Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Losing Track of Time

A couple of days ago, Pat and I were talking about how long ago our surgery was.  I was sure that the answer was 6 weeks.  Since I'm always right 😉, I made him get out the calendar and count the weeks because he thought it was 7 this week.  After counting several times, I admitted he was right.

7 weeks!  That means the lifting restriction will be up next week for sure and I can get my weights out.  It's funny, too, that now that I know we're farther along than I thought, I feel better.  The light at the end of the tunnel of being an invalid is in view, so I can go back to feeling healthy.  😀

In honor of that, I walked to the post office and back this morning - about 4 miles.  No marathon, but about double my usual distance.  And it felt great!  I've been doing some yoga, and plan to start back to class on Friday if there's room for me.  I'm all signed up for March, too.  The residual soreness around the main incision is still there but much better and my energy level isn't back to normal, but I feel like myself again.

Pat is doing well, too.  He still has to avoid germs so can't be around lots of people and that keeps us feeling a little cooped up (not to mention the torrential rains that make it less than desirable to be outside).  Good news is that he had a stent removed that was to guard against a build up of scar tissue where the new kidney connected to the bladder and, while the procedure to get it out was less than enjoyable, the irritation from it has gone away.  He is doing well with his labs and is down to getting them done once a week and visiting his doctors every two weeks.  Things are looking up!

We had a fun outing on Valentine's Day.  We went to Flaming Geyser Park on the Green River, which is only about a twenty minute drive from here.  We had a nice little hike along the river and through the trees but didn't go too far due to the muddiness of the ground.  It was a rare nice day in the midst of lots of rain, so careful walking was called for.  We need to go back in the spring and explore further.

The water level in our lake is high - we usually have about three more feet of beach than this and the pilings are visible under the dock.  Reminder:  clicking on any photo on the blog will make it bigger if you want more detail.

I'm busy knitting, of course.  Currently one obsession is a mystery shawl called Hale Bopp.  It's by an Australian designer, Ambah O'Brien.   I've admired her patterns before but never made one.  It's been a lot of knitting through Clue 2 but I like how it's coming out.

And the last good news:  while I've been very happy that stretchy leggings are in fashion right now, since that's all I've been able to wear, I am pleased to report that I can again zip up my jeans!  Will wonders never cease?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weather Update

When I last posted, we had passed our cold snap and were having fairly mild weather, which gave us lots of opportunities to get out and walk.  If you're not familiar with the Pacific Northwest, it is a lovely place to live for a lot of the year.  The winters, however, are gray.  The skies match the pavement.  If you live on a lake, as we do, the sky matches the color of the water, which is the color of the cement patio and the color of the dock.  It also rains quite a lot.  If you have recently had surgery and must stay in this gray atmosphere until further notice, it can get quite depressing.  If you can't get out to the gym because you're not allowed to be around germs or you can't lift any weight and you can't walk outside because it's pouring rain, you get doubly depressed because you can't get any endorphins going by exercising or seeing the sun.

So, we had a nice change last week when it snowed!  We don't get much snow around here and I've been hoping for some for the last month.  It snowed all night Sunday and off and on for the next two days.  It was so pretty!  Monday morning Pat had to go to the hospital for his labs, but he was able to go to the one closer to us and he made it there and back just fine.  Other than that, we made stew in the crock pot and stayed in the house and looked out the windows.

I even went out and made a little snowman.  He wasn't too large since I couldn't lift a big ball of snow but he was cute.

By Wednesday we could walk outside; the snow wasn't too icy, too deep, or too melted.  It was so nice to be out although my walk was delayed until afternoon so I could finish making the pair of mittens I was determined to wear.  They ended up being very warm; I knit them very tightly out of handspun wool yarn.  Unfortunately I ran out of yarn before I made the thumbs so they're a little different color.  But they still worked great.

The lake froze again and had a layer of snow on the top, which was cool to see.  I've never been here in the winter before, so everything was new.  We worked on our jigsaw puzzle near our gas fireplace and were cozy and warm.

We threw extra seed out for the birds and watched them gather on the snowy lawn.  Doesn't take much to keep us amused!

After the snow left, we had a whole day without power.  That was when my collections came in quite handy!  Candle holders, candles (glassybaby and Partylite) and yarn (we wrapped up in sweaters, socks, shawls, and blankets) were well used that day.

Yesterday brought the torrential rain and flooding, but luckily we both made it to our errands and back home successfully.  Pat had to go have the shortness of breath thing checked out AGAIN but so far it still seems to be a medication issue that comes and goes and won't be serious.  I went to get a pedicure!

This morning we had a little break and actually saw some sun so we got going on our walk, stopped to say hello to the nice folks in our yoga class and got home before the next deluge started.  This is on the way through the field at the park.  This pond full of geese is usually just a grassy area.  But see that bright area? That's the sun!

We even had the energy to clear up a bunch of the broken limbs from the bamboo and maple tree.  The snow took a toll on them.  It felt so good to be outside and actually doing a little something!

Then the wind kicked up and the clouds rolled back in.  Back to the knitting and the next puzzle...

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Progress is a Relative Term

We had a little upset in our usual schedule of resting last week...we both can walk around our lake, which is about 2 miles, with no trouble.  Pat, though, had been noticing a bit of shortness of breath while walking uphill.  We, of course, ignored it until it got pretty bad last Friday, when he called to report it.  He had had a similar occurence several years ago and it had been a reaction to a blood pressure medication so we assumed that would be the case again.

The transplant coordinator talked to the doctor and they decided we needed to come in to their ER.  It's an hour away with no traffic and it of course was Friday night.  So we ate dinner and hit the road. The reason they wanted us at UWMC was so the transplant docs could oversee any tests and make sure the new kidney wouldn't be compromised.  That sounded good, until the transplant representative showed up three hours after we arrived and said she had just found out we were there.  So much for organization.  Anyway, in addition to the medication reaction, they were concerned about a possible blood clot in the lungs.  That would have been bad, so we were happy they checked it out.  The usual test would have been a CT scan with contrast but that's a no-no because of the new kidney.  They decided to keep him overnight in the hospital and did some ultrasound scans the next day that showed no blood clots.  A lot of trouble but a good result.  A change in medication and everything seems fine again.

So, back to me.  I had been feeling pretty energetic...we walked on Friday and might have done another errand before that.  Then we got in the car at 5:30 pm to drive to the hospital.  After all the hurry-up-and-waiting there, I left to come back home around 9:45.  They kindly said I could stay at the hospital if I wanted thanks.  I've had enough of that.  I made good time getting home but still didn't get to bed until after 11:00.  I didn't get a great night's sleep and was up around 6:30 with texts from the patient and one of the kids asking about him.

So.....since I was up and since I had to drive through Seattle to get to the hospital, I decided I'd go to the glassybaby seconds sale.  I had been tossing it around in my mind for a couple of days and, since I was feeling pretty good, decided to stop by and check it out.  I knew people lined up way before it opened at 8:00, so I thought I'd get there a little later and maybe the line wouldn't be so bad.  Wrong!

Luckily I had a wool sweater on and it wasn't too cold, since I left my coat in the car a couple of blocks away and ended up standing in the line outside for at least an hour and a half.  Once you're there, you might as well stay, right?  Here's a photo that Sima found on instagram that includes me.  It looks like we'd moved up a bit since I took the first photo.

I fell in love with glassybaby a few years ago, and have collected several.  They're rather pricey, though, so a chance to get perfectly imperfect ones (as they call them) at a discount of 35% is a deal.  We're usually not in Seattle in January, and I've bought some from the website during the sale when they discount three or more 10%.

So, long story short, my quick stop turned into a 3-1/2 hour marathon, but I filled up most of a box and managed to get out.  My box, however, might have weighed a little more than the 8 pounds I'm supposed to be limited to, but sometimes ya gotta make an exception.  I don't seem to have any ill effects from the carrying.

I apparently usually choose the blue-green color.

If you notice the two green ones, however, they were intentional purchases.  I thought the green was the closest I saw to the color of the living donor ribbon and I wanted one of that color for us.  Pat suggested I get one to give to the other donor in our exchange group, so I got two.  We hope to get to meet them in the next couple of weeks.

Then the day progressed; I drove to the hospital and waited in Pat's room for the tests to be finished and him to be discharged, which happened about 3:30.  Then we drove home.

The moral of this bunch of details is that, after having more activity and staying up later two days in a row, I haven't been able to keep my eyes open past 8:30 pm or so and then have proceeded to sleep about 10 hours.  My energy, alas, is not keeping up yet with my opinion of it.  I guess I need a wake-up call every few days to keep me from getting too cocky.  We're one month out from surgery and healing up very well.  But apparently resting still needs to be an item on the to-do list every day.  I just hope I don't get too used to it!