Monday, March 31, 2014

Doctors Orders

The good news: today I saw a star magnolia in full bloom. Early cherry and redbud are showing color.

The snow moved on, To Massachusetts I hear, and indeed, the sun shone.

GG and Tini picked me up after my Dr.'s appointment and we drove straight to our comfort food:Vietnamese.

There's nothing that a few rice noodles and grilled pork won't cure.

Maybe not the common cold but for that there's always Pho.

GG's best rest spot is in the passenger seat of her sister's car. Firm leather seat back to keep her upright, heated seat to keep her warm and the peace and quiet you can only find sleeping while on the road or in a driveway.

Ah, post op.

The bad news for me: no Zumba, no gardening, no pulling or pushing, continue sleeping with cast (and 2 cats) on for another month, Advil as needed.

I can't say I'm surprised but I hoped for a nod to gentle weeding. Wait, didn't I give myself tendonitis several years ago from too vigorous weeding?  Do you think my surgeon reads the blog?

He casually mentioned that men tend to get 100% of their rotation back, "gals" not so much.

Don't know why, says there is a study on this matter.

This "gal" hope to be an exception to the norm.

But I guess that means no weeding, no Zumba, no pulling or pushing, no carry anything over 3 lbs in my right hand.

Just get through 3 months without tearing it he begged me.

What? Do I give the impression I would overdo things?

It's like my first day at boarding school when my parents and I walked into the large room full of single beds with a chest next to them and a white curtain that pulled around for privacy.

We met the nun who supervised the floor.

She'll sleep in the bed next to mine she announced, might need to keep an eye  on her.

What? She'd just met me. What possible trouble vibe did I and do I apparently still give off?

Though I must admit by Thanksgiving of that year I was expelled....

But then I didn't have all of you keeping an eye on me.

No Zumba.

No gardening.

No pushing.

No pulling.

No yoga.

 No kidding.

xo J

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Noah: Coming Soon To A Backyard near You

Or near me, I hope. I'm flooded.

We've gone from rain to sleet to snow to more rain, and this is all since yesterday.

I've been trying to get out to Maryland to visit GG for two days now and the weather has consistently gotten in my way.

Tomorrow? The sun will come out tomorrow, or so they tell us. And GG will come to Virginia for lunch.

The mountain comes to Mohammed.

Thank you all for reading and responding with such love and support to my last post.

She is indeed a warrior woman.

And if she still read the blog, I know your comments would fill her with gratitude and resolve.

Though, come to think of it, she's got plenty of that.

But I'll pass on your good wishes, I bet secretly she misses all of you.

I would. I have.

I feel vaguely Catholic school girl guilty about the turn this blog has taken.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Not to mention the food and the parties and the dogs and babies?

Well I can't offer you a baby but I can bring a flower of two home next Monday and we can do an April Flowers In The House.

Even Design*Sponge seems to miss us. They did their own FITH last Monday. Geez.

So April 6th, let's get it on.

GG told me today that when she got her arrangements in the hospital last week, one from her family, one from me, they made her cry.

Sometimes I forget the power of a petal.

But never of the written word.

Thank you for yours.

( and yes, my recovery is coming along beautifully, at least I think it is, I'll tell you more after I see the doctor tomorrow)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Okay, so this is not my story.

But it's a story that has affected me deeply.

And where else do I process my feelings but right here...

GG, remember GG, comes from a family with a long history of cancer.

Months ago she tested positive for BRAC2.

Today she had a double mastectomy.

She has come through the surgery well and Mr. B's mother just text she was off to get her some food.

An appetite is a good sign says the woman who subsided on saltines and ginger ale  for 3 days after her own surgery.

Luckily I had a steady stream of information coming my way all day and a visit from her father and sister at the shop this afternoon.

I wished I could have been part of the hospital waiting game this morning.

But we all had a good cry when we got together.

It's been over a year now since we "conscientiously uncoupled"  but my heart doesn't let go so easily after 8 years together.

We've had many sad, angry, and awkward moments to get to a place where we have dinners together, watch movies, go shopping and help each other prepare for our respective surgeries.

In AA meetings it is suggested we take what we need and leave the rest.

I guess I need a friend who knows me inside out, upside down and shows us all how big her brave is.

Now that I've shared this maybe I can resume my normal blogging.....

I've had a stone  lodged in my chest for the last week.

Tonight I hand it over to you all.

With every word I have (and haven't) typed I've felt the stone splinter into small and smaller pieces.

Soon I hope to breathe free.

And see a little damn spring.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't Let The Sound Of Your Own Wheels Drive You Crazy

Complete radio silence for over a week? Totally not me you're thinking.

But really, can you stand to read one more post about recovery?

Cause that's all I've got. Oh and my first week back at the shop.

Work was, well work. Lattes, laughs and a bit of anxiety on all our parts. What would I be able to do?

I can design as long as the container is no taller than 6", luckily we do lots of compact arrangements.

I can design as long as my coworkers fill the containers with water, place them in front of me and then take them away when I'm finished. Takes a village.

The first day, I took a 4x4 cube, taped it and started to add flowers. Suddenly I had an arrangement.

This was so exciting I filled as many orders as I could get my hands on. One might say I did too many.

My co workers did. As did Shelley who sweetly called me to see how my day was going and suggested I might want to go home soon. I thought longingly of my bed and my ice machine pumping freezing cold water around my shoulder. It seemed like paradise.

The rest of the week I tried to take it easy.

6 hours would be optimum. 7 is a stretch and 8 is a psycho killer. I take time out to stretch and sometimes just sit. I like to call it spring break.

Seems like the only spring we're getting in these parts.

Today we had our usual Monday winter storm so both Doctor and Physical Therapy appointments were rescheduled.

A friend came to visit and do some shoveling. She said I must be going crazy at home.

No way, I'm crazy about being home. Yesterday I went out to a movie, Saturday night out to dinner.

Both days included  books and baths,naps and long nights sleeps. How could this be boring?

Some days I feel I should be further along, other I'm flooded with gratitude for all I can accomplish.

I can finally put on a bra, jeans, lace up my trainers, put on eyeliner, sweep a floor, change my own sheets, roughly chop an onion, do flowers.

I'm 3 weeks out ,as medical parlance goes , and everyone seems pleased with my progress except me.

Unlike Alicia Keyes, I am not Super Woman, nor does anyone expect me to be but me.

Take it easy, trying to make that my new motto.

Remind me, would you?

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'll Miss My Clean White Linens And My Fancy French Cologne

Tomorrow is back to work day. I don't know how long I'll be there and I have no idea what I'm fit to do but I'm very excited to be climbing back on the crazy train, as we call a day in the shop. And to bring home some fresh flowers and new to me stories.

They totally worked me over, and out, in PT today so I know I'll be sore as hell.I'm trying to imagine getting my bus pass out of, what, my pocket, the little passport bag I carry on my good shoulder,  or just carry it clenched in my teeth?

I'm going to wear a sling in the hopes the bus driver will have a moment of compassion and let me sit down before he speeds away.....

I''d better stop this, I'm scaring myself.

In PT I'm told to let my therapist know when the pain level gets to an 8. I am my father's daughter so these words don't spring quickly to my lips.

I tell her when my knees knock together and my eyes roll around in my head I've hit 10, Code Red, time to back it up a tetch. But this only seems to encourage her to try one more, just a little bit further. And whenever I think we're done, I'm wrong, there's another even more challenging exercise to get through.

And yet I love it all, the movement, the stretching, the idea that one day I may be able to shave under my arms again. Maybe chop an onion, plant a pansy, fluff my duvet.

It is with a great sense of relief that I can tell you Gus is in da house. Last Lucy and I saw he took off after a long haired smokey gray cat twice his size.

And I don't think they were going out for a drink.

So as I've been typing I've been nervously glancing over to the storm door hoping to see his furry face peering in at us wanting some dinner. Lucy just kept watch at the door, tail twitching.
Finally I found him at the back door, hale, hearty and hungry.

I can now relax and have a cup of tea.

Enough of my ramblings. 

Tea, Advil and an Epsom Salt soak, in that order.

 More will be revealed.

xo J

Friday, March 7, 2014

We Are Family

How could I have forgotten the healing power of a bath?

Me, the daily bather.

I did try one last week but I was still unsure of my body's strength and very protective of the shoulder.

I had apparently also forgotten that I had other muscles, like my legs and my core, that would have allowed me to relax all the way back in the bath and still to be able get out without using my right arm.

But I sat in the tub as still and stiff as a marble carving.

Last night Elle bought me a bath bomb from Lush. It was composed of lavender and chamomile, sandalwood and magic.

I dropped it under a gush of hot water and  watched  as it exploded into a sea of blue.

I climbed confidently into the tub, stretched all the way back, inhaled, exhaled and relaxed.

And when I climbed out, for the first time in two weeks, my neck, shoulder and even arm muscles were at ease.

Better than a Percocet, better than a Valium, another tiny step toward wholeness.

We're still  waiting for mother nature to bring that warm weather our way.

But a neighbor arrived at the door bearing gifts, a vase full of spring arranged by my favorite designer Betty.

No feel better soon card was necessary. The lavender bath, branches of dogwood and red anemones and another friend who dropped by and washed kitchen floor, cleaned litter box, took out trash and recycling and then took me grocery shopping made the written sentiment unnecessary.

When I walked into physical therapy the other day everyone asked my how I was doing.

I'm living the dream I told them. We all laughed.

But honestly, could it get any better than this?

I think not, well unless Susan was still here.

xo J


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

You May Say I'm A Dreamer

Today the park service announced we can expect the cherry blossoms to be in full swing by April 8th.

Having been shut in the house since Monday's storm, missing physical therapy and being told in no uncertain terms by my physical therapist that I would not be returning to work on Tuesday ( today) no matter how easy I promised I would take it, the thought of walking around the tidal basin under a canopy of blooming cherry trees brought forth my first gush of tears since the surgery.

And this weekend promises to be in the 50's. Ahhhhh.

I spent yesterday watching the snow fall and dreaming of a bowl of tomato soup. I plotted and planned how to make such a simple thing possible and today when I neighbor dropped by I handed her a can of tomatoes and asked her to open it.

From there it was a simple matter of chopping vegetables in my mini prep, sauteing them in a little oil, adding S&P, a few crushed peppers, chicken stock and the tomatoes in their juice.

30 minutes of cooking, a whirl with the immersion blender, an eyefull of soup from holding blender in left hand and it was done. A piece of cheese toast made in the toaster oven and a few dollops of soup cream completed my fantasy.

It really is the little things isn't it?

A bowl of soup, a piece of toast and a promise of spring.

If we plant it, it will come.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Post Op Chronicals: Part II

Well my guardian angel has flown away, back to Cape Cod where three anxious dogs and a lonely husband await
I have had ten days of loving attention, as had the house and the cats.

Every piece of clothing is clean and perfectly folded; I fold laundry as if I always have a shoulder injury.

The pantry is stocked, fresh sheets on the bed and the fridge has roasted vegetables ready for consumption. There are cans of cat food at the ready, the plants watered and I have stacks of book everywhere, some from local friends some from blogger friends.

By Thursday I was able to join Susan for haircuts and errands.

Friday I saw the doctor, had the stitches removed, was told whatever you two girls are doing keep it up because it's looking good. Girls?

Then we girls did a little shopping and a two hour lunch with a friend. A 1/4 of a percocet can take you a long way baby.

I can now keep the shoulder brace off during the day and only have to wear it to sleep. For 6 more weeks.Sitting upright in bed. This is not as comfortable as one might imagine:-) I hate sleep time.

The exercises I have been given to do at home are where I hit the wall.

I'm not sure I understand the instructions and trying to raise my arms over my head while holding a cane in both hands as I lie on the floor is not only painful but seemingly impossible.

But I start physical therapy on Monday and this is when impossible becomes reality.

The last ten days have flown by in a dream of pain, friendship and minor victories.

Susan, I literally couldn't have done it without you.

And I'm damned glad I didn't have to try.

Merci. Gracias. Danke from myself and the kittens. They're sulking in Elle's room waiting for you to return.

Bye Susan, hope we weren't too scary.