Monday, June 27, 2011


My great-granddaughter, Mallaika Paine: I last saw her in September, 2009 when we visited Nantucket Island. Ben and Logan last saw her when she visited us with her family on my 70th birthday in April, 2009. I love her big brown eyes -- the color of her mother's and the shape of her father's. And her gap-toothed smile. Notice the little space in her bottom teeth. Her first lost tooth.
Her first hit!
And she scores!

Pre-school graduation with her best friend.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Amazing Women, Amazing Grace

Amazing women have surrounded me during the time of my surgery and my recovery (and indeed! during most of my life). I cannot list them here for fear of leaving out someone. But, let me tell you some of the things they have done for me.
  • Many have stood by, expressed willingness, waiting for me to ask for help. I did not turn to all of them because so many were willing. Even though I never got around to asking for help, these women did contribute, making me feel safe, secure, and anything but alone and helpless. This is my choir of unsung heroes!
  • Others helped from a distance through prayer, healing wishes, cards, phone calls, email messages, and just standing silently by granting me time and space for healing. Doing nothing is hard, but transmitting healing energy is NOT doing nothing.
  • Provided taxi service above and beyond the call of duty. And here, I will mention a name. Our next-door-neighbor, Beth, has four active kids of her own involved in summer school and sports camps (different from those Ben and Logan participate in, of course!). She transported all those kids back and forth all week long. I'm sure the engine on her car never cooled down. It's not only the transporting, it's connecting at the end of the activity. Nothing ever runs according to schedule, so consequently there are many minutes of waiting around while other untended chores stack up. Beth, you got the short end of the stick and I will never be able to pay you back!
  • Checked up on us -- called or dropped by to make sure we were "makin' it OK."
  • Fed us. I have had many delicious healthy healing foods the past two weeks. I should compile a "sick" cookbook! I am nourished body and soul and have a new herb garden to boot!
  • Dropped it and ran. I've asked for spur of the moment favors -- return to the hospital and retrieve my forgotten cell phone, pick up groceries and pain med, etc. You were there and I was honored by your willingness.
  • Doing the gory stuff. You were willing to listen to post-op bowel stories, look at the wound, listen to me groan, coach me through therapy, be my safety net during first showers, etc.
  • And you shared your stories. Women of a certain age have a wonderful capacity to reflect on who they are and how they became that person. Reflections on childhood, parents, grandparents, parenting, and just stories of "how it was" unite us and deepen our bonds.
For all of this and all that I've failed to mention I am eternally grateful. I'm also thankful for the men in your lives who were able to get along without you for my sake!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Agony and Ecstasy

This is what it looks like today. And it feels just about as good as it looks. The joint is really tight and my good leg is very feeble, so exercise is torturous, but I've been religious about it. I can imagine pain-free, limber days by year's end. At Knee Day plus 9, I still haven't driven, still taking pain medication. I'm resting, exercising, eating, and being entertained in grand style thanks to a cadre of wonderful friends and relatives. My week-long visit with Kathy was in itself worth the agony. She is a wonderful nurse and companion. Lucky Rick! Lucky me. She's also a great cook and left me with a well-supplied refrigerator and this herb garden for flavoring my attempts to replicate some of her wonderful meals.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lurching along

Here's a peek at some of today's activities:

I haven't been able to sit at my armless desk chair to work on my blog, my laptop has no battery, so I can't work wirelessly from my recliner, and when I tried to write a blog entry from my phone, it posted the empty entry you saw. Sometime before too long, I'll be able to get all my electronic gadgets and body parts functioning in a way that will allow me to post again.
As you well know, this invaliding is very time-consuming, and boys' schedules are relentless. Here is what tomorrow looks like:
7:15 Ben and Logan leave for school after consuming breakfast that renders them fit for a very active day.
9:00 Lois and Jim arrive to pick up remnants from garage sale two weeks ago and deliver to church.
11:00 Friend Sharon picks up Logan for orthodontist appointment.
12:30 Sharon returns Logan to school
2:00 Logan returns home and consumes meal adequate to see him through football practice in the evening.
5:00 Logan goes to football practice.
6:00 Ben returns home from band practice. Has dinner
8:00 Logan returns from football practice, eats, and goes to bed.

Somewhere in the midst of this, I take my meds, do 1.5 hours of therapy, get my meals, see that my laundry is tended to, remember to call the plumber regarding downstairs plumbing disaster, call eye doc re Logan's contact lenses for football, order Logan's football cleats online, and get some rest.
Fortunately, I'm feeling pretty well, leg is miserable within the bounds of normalcy, Kathy is a miracle worker, calm, and competent and the boys are astounding.

We also plan to plant an herb garden this afternoon.

It truly amazes me that it all gets done, but I have fabulous friends. I'm feeling quite well and looking forward to the second surgery in September!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Extra Large?

Officially, today is the first day of high school for Logan and his friend, Cameron. Summer school started and runs until June 28. This photo tells me that the next time I buy shirts for Logan I need to get XLs. Logan is taking a couple of required courses, Health Ed and Career Op, to make way for more electives next year.

Ben has safely returned from his Florida trip and rates the whole experience an 8 on a scale of 0 to 10. That's a very high rating coming from Ben who is inclined to hold back emotionally. He took no photos, so we don't get to see anything of his trip (sometimes the kid makes me crazy!). He escaped this picture taking moment and ran off to his Driver's Ed class. He's also taking personal finance.

Logan plans to go to California as soon as summer school is over, while Ben will hang around home. Plans to go work in Joplin got scrapped when we learned at the last moment that volunteers have to be 16 or be accompanied by a parent. I'm not fit to accompany them, so they won't go just yet. Clean up will be a long process and I'm sure Ben will have many opportunities after his 16th birthday next month. Logan will go accompanied by a "designated parent" later on.

Last night I went to a second meeting of a book club I've recently joined. We read Promise Me a memoir by Nancy Brinker about her promise to her sister, Susan B. Komen and the resulting breast cancer foundation. Many women in our group shared their experiences with cancer in loved ones. I came away feeling very fortunate.

I'm entering the final countdown to my knee surgery and I guess I'm as prepared as I can be. I grow calmer and more positive about the prospect as it grows closer, largely due to the incredible support I feel from those around me. I feel safe and that's a hard place for me to get to.