Friday’s Fave Five #96

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Dinner out. We had a week-long guest who treated us to dinner last Saturday. It was delicious, and my petite steak was cooked to perfection. I’ve had to learn which restaurants take my food sensitivities seriously and which don’t. This place did, which made dining out a happy experience for me.

2. Shopping. Yesterday my daughter took me grocery shopping. I pushed a cart and selected my own items, something I have not been able to do for the past 4 months. I also graduated to changing a laundry load on my own, and knocked off a bunch of ironing this week. I still need help with many things, but it is wonderful to add to the list of things I can now do.

3. Unexpected generosity. Someone anonymously paid for two weeks of my cleaning helper’s wages. This young lady has been a cheerful and exceedingly capable helper to me as I continue to heal. When she told me of the gift I burst into tears of joy and gratitude. Benefactor, if you read this blog, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

4. Lunch out. After grocery shopping yesterday, my daughter suggested we get lunch out at our favorite restaurant in town. I was feeling quite tired from shopping, and I’m not a spontaneous person, but it sounded like a nice idea, so we went for it. My meal was excellent as usual, and I had plenty for both lunch and supper from that one meal. It was extra-special to spend some ‘girl time’ with one of my lovely daughters!

5. Evaluating I see the surgeon again on Wednesday. I feel my leg is strengthening, but I am still struggling with lack of stamina and overall strength. It will be interesting to see if one leg is longer than the other after this surgery, but it’s hard to tell that until I am walking on it normally. I’m also looking forward to adding more physio to gain strength and balance. Dealing with my fibromyalgia in addition provides an interesting challenge. If I push too hard my muscles are in agony and I am unable to do my physio for several days. If I don’t push enough, my strengthening will be delayed. I need a great deal of wisdom as I go forward, as well as listening carefully to the way my body responds to the exercise.

Photos from the past few weeks:

Vibrant colours

Balcony view

Cattail convention

Mountain corona

Prairie standard

Magnificent mountains

Friday’s Fave Five #95

My goal is to post FFF each week to make myself intentionally stop and recall blessings of the previous week. It’s amazing to me how often I have to rack my brain to think of five I want to write about when each week is full of God’s grace as well as many blessings Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Warm weather October weather in Alberta can be really cold or it can be very pleasant. Though we’ve had snow a couple of times this fall, we’ve also enjoyed some beautiful warm days. With my current limited mobility I am grateful for every day without ice and snow so I can enjoy the sunshine and take my short daily walks unhindered.

2. Phone visit with a friend A dear friend lives thousands of miles away and recently suggested a phone chat to catch up. We thoroughly enjoyed talking together and plan to continue these visits on a regular basis.

3. Ride in the country I was feeling under the weather on a particularly warm and beautiful day. Since my husband has a lighter schedule this week he willingly took me for a drive in the country so I could enjoy the warm day. Though I will be so very glad to be cleared to drive again, I am thankful for my husband’s kindness in driving me around during my convalescence.

4. Healing My hip continues to heal and strengthen. I am now able to do more physio, walk around more, and put more weight on the leg. I am hoping to receive the green light for full weight bearing at my November 1 appointment. I am also extremely grateful for continually increasing mental acuity now that I am completely off the pain meds.

5. Handicap helps A century ago my hip condition would have meant I was relegated to the rocking chair by the pot-bellied stove and labeled as a cripple. I am so thankful that we live at a time when my hip replacement revision surgery was possible and for the many handicap-friendly aids loaned to me to help me have a safe and successful recovery.

Photos from this week – from the mountains….to the prairies….

Mountain view

Dusting of snow

Valley view

Larch branches

Sunlight and shadow

Autumn abates

Fence line fluff

Nature’s cotton candy

Pastoral peacefulness

 

 

Friday’s Fave Five #94

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Canadian Thanksgiving We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last Monday with family and friends, and were even able to enjoy our feasting in the lovely autumn weather outside on the deck!

2.Road trip This was a full week including a road trip to Canmore for our church’s leadership annual planning meeting. I had to take most of my temporary handicap equipment with me, which meant others had to help set it up and haul my walker in and out of the car for me. I was blessed by their patience and kindness!

3. Photography My beloved drove me around to take pictures while we were in the mountains. I have missed many things while recovering from surgery including being able to drive around and take pictures. My husband is a busy man, so his loving sacrifice to cheerfully drive me around when he has other things demanding his attention was a wonderful gift to me.

Clouds lifting over the Rockies

Autumn snow

Possibilities

Contrast

Golden autumn

Lone leaf

Autumn afternoon

 

4. Pumpkin beverage I have many food intolerances, including coffee. I really enjoy fall harvest flavours and thought it would be fun to try a pumpkin spice latte, but it has coffee in it so I’ve never tried it. While on our little trip I discovered that I can order this fall-themed beverage without the coffee. They call it a pumpkin spice crème or pumpkin spice steamer. It was delicious!

5. Mountains I love the mountains. I love the majesty, beauty, and ever-changing face of the mountains. From snow-capped, sun-dappled peaks, to howling storms, to mist and cloud draping craggy mountain shoulders, the mountains provide a constantly changing canvas for photography. Here are a few mountain shots from our weekend trip.

Layers

Mysterious

 

Fresh snow

Morning mountains

 

Friday’s Fave Five #93

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Alice in Wonderland These past few months have seemed very much like my own personal Alice in Wonderland experience. My body’s response to the meds I was on caused a great deal of cognitive impairment and emotional upheaval. Over the past three months I have experienced hallucinations, depressive thoughts, accentuated fears, and have regularly misread, misheard, and misunderstood much of what filtered through my brain. I heartily sympathize with Alice and all her puzzling and weird experiences. We made the decision a couple of weeks ago to wean off the pain killers, which I have done. I’m dealing with some pain as I increase movement and physio, but the mental restoration has been a blessed relief.

2. Health update Last Wednesday my surgeon moved up to 50% weight bearing to be increased to 75% weight bearing by the time I see him again on November 1. My x-rays show no movement of the prosthesis, which is good, and healthy bone growth around the bone graft. I have some new physio which once again reminds me how weak my leg is, but I am seeing increased strength and ability as I plug away at doing my exercises.

3. Snow and cozy fires We’ve had two snowfalls thus far interspersed with some beautiful Indian summer weather. My husband is a master fire builder and built us this lovely fire to enjoy on an inclement day.

4. Visits I have enjoyed some lovely visits from family and church friends the past few weeks. My pastor’s wife, who is also unwell, organized an encouragement tea and fellowship time for me with church leadership wives a couple of weeks ago. It was a blessing to spend time with these ladies and focus on God’s goodness with them.

5. Bowl of sunshine Some little ‘adopted’ grandchildren came over and plucked the last of the summer blooms for me from our yard. We put them in a bowl of water and enjoyed this sun-dappled bowl of sunshine on our kitchen table for a few days.

Thanks for your patience as I have been away from writing the past few months. I am hoping to resume my Titus 2 Thoughts very soon, as well as stay current with FFF now that my brain fog has lifted. Hope you too, have some blessings from the week to rejoice in!

Friday’s Fave Five

On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Family in Houston I have family living in the Houston area. Though they were affected by Hurricane Harvey (like everyone else in the area) they are all safe, for which I am grateful.

We live in the town of Beaumont, Alberta. There is also a Beaumont, Texas east of Houston. A distraught mother was trying to get news of her family in Beaumont, Texas, and was somehow connected to the Beaumont, Alberta emergency dispatcher. Instead of rerouting her, he took the time to track down her family (after contacting emergency services in Beaumont, Texas.) He made sure she found out about her family (they were safe) and did not pass her off to someone else or tell her she had the ‘wrong number.’ Pretty impressive and admirable. The Canadian way, as they say.

2. Orchids and ice cubes I learned something new and wonderful about orchids lately – you water them with ice cubes! Probably most of you knew this, but I was surprised and delighted to learn that I could water them by adding three ice cubes once a week. With my former reputation as a house plant killer, this was welcome news indeed. I received a beautiful orchid plant shortly after my surgery and it’s still looking great (thanks to the weekly ice cube watering!)

3. Out and about My recovery from surgery continues slowly, as requested by my surgeon. I am doing better on crutches when I occasionally try them out, made it to church for the third week in a row, and have begun to do an errand or two each week when someone is available to drive me. Last week my husband and I enjoyed breakfast at I-hop, where I found a gluten-free friendly selection on the senior’s menu. My stamina is still fairly low so these jaunts wear me out, but I am hoping to gradually build up that stamina as I carefully and regularly get out and about.

4. Eggs Our local drug store has the best regular price on a dozen eggs of anyone in town. A bonus is that on Tuesdays seniors receive an additional 20% off. This past week I asked my husband to pop in and get a couple dozen eggs. Our store had a buy one get one free special on the eggs because they have a best by date of mid-September. They also gave the senior special so we got those eggs for less than a dollar a dozen. Nice deal and an unexpected blessing.

5. God’s peace in the midst of challenges Our family is experiencing some challenges. It is a comfort and a blessing to know God’s peace as we face these challenges. Things may be unexpected or unwanted by us, but God has a purpose in all He ordains. We are praying for His will and leadership in all He brings our way.

I did not get out to take any photos this week. Hopefully soon!

Friday Fave Five #90

On Fridays I post FFF to intentionally recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Small town I love living in a small town. It’s not perfect, but people tend to look out for each other, greet each other, and rally together to support local causes. This week a very popular restaurant in town posted on their facebook page that they would trade baked goods for any extra mint from area residents’ gardens. How fun is that! Since my summer has been rerouted from regular activities to recovery, I have not been able to poke around in my garden, and had plenty of mint to share. Even though the baked goods were not gluten free, my family enjoyed the delicious breads, rolls and muffins given in trade for the mint.

2.More local stuff Two of my daughters are involved in the local arts council, one representing drama and one voice. Recently my daughter became aware that even though there are many families with young children in our town, there is no community children’s choir. She has taught voice lessons and coached musical theater for several years and decided to start a kids’ choir this fall. The local newspaper did a full-page piece on her which has generated even more interest than what she was already getting. This is very nostalgic for me as most of my kids participated in a community choir years ago.

3.Drive in the country Yesterday my husband took me for a drive in the country. I haven’t been out much since the surgery, which made this jaunt particularly enjoyable. We capped the drive with a take-out meal from Edo Japan. Though I could not get out and walk around, I was able to get a few photos from my seat in the car. What a refreshing afternoon!

4.Short lived flu Our youngest daughter had a flu last weekend which I picked up mid-week. Because I am still recovering from surgery I was concerned at first that the pounding headache was some sort of surgical side effect, but after talking with my daughter I realized I had identical symptoms that she did. Thankfully the headache dissipated after 24 hours.

5.Paring down on meds The past few days I have been able to significantly cut back on my pain meds. Though they have been necessary, they affect my mental state and I will be very glad to be off them altogether. Yay for clear thinking and a healing body! My next post-surgical check-up is Wednesday and I am praying for a good report.

Here are a few of those photos from yesterday.

Summer on the prairie

Roadside purple

Fading canola

Anybody home?

Prairie simplicity

Friday’s Fave Five #89

On Fridays I post FFF to intentionally recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too! (Yes, I’m late again and posting on Saturday!)

1.Green beans I love green beans! My little raised-bed garden has produced a bumper crop of tasty green beans this month. Last night we enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with garden-fresh green beans. Family and extended family joined us for an evening of food, fellowship, and games. Good memories!!

2.Kids Camping A co-worker of our son and his family flew in this week to go camping with some of my family in the Canadian Rockies. They had good weather and an enjoyable time of camping, hiking, and visiting special sites my children remember from their youth. Paul brought back some wonderful pictures so that even though I could not go with them, I was able to enjoy some of their experiences through photos.

3.Visits I’m still not getting out and about much since my surgery and hopefully will get the green light to move around more at my next check-up in mid-August. This week several young friends brought their little ones by for a visit with Purple Grandma, which was a blessing to me.

4.Improving mobility I am grateful that physio continues to go well and that I am feeling stronger overall. My mobility restrictions remain in place but I am getting better and more comfortable about moving from place to place in the house.

5.Peach tea I enjoy almost anything peach. Peach tea is a favorite beverage and I have collected peach green, peach rooibos, peach black, peach fruit, and peach herbal teas. I can’t drink black tea very often, but had some delicious peach black tea this week and really enjoyed it.

The last of my June beach vacation pictures are here.

Holden Beach waterway

Marsh sunset

Surf at Holden Beach

Contrast

Stillness

Marsh visitor

Here are some favorite family pics from the past couple of weeks.

Cozy

‘Hi, Sis!”

Friday Fave Five #88

On Fridays I post FFF to intentionally recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1.Beautiful fields Yesterday my husband drove me to my post-surgical check up. We drove out of our small town, through the countryside, and into Edmonton. The fields outside our town are beautiful! Canola, wheat, and other crops undulated in the summer breeze. So lovely!

2.Improvement and doing ok At my appointment yesterday I had four dozen staples removed from my incision. During the hip replacement surgery, the surgeon followed the previous incision as closely as possible to prevent my hip and leg looking any more Frankenstein-ish than it already does. He was pleased with the healing of the incision and with my x-rays but reminded me that since this was a correction of a previous surgery, healing would take longer. He also wants me to continue featherweight weight bearing for at least another month when I next see him. I have been hopping around using my walker but decided today that I would also work on using my crutches. For a couple of weeks after surgery, I was so weak, dizzy, shaky, uncoordinated, and nauseous that using crutches was not advisable. I think working on using them a little each day will give me more choices in getting around.

3.Sweet kisses from grandchildren How wonderful to have my grandchildren here for these few weeks and to enjoy their sweet little kisses and enthusiastic take on life!

4.Helpful supportive family My family continues to be amazingly helpful and supportive as I recover and am still very limited in what I am able to do. Each one of them has helped, blessed, and encouraged me on this unexpected journey. My church family and the broader Christian community has also blessed me in amazing ways. I am so very grateful for every one of these blessings.

5.God’s promises At these times of illness and emergency I sometimes struggle with fear. I am deeply grateful for God’s words which are truth and for those who speak them to me in my times of doubt and struggle. I have been frequently quoting Psalm 94:19, a verse I recently learned. “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” Amen!

I have not been out to take pictures since my emergency surgery so here are a few more photos from our June vacation in Holden Beach, North Carolina.

Askew

Marsh friend

Lovely lilies

Sunset reflections

Beauty all around

Sea oats on the waterway

 

Friday Fave Five #87

Suzanne hosts Friday Fave Five at Living to Tell the Story to encourage us to count our blessings each week.

Outside I was able to sit outside on a specially rigged chair on Monday night when the family was all here to celebrate my birthday. Since I was in hospital for my actual birthday, Monday was a special celebration for me. My daughter-in-law, Desiree, made a delicious Caprese salad using the basil from my herb garden and Anna made her fabulous berry pavlova for my birthday ‘cake’. Yum!!

Grandchildren Precious moments of time spent with my grandchildren are a wonderful gift. James sits still long enough for me to get some pictures!

Sweet sleep

Funny faces

Church family Our church family has been so loving and caring during my emergency. I am blessed and grateful for their continuing support.

Post-surgical progress My goal of getting off the opioids is closer to being met. I am down to one tramacet a day, and I have cut them in half to divide that one into a smaller morning and evening dose. My pain is manageable this way and the mental fog is lifting.

It’s been hard to know exactly how much to move and how much to avoid moving when on featherweight weight bearing restriction. I am neither consistent nor confident in my ability to meet the weight restriction goal every time I move from being seated or reclined to my walker. I will be glad for my post surgical appointment with x-rays on Thursday to see exactly how things stand with my bone graft and fracture.

Vacation photos This week I was able to sort and edit more photos from our Holden Beach vacation. Here are a few more from that trip.

Sunset over the marsh

Bird’s eye view

Marsh life

Waterway

Hydrangeas

Avian solitude

 

Titus 2 Thoughts #3 and Surgery Update

I have been home since Monday evening. I cannot remember a time when I was more exhausted than I was on Monday night. My meager post-surgery strength did not match the demands my body required of me. That night I deeply second-guessed coming home instead of going into rehab. I could barely move, much less properly engage the specific mechanics required of me to consistently keep the weight off my right leg.

My week was filled with focus, practice, adjustment, and caution. I had little to no pain in hospital, but as my previous painkillers worked their way out of my system and I reduced the amount of new painkiller I was taking, my pain increased slightly. Was this a bad sign? Was I doing something wrong? Should I cut back on physio? Increase it? More meds? Less? Not sure.

The surgeon wanted to see me two weeks after my surgery. After returning home I called to make the appointment. I discover that the ortho clinic will be closed two weeks after my surgery, and closed for the entire week. My follow up is now 3.5 weeks after surgery. Will this be ok? Will my dressing last? What about my staples?

As the meds work their way out of my system, I struggle with fatigue, ennui, enervation, and depression. I hesitated to write about this, but it is my reality. When we share what is going on in our lives with the body of Christ, we do not share only the blessings, but also the struggles. The love and prayers of God’s people are a great encouragement in times of struggle.

Slowly I am seeing improvement. I am better able to hop using my walker and keep most of the weight off my injured leg. I discovered I tend to hold my breath when I am concentrating. I need to talk myself through the steps. Remember to hold in my abs, breathe, hold my arms straight, and move forward, keeping my foot barely on the ground for balance. And again. And again.

How did my appliance fail? How did I go so long without knowing it? Did the doctor do something wrong? Was it something I did wrong? Am I doing something wrong now? Is it even possible to find the truth about this?

Why hadn’t my hip itself hurt? The last month before the x-rays I felt crooked and was unable to stand straight. I felt the tightness in the muscles of my back and in the thigh of my right leg, but when I poked the hip area, nothing hurt. I thought it was my fibromyalgia. I now realize that not every muscle pain is fibromyalgia.

I become aware of many others who are struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually, and I pray for them. Sin has touched and cursed us all. We all need Christ and His truth and His salvation. We need to speak truth to each other in times of sorrow and in times of joy. We are family. We rejoice and we weep with each other.

Today as I heal and continue to work to strengthen, I am enjoying some special blessings. My family has arrived from China and I get to hold and talk with my grandchildren, listen to their dreams, join in their imaginings. This morning my grandchildren picked the first of my garden peas to share with me. Well-formed, sweet and delicious, they are consumed with gratitude and satisfaction.

I am abundantly blessed through this ordeal to have my daughters living nearby ready to sacrifice to help in any way possible. God has also blessed me with many children of the heart who visit and write and stop by to help. They bring their little ones, my ‘adopted’ grandchildren, to visit Purple Grandma and hand me sweaty fistfuls of flowers or grasses or other treasures selected just to cheer me.

Truth is, just like many others who suffer unexpectedly, I may never know why this happened. God chose it for me for His glory and my good. I do not understand what that looks like right now or how it helps me and the body of Christ overall. I struggle to rejoice in infirmity. I struggle against self-focus and negative thinking. I struggle to rejoice in the Lord always, but by God’s grace, I am not content to be disobedient.

The prayers and love of God’s people are very precious to me. Thank you to each of you who have prayed for me and continues to pray with me. I pray God will bless you for your love and concern.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.