damage and best of all, no nerve damage!  I do, however have a couple of cracked thoracic vertebrae so I need to do PT or at least strengthening exercises for that.  Those, we assume happened during "The Fall" as they are recent and I haven't fallen off of too many roofs since September 5!!!

Squeamish Alert: The following may cause you to grind your back teeth and make your hands sweat. If you're one of those people who can't stand the sight of the blood and guts that we call the Human Body, you are welcome to skip over this next section! (But, it's not that bad so try really hard.)

BUT (there's always a "but", isn't there?) my hip, she isn't doing so good... This picture is the closest I could find that resembles my fracture.  Mine is a bit more vertical so the angle isn't quite so wide.  It completely broke the bone and part of it flipped up into my abdomen. He managed to get everything in alignment and secured with a rod down my femur and some screws on the top part of the fracture. After 5 months this was declared a disaster area (in Medical-speak the term in "non-union") and it has to be fixed.  Since I'm "too young" (doc's words, not mine!) to have a total hip replacement he's going to try to pack the fractured area with a bone graft from my pelvis and some other stuff--styrofoam peanuts, 2 for 1 glue offer from TV or play dough--or possibly some other kind of bone growth stimulator and hope that it all stays together.  He will inspect the bone and hardware to see what may have caused the non-union but he also said that this area often has trouble healing and I fell on the hip causing a lot of trauma and blood loss. If he finds that he can't repair the area, he will then do a total hip replacement. He will, at any rate, remove all the initial hardware and put different hardware in. They aren't designed to last more than a few months. After that, the bone should be healed and grown around the hardware making everything nice and secure. The reason they don't like to do this on kids my age is that I'm still fairly active and the more active one is with a replacement, the quicker it "wears out" and would have to be repeated.  The fracture is also so low below the joint that he would have to cut back on the bone quite a bit. So, he'll avoid that if possible.

OK, it's over now.  So to get down to the nitty gritty.....
 As a regular reader of this blog may remember, we have spent the last six weeks or so on a mission to better understand what's been happening with all this. We visited five other docs from varying specialties and were fascinated by all the political #!*@ we had to wade through.  Private vs Teaching, Surgical vs Medical, Conservative vs "Do it now!", helpful vs don't ask me!  Even though we both are in the health care field we found it pretty frustrating at times to go through all this.  Then the waiting! We figured that during the six week consultation period, we spent at least 3/4 of that time just waiting to hear from doctor offices for appointments, imaging centers for appointments, someone to go over all the ordered tests, approval to see a doc out of our insurance plan for a 2nd opinion (our HMO covered that, BTW).  The upside of that is that we feel comfortable with the final diagnosis and we feel like we're totally in the loop.  The surgeon who will be doing my surgery (FCH- February 14--Happy Valentine's Day!!) is the one who initially saw me in the ER right after the fall.  He spent a lot of time going over each X-ray I've had at his office carefully explaining what his approach will be during surgery.  

So, one might ask, how does one go about staying positive while going through all this?  Right here is the answer.  Prayer changes how I feel about myself and others.  It takes the focus away from ME and all MY troubles.  Feeling angry or negative about all this would just make everything worse. Not
all the prayers said are said by myself.  Sometimes
they have to be uttered by friends who know what's
going on well enough to pray for me.  Sometimes I'm either too whacked out on my pain meds or just plain tired or in too much pain that the pain meds haven't caught and I can't pray.  Nothing comes forth. I know that I have friends who step in for me.  That's another way I can cope: FRIENDS and FAMILY.  I'm so lucky to have a family who understands.  I'm so lucky to have two sisters, while they are far away, I know they have my back.  They'll say the right aaawww's and ooohhh's at just the right time.  My 96 year old mom has come through for me as she listens to what is happening and promises to keep praying for me.  It is just such a comfort to talk to "my people". 

I must quit here because I could go on and on about my hunk of a man husband who's been there for me all the times I've needed him and is just the best...Here I go again.  I must quit  because the laptop is burning a hole in my legs and the furnace is on so I'm getting well toasted!  Thanks for listening!!