November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wherever you are and whatever you do... Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all a delicious feast with those you hold dear.

November 23, 2015

The Blue Man Group

Aside from running a couple errands, grocery shopping, a few meals and two dinners at friend's houses, I haven't gotten out much in the past two months. I was delighted to learn that Travelzoo was offering $25 tickets for locals to preview performances of the Blue Man Group. They are now, back at The Luxor. Frank and I had seen the show ages ago in Chicago. We liked it then, and I thought it was something Nick would also enjoy. He's been really into music lately, and I thought it would be a good introduction to a production show. I bought tickets for the 6pm performance on Monday evening. Mike joined us.

The theater is easy to find on the mezzanine level. You are able to bring drinks inside the theater if they are in plastic containers. We stopped at Starbucks beforehand, Nick's choice. We had seats in Row E 46-49. They were on the far right of the stage. If given the choice I'd try for something more centrally located so you don't need to crane your neck. That said, the seats suited us just fine. It was a full theater, and the show flowed as it should despite it being a preview. The acts were fun and interactive. The show has changed quite a bit since I first saw it. Back then, there were no smart phones, and even Razr cellphones didn't exist so there were no selfies. Both now monopolize much of the show. I prefer the percussion acts, but it's a fair mix of comedy, art and music. It's fun for all ages. Ideal for first timers, those with a bunch of Cirque Shows under their belt might be a bit disappointed by the meager production value (by comparison), but don't let it dissuade you. Especially, if you can snag discounted tickets. Nick didn't know much about The Blue Man Group prior to going, but he did have a good time. He loved the dance party. He wanted the autograph of a Blue Man, but settled with a photo.

November 20, 2015

The Road to Recovery

After two weeks in the splint it was time to upgrade to a cast and have the stitches removed. I didn't know what to expect, but the incisions were cleaner than I imagined. I had two small ones along the top of my ankle from the arthroscopy, and of course the large one pictured below from the Brostrom-Gould procedure and peroneal tendon repair. It sort of looked like a freaky smiley face. It probably would have been better had I not stopped pain medication days prior. I had healed so nicely, the stitches were a bit stubborn to remove. The burning and stinging was tolerable, but definitely uncomfortable. I was relieved when it was done.

Then, my frankenfoot was prepped for a hard cast. I was given my choice of colors, but I let Nick make the selection. He chose blue. And so, the next two weeks went by at a snails pace. I much preferred the splint. It wasn't as heavy and it allowed for swelling. It also didn't snag my bedding. I fought claustrophobia a few times, I know how silly it seems, since the cast only covers the foot and all, but when my foot would swell, it would really freak me out. It was difficult to find comfortable positions, my heel would routinely go numb. My toes remained numb since the surgery too, so overall it was really uncomfortable. I was relieved when I found a pocket in pillows that allowed me to rest - at least for a bit. I lusted over sleep, but it so rarely came.

Finally, on the 22nd of October it was time to remove the cast. Showering without a garbage bag taped to my leg seemed like such a luxury. I was so hopeful that sleep would come easier, it took time, but it eventually did. My incision was healing nicely. I transitioned into the boot, though, I was still unable to bear weight it came as great relief. I no longer fought the claustrophobic episodes. It's amazing how being in control can reduce anxiety.

I anxiously awaited the next two weeks to fly by. My next appointment was at 6 weeks post-op, I was eager to get cleared to walk. I was also excited to be able to use the hot tub again. I did receive the doctor's blessing to begin walking, but when I tried I realized I didn't know how. I was crushed. It might have been foolish of me, but I really thought I'd just be able to walk. I thought it would be like all the times I sprained it before - it would hurt, but I could muster steps, and they'd gradually improve. No such luck, my foot was lame. So much so, I'd swear my foot didn't exist; it felt like I was standing on a stick. The numbness and pain was too much to bear. It was simply too weak and stiff. My range of motion was so little I couldn't walk, no matter how badly I wanted to. I wanted to start physical therapy immediately and be aggressive with the schedule. I thought since my deductible was met, I'd only be responsible for co-insurance. However, I was mistaken. Visits would run $75 each visit. Paying $900/mo was out of the question. Who could afford that?

It took an hour and more than a dozen phone calls, but I found a facility that was covered and could see me a few days later rather than weeks. I'm opting to go only once a week, for now, my therapist gives me lots of homework in between sessions. I've only gone twice, but after the first week I was able to take my first steps since having the surgery. I can only do so in the boot, but I'll take it. He pointed out that my heel was not touching the ground & you must if you'd like to walk. It seems like the simplest task to sit flat footed with your heel to the ground, but let me tell you, I had to work at it for five days before it began to feel somewhat normal. The pins and needles sensation remains, unfortunately. It may be a long time before it improves. It's possible, I'll never regain full feeling. I certainly hope it's not the case, but at least I can prepare for it, if it happens to be.

At seven weeks, I started walking extremely short distances in the boot. By the eight week mark, I'm weening from the knee scooter and building my endurance walking. I cannot wait to take a step without the aid of the boot. I keep trying with the help of the walker at home, but I tire easily. In the meantime, I'll keep at my exercises, building strength and improving range of motion.

November 16, 2015

Nick is Nine

Nick turned nine on the 4th of November. It seems impossible, but it's true. We celebrated at Outback Steakhouse, which was his choice, he loves the ribs there. Then, rather than a party he chose to have his friend Gavyn stay overnight. The boys played games, built their own pizzas and sundaes. We sang happy birthday and he enjoyed the cake Amy made that was half vanilla and chocolate.

Then, the next day Amy took the boys to Hardkore Parkour. Nick has been very interested in it for the past month or two. He was super excited to go. The gym offers a number of challenges including foam pits, trampolines and tumble tracks. It's a workout, but he had a blast and he cannot wait to return. This boy is smart, funny, kind and curious. I love him to pieces. It brings me so much joy to see him learn and grow daily. Tonight, we are taking him to see his first Las Vegas show, Blue Man Group.

November 11, 2015

Learning to Swim

Soon, my family and I will head to California to spread my mom's ashes. Since her death, I've had nothing but time for reflection. These are 10 things I've learned:

1. No matter how prepared you think you are for a death, you can never be fully prepared for the loss and the grief.

2. However much you think it will hurt, it is going to be so much worse.

3. Death makes people awkward and uncomfortable. It sucks, because it's when you need them most.

4. Chances are you might not get the support you need.

5. When you do, you'll find it is difficult to identify your needs.

6. You'll be envious of those that still have their parents and/or grandparents.

7. You will find yourself in fits of anger; wishing others could gain some perspective.

8. You become part of a club that no one wishes to join; yet, the members are the only ones who may begin to understand how you feel.

9. The waves of gutting emotion may wane, but they never disappear.

10. It will change you.

November 9, 2015

When It Rains, It Pours

Truer words have not been spoken... I cannot recall another time having had a better understanding of the expression "when it rains, it pours" the weeks following my mom's death have been incredibly difficult. Matters have only been made worse by untimely things going haywire.

It began the night she died, as Mike raced to drive back to Vegas from Pahrump in her final hour the transmission of her Chevy Blazer called it quits. Thankfully, it got him to the hospital safely and we were able to drive it home (just unable to use reverse). But it's sat in front of my house since waiting until we can transfer the title to sell, junk or donate it.

Days later, the washing machine at her house went kaput. And her roof started leaking. I've since purchased a new washer, but I'm still in denial over the roof. We had a massive scare when the well stopped pumping, but thankfully it only needed to be reset after a power outage.

Frank and I purchased a commercial grade elliptical Sept 12. The first one shipped was damaged, the second was in good condition but the part that allows it to incline is defective. The replacement part just arrived this week. The equipment is still not fully operational.

My Hyundai Elantra is less than two years old and has 27,000 miles and the first time I tried to drive it after surgery - it refused to start. I called roadside assistance thinking I needed to jump the battery, but no such luck. I had to have it towed. Turns out the engine blew - Didn't see that coming. The saving grace was that is under manufacturer warranty. Oh, and that morning Frank had a flat tire that couldn't be repaired. I swear we go through tires like toilet paper.

The same weekend my car died, my brother's water heater exploded damaging the items in his storage closet.

And about a month ago I reserved a yacht which I thought would be perfect for spreading my mom's ashes. But atlas, it too had engine problems. The only time it could be repaired is during our reservation. Back to the drawing board.

This doesn't even take in account the dozens of annoyances that happen day to day or the expenses that never seem to end or the aggravation of everything that comes with the territory relating to one's death.

I might just run away, if only I could walk.