Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Month Milestone

Madeline marked her second week with us on Saturday by becoming fixated on my knitting.  She successfully chewed off her own piece of yarn from the tail.  This sweater is knit in the round and has become quite large.  At this point I can only work on it while she's sleeping.
She's easily amused and loves to play.  This is a wadded up envelope that is still a favorite.  She dashes through the house, alarming the dogs and while she plays hard, she is not mean.  Charlie was known to draw blood.

She bats, pounces, carries and trounces her toy, thundering through the house on her little four-month-old paws.  Then all of sudden we're aware of the quiet.  She's recharging her batteries.
Ian put her on Ians kitten food which has given her a gorgeous coat.
I had a moment of panic last week when I realized that the body of the sweater was almost done and I didn't have any double point needles in the right side.  I spent a couple of days trying to figure out an easy way to get a set since I'm still house-bound.  I finally called my local yarn shop, Jimmy Beans Wool, and ordered them.  They shipped the same day and were here two days later.  It cost $4 which was less than gas money!  This the strangest pattern.  It's like knitting origami.
I had a wonderful treat yesterday.  Several of the ladies from our Tuesday Book Club came to visit me.  They said they'd bring the lunch and the laughs and boy did they deliver.  One month has passed since the accident, and that leaves two more until the cervical collar comes off. I'm still pretty much housebound, but every day is better than the one before and for that I am infinitely grateful.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Three Weeks Post Trauma

I was delighted with the Knit Picks yarn I ordered.  I was chemically befogged when I ordered it and chose the only color they had on sale in City Tweed, a Merino and alpaca blend.  I expected it to be ugly since it was marked $2.99 when the rest were $4.99 a skein.  It's gorgeous - not ugly at all.  Nothing else is on sale right now so I may have to order full price in a couple months.

I had three visits in town last week - my GP, my neurosurgeon's office and my eye doctor.  My GP assumes the culprit behind the black-out was the blood pressure medicine.  I'm to manage my BP with diet and exercise, and with the little bit of weight I've lost since the accident, it's starting to come into line.  Time is passing slowly; the surgery will be three weeks ago on Wednesday night.

It was coincidentally my annual eye exam and I didn't want to put it off since my vision has changed since the fall.  I can't see out of the right eye using my eye glasses and I use them to drive at night.  For daytime I wear a distance contact lens in my right eye and he kept asking me if I were wearing one for the exam.  It appears that my fall knocked the conical shape out of my right eye and I can see distance without correction.  He doesn't want me to wear a close-up lens in the left eye while I'm healing so we stopped at Costco and I bought a three-pack of readers.  I have reading glasses everywhere!
After some of the comments I received about Madeline, I looked up tortoiseshell cats on the Internet.  I knew that Maddie is a calico but I didn't know that she's also a tortoiseshell.  Tortoiseshell cats are almost exclusively female.  Tortoiseshell and calico (more white) coats are the result of the interaction between genetic and developmental factors.  The occasional and very rare male tortoiseshell cat is the result of a genetic mutation.  Males are born about 1 in 3,000 and are usually sterile.

In addition to their distinctive coloring, torties also have a reputation for unique personalities, sometimes referred to as “tortitude.”  They tend to be strong-willed, a bit hot-tempered, and they can be very possessive of their human.  Other words used to describe torties are fiercely independent, feisty and unpredictable.  They’re usually very talkative and make their presence and needs known with anything from a hiss to a meow to a strong purr.

The dogs still don't know what to do with her, but I'm thrilled to have her presence.  She sleeps with me on the recliner every night.  All I have to do is put my hand on her and she resumes purring.

I didn't think about the studio right away, until I realized that she was making herself quite at home in there.  I'm going up and down the stairs comfortably these days but in the beginning I wasn't willing to try them without Ian on the downhill side.  She pulled the warp off Maudie Mae in no time at all.  It's going to be an easy repair, but for now I've closed the door.

Who me?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!!

My friend Jan posted this comment on Facebook as a fellow member of the fused-neck club. "Aside from the pain, and the damned INCONVENIENCE, I did find my injury and healing to be one of the most INTERESTING things that ever happened to me. And yes, it certainly did have the effect of clarifying where I was in life, and where I wanted to go from 'here.'  Deeply grateful that you have no residual nerve damage, we hope you will have no residual pain, and hope you enjoy exploring a new facet of the word PATIENCE."

I could not have written this any better, and with that thankfulness, I celebrated my birthday on Saturday.  
Our friend Annabelle's eight-year-old great-granddaughter Serenity has been responsible for taking care of a litter of barn cats.  A couple of weeks ago we started to think that one of these kittens would be a great "nurse" on my recovery journey.  We've wanted another kitty for quite a while now but somehow Serenity's kittens started the ball rolling.  She wrote me a special card to go with her gift.
Originally we had talked about going to the animal shelter and picking out a kitten together.  When Alexia realized that the kitty was already selected, she rolled up her sleeves and went to work supplying us with a list of 118 suggested names, typed in four columns.  We ultimately chose Madeline, though that's quickly becoming Maddie.  
Annabelle baked a cake for my birthday that morning and thought it would be a good idea to just let the kitten settle down while she frosted it and gave us a chance to visit.  I'm not sure how relaxing it was for the kitten to have two anxious little girls peeping into the box, but she just curled up and purred.
The big reveal - time to meet the family!
Including dogs.
The hardest part of everything has been this stage of the introduction, and two days later, we're still in transition.  Madeline is nonplussed but the dogs are worried.
Serenity wanted to actually hand her to me and with my stiffness, it was a little awkward.  Serenity is a very special little girl.  About six years ago Annabelle and her husband learned that two of their great grandchildren were wards of the foster care system in Washington.  They are retired and live on a fixed income but they spent everything they had, and with community support, were able to bring Serenity and her brother Timmy here and adopt them.  DD Chris was so touched by the story that she collected clothes, toys and play equipment through Alexia's preschool and borrowed a van for the delivery.  Annabelle told us this weekend that thanks to that delivery they didn't have to buy clothes for three years.
The girls did a great job in managing the dogs and presenting me with the kitten.  And now Madeline is ours.
I know she has a long way to go before actually being settled in but I think we're off to a good start.  Ian has fixed up the laundry room so we can close her in at night.  It upset the dogs to have her roaming around at night so Ian has a little bed in there where they can't reach her and she feels safe.  It works for me too as sleep still is hard to come by and certainly wasn't enhanced by a prowling kitten.
Chris and Alexia had a very special present for me - another sun catcher for our front tree.  I have wished every since our trip to Massachusetts that I had bought one from the Historic Deerfield gift shop.  Chrissie enlisted Karen, her son John's adoptive mother, who bought and delivered this for my birthday.  They took a picture of the tree at the Gathering and sent it to Karen - "and this is the color scheme!"  I had just cut down and washed the others the day before I broke my neck.  They're still on the dining room table and now there's one more for the collection.
I never know when a nap will hit me so I've been doing more knitting than reading.  I realized today that I'm going to run out of knitting before the yarn I ordered is delivered on Friday.  I remembered this skein that Melissa gave me when she was here in August.

Ian went up to my studio with me today for my first visit since the accident.  There's not much description on the band, other than its approximately 1400 yards of 100% wool, sports weight yarn.
I swatched it and have cast on in a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to actually wear a short-sleeved wool sweater but then I got to thinking that it really would be a good garment for subbing in school libraries.  I originally thought I'd make a Hannah Fettig vest but realized that I never seem to find a way to wear vests knit from variegated yarns.  So this is Maddie's first knitting project.  I think she's got the right attitude for a fiber cat.  

Thursday, October 10, 2013

One Week Post-Op

Dr Demers, my neurologist, took pictures of the ct scan of my cervical spine before and after the surgery.  The piece you see dangling near the top and just to the left of center is my broken c1 vertebra.
And here's the surgical result - a giant screw goes up through the fractured c2 into the broken c1, fastening them securely together.  The surgery was done through the roof of my mouth which is on the left, with access through an incision in my throat.  And now that it's healing, it doth itch!

I have to wear the cervical collar for three months and other than this literally being a pain in the neck, I just need to hunker down and wait it out.  I was happy to see just now that my Knit Picks yarn has shipped.  This would not be a good time to run out of knitting.
On the upside, I'm going to be getting a kitten on Saturday.  Somehow that came out of some comments on Facebook.  While we were waiting for my pre-surgical cat scan on Tuesday, I asked Ian if this might be a good time to think about a kitty.  He asked me after surgery if I remembered my question from the day before.  Of course I did!  Annabelle's granddaughter Serenity has been socializing her kittens for adoption.  She picked this one for me because she loves to be held and purrs in appreciation.
Alexia is very excited.  She originally wanted to go with me to pick out a kitten, whenever that ended up happening.  Annabelle and Serenity are driving up from Stagecoach, Nevada to deliver the kitten on Saturday.  Chrissie and Alexia are coming up to be part of the adoption.  Alexia came up with 120 names and typed them up for me, and they're really good names.  I think there are probably a lot of calicoes named Callie, and even though I like it, I'm leaning towards Madeline - Sweet Madeline.

I didn't do much reading last two months because I was so focused on getting ready for craft fairs, and we all know where that got me.

The Magician's Apprentice by Ann Patchet.  This was being informally passed around The Tuesday Book Club - very fun.

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon And this is what we read for August.  We discovered that this is one of those books that you need to map out of the characters right up front.  He keeps  it to the same group and the initial confusion goes away.  I didn't realize for probably 30 pages that the characters were Black so had to retool my mental images - somehow I thought they were Jewish.  More than half our group are nurses so the topic of midwives drew a lot of interest.  Great book.

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan I read this on the recommendation of the high school librarian I subbed for last month.  It was totally entertaining and I'm getting ready to read this author again.

Gulp: adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach Sue Flynn recommended this and said she could hardly put it down.  This is my third time for this author and while she was just as engaging as always, I'll never forgot Hirschsprung's Disease and Elvis Presley!

I read a couple of other books but these are the ones that I would recommend, if you're looking for something else to read.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Best Laid Plans or Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

I never got to the farmers market and Sarah's rugs are still here.  I was moving along at an impressive clip, getting warps onto both looms by the end of last Saturday.  About midnight I got up to go to the bathroom and that's when all my plans changed.  I experienced loss of consciousness and when I came to, my face was pressed to the tile floor.  Ian called 911 and our local VFD EMTs came promptly and stabelized my neck.  Both Careflight and the ambulance arrived at the same time but the helicopter wasn't able to land so I endured a jouncy ride to the hospital.

I've never ridden in am ambulance, been admitted to a hospital or had a catheter.  I've never received flowers and cards so had no idea how powerful they are in communicating the nearness of caring family and friends.  Everything went right after the fall went wrong.  I had an amazing neurosurgeon who fused my broken C1 vertebra with a screw through the fractured C2 vertebra.  The surgery took nearly two hours and was done through an incision in my neck and the roof of my mouth.  Dr Demers said it's a routine half hour surgery but it took 45 minutes just to align the two vertebrae because of the angle he had to work at.
I was released home on Friday just after lunch and now this is where I spend my days and nights.  I have three months of the cervical collar and then can expect full healing to take during the rest of the year.  Thanks to the first responders and immediate intervention, I have experienced no neurological compromise, no tingling in my limbs or weakness.  Sleep is the hardest because my head is so sore from bouncing around on the floor.  A friend loaned me a shower chair and I've used it twice now - aahhhhh.  It's the little things that are starting to matter big.

So I have move from craft fair readiness to no craft fairs.  My marker is officially in the Out-of-Office spot.  I'll be able to return to weaving but there's going to be some physical therapy before then.  I have knitting and reading and lots of both.  I'm hopeful and I promise you that I will be the most compliant patient my doctor has ever had.  The most likely culprit of the syncope is the blood pressure medication.  It's possible that we'll never know.