Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Am A Gardender.... AND an Experimenter!

Valentines Day!! Did everyone remember to say "I love you" to all the people in your life? What do you do on Valentine's Day? Go our for dinner? Lunch? Share your gifts, time, love? I think I did a little bit of all of that. My Best Friend and I met for coffee this morning, lunch was shared with Hubby and one of my daughters and her little ones. We decided against going out to dinner tonight but our regular date night is tomorrow so we will do something fun then. Had two of the "grands" over to watch Trolls and loved them up. And a special surprise from my hubby....

First, let me say that we don't usually do much of an exchange of gifts. But while I was at coffee, he went shopping at an antique store for a gift for me. He knows I LOVE all that old stuff, especially the stuff that can still be used. I've gotten butter churns, a hand-cranked sewing machine, we have old Aladdin lamps around the house and just last week he surprised me with a cute little old timey sewing kit. 

A cigar box, pretty small but filled with interesting things.....

Sewing bobbins, tatting shuttles, dressmakers transfer wheel, screwdriver and super long and sharp sewing needles. 

And one more thing... a picture of this fine man on a tintype way in the bottom of the cigar box. Who knows who he is or was but finding him in the bottom of the cigar box was a real surprise.

So when I got home, there on my desk was another totally interesting gift.... check this out....

It is a cardboard type box filled with 18 different vials of SEEDS! Very old seeds. We found the date of 1905 on one of the bottles. 

Each of the bottles was labeled with the Latin name and its regular name in very fine and faint print. One had the paper on the inside of the bottle. From what we can figure out, they are all types of medicinal plants. Mentioning just a few...Russian Thistle, Castor Beans, Locust Tree, Meadow Rue and Blackthorn. 

Those who know me well, know that I am an experimenter. The first thing I wanted to do was to open the vials, take out a couple of seeds, start the growing process by putting them between damp paper towels and then plant them and see if they would grow. And then... wait until they were full grown and take some of their seeds from the fresh variety and recreate the little vials again from 2017.  It was also intriguing to think of who this may have belonged to in its history and why it was created in the first place. A school project? Seeds being taken into the West as it was broken so the medicinals would be sure to be in place in a rugged land? A Doctors kit? Well, I love history and the way things were done and making up all kinds of stories in my head about what I find. It was THE PERFECT Valentine's Day gift for someone like me!! I love it to the moon and back! And I will keep you posted when I decide to do the gardening experiment. 

My husband really knows me is all I can say. Happy Valentine's Day honey... and yes, I'd marry you all over again. (Did I mention we will be married for 42 years in April?) So hope your day was sweet and you were able to spend it with the ones you love. 

Thanks for visiting my Blog and come back again....

Monday, February 13, 2017

Something New Going On Here.....

It's been a while friends. Life has a way of moving forward like an endless ride on a roller coaster.

We have been preparing for retirement, a BIG change in our lives. My husband has worked for the entire time I've known him, and I met him when I was 15 years old! Last year, after working for the same company for 35 years, he decided it was time to begin thinking about retiring and of course that meant I needed to prepare the financial parts of it. 

Back when we were first married in 1975 (I know, 42 years this year!!) we fell into our jobs. He made the money and I made it stretch. It wasn't always easy to be a stay-at-home mom of 4 kids and making enough money each month so that my kids today don't remember hard times at all. Guess we did a good job huh? We learned to be frugal and make the dollar stretch a LOT! As each of our 4 grew up, married and moved out, we were able to save more money each month, carefully building our nest egg for the future. 

We have been on "terminal leave" from his work since mid-January, using up vacation from past years and still on full pay. Come April 1, my Birthday, things are going to be different! That is his true retirement date. For the past month, we've been busy getting our medical, dental and eye insurance in place, finding a new financial institution to manage our 401k funds and making certain things will flow seamlessly when the change is made. I like to think of them as baby steps to our new future. It's nice having Wes home every day and sharing work, play and life with him. My friend keeps asking me if I'm tired of him yet and I honestly get to reply, "I don't think I will ever get tired of him!" 

Over the last few years, knowing exactly when he wanted to retire, we were maximizing our funds with company matched investments and saving the maximum we could and we think, THINK, we will have enough to last us as long as we may live. So we will be living on my husbands pension to begin with while we continue to try and save even more on retirement into our long term investment money. And possibly working some "contract work" in the first few years. Then, eventually, we will be adding in social security when its needed and hope we are able to stay "in the black" financially speaking.   Still, we all know that prices seem to rise quicker than the cost of living increases so we are going to be faced with an ever changing world and a finite paycheck. I'm sure we can make it work and I'd say subscribe to our Blog, YouTube Channel and other social sites to see how we are doing it. Maybe we can share and teach you something along the way.

We will be sharing how we budget our cash, shop for clothes and groceries, how to take advantage of all the Senior Discounts that are available, entertainment, gardening and a whole lot more. So add us to your Blog list and find us on YouTube and Instagram and come along for the ride.

1 Corinthians 16:2 "On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

There is MUCH to be THANKFUL for!

Thanksgiving 2016

It's been a while my friends. Just life, nothing else. Well, no other reason. Life is good! Retirement for my husband is just around the corner. We are getting our affairs in order to begin another chapter in our lives. We have much to be Thankful for!

Each other for sure!

Our children who are having their children and growing into responsible and loving families.

9 Grandchildren, 9!! Wow! And our kids have found work in this area so we get to see all of the "Littles" frequently.

Our health, making it to our age and having barely anything wrong with us. Yes, a bit of obesity and high blood sugar, nothing a diet and activity change wouldn't fix.

Our friends and family. Good friends are hard to come by in this age when most people think friends are the count on their Facebook accounts. I have REAL friends and we get together and do real things. I'm thankful for my wonderful sister, my cousins, my husbands' family. They make our life more enriched and blessed.

Today, My Sweetie and I are celebrating alone so our kids can go be with their respective in-laws for Thanksgiving. And our "Thanksgiving" will be gathering on the beach tomorrow for a bit of a Black Friday BBQ and Beach Bonfire. Not very traditional but very much "us".

I didn't get up early to make the stuffing, get "the bird" ready and put in in the oven, but I was remembering all the years I was a child when my Dad did that. I think he LOVED making the Thanksgiving feast. The pumpkin pies were made the day before and it was everything we cold do not to pick his crispy homemade crusts. He made his own version of stuffing with bread, raisins, apples, celery, onions, and innards? It had lots of herbs in it too. And it went INTO the bird. WE would have the traditional fruit salad, candied yams, green bean casserole, creamed corn, mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, homemade not out of a jar. And before THAT, we stuffed ourselves with crackers, cheese and beef stick slices from Hickory Farms while we watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I miss those days, ok, I don't miss doing the dishes AFTER the feast but that family... I miss them so much on Holidays like today. My family of origin is down to just my sister and I now. Our parents passed in 1998 and 2001 and our older sister passed in 2000. Do you suppose they are thinking of us here too? I'd like to think there is some kind of astral glue that binds us through all eternity.....Ahhhh, to live just one more of those old Thanksgivings......

So today, instead of creating a feast to feed the masses (ha ha ha), we are making a simple spatchcocked chicken on the Traeger grill along with some roasted cut up veggies for two. There will be some store bought croissant rolls served with butter and maybe a little square of pumpkin dessert with whipped topping.

I hope all of you are cherishing your families today and making memories. And those who have broken and "spirit" families like us take a minute to remember those good times and laugh, cry and speak a silent prayer filled with love for that time.

And to my readers, I hope you are still visiting every now and then. I'm going to try and do a much better job of writing here. I'm thankful for all of you too!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Anterior Hip Replacement Part 3: Home Recovery

So what happens when you leave the hospital 3 days after surgery? What do you need to know about continuing the healing process at home?

For me, a few things were arranged BEFORE I left the hospital. First off, my Dr. ordered a blood thinner and pain medication prescription that was filled and waiting for me at home. I was also told to have a laxative / stool softener ready.  Because I had so much pain walking before my surgery, I had a cane to use already but I also opted to order and use a walker. It was much more stable and balanced out the weight of my body over two sides rather than just one side as the cane does. As I said in the previous post, I also went ahead and got an adjustable potty that was placed over my existing one so I didn't have to squat so far down to the ground right away. And I had that lovely pack of tools to help me dress myself. 

Home Health Care was also ordered by my Dr. so that twice a week for the first 2 weeks home, I would have someone come to check my incision, redress it and put me through a bit of physical therapy. I went home on Thursday and on Friday I had my first visit from Home Health Care. 

For the first 2 to 3 days or so, I mostly rested in my bed, getting up to use the restroom, eat and walk about so things didn't get all stiff. My husband and kids made sure there was food for all the meals and that I had something to eat. One of the most difficult things was laying on my back to sleep.... ALL THE TIME! I am a "side-sleeper" and boy did my back get sore, even using a memory foam mattress topper. Each day I would get up, have my breakfast, take my medicine, take a "sink bath", get dressed in simple loose clothes, and then need to rest for a bit. On Sunday I missed taking my pain meds on time and realized there really wasn't any pain. So I just stopped cold turkey. Never had any pain after that at all. BUT.... we get to Day 7.... one week after my surgery.

Maybe you do know and maybe you don't, but when you take pain meds or have surgery where you get pain medication, you tend to get constipated....REALLY CONSTIPATED. Sorry all, but it's the truth. I had a bit of an education about laxatives before I left the hospital. Apparently there are stool softeners and there is laxative and there IS a difference. While stool softeners draw water in to keep stool soft, laxatives stimulate the need to go. I had taken stool softeners all during my first week home but had no urge to go. I had also eaten quite lightly knowing that what goes in must come out. On Day 7 I finally awoke to the urge to go but it was impossible to go. I was drinking prune juice, taking stool softeners and laxatives but nothing. SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE! Hubby went to the store and I think he bought one of each thing they had! Now I was ready to try the mini enema treatments. Still nothing worked. So I turned to my faithful friend, the computer, in hopes that someone out there had tackled this subject and SHARED with the rest of us what to do. And here's a YouTube video that I found. Using the techniques shared there helped me so much. Still it was almost 3 days of feeling like crap, no pun intended, before I was once again myself. One of the things that seemed to help me was returning to eating almost like normal. Food in food out theory. If I ate to lightly, it would be days before that was helping to push things through.  I began eating normal size meals as often as I felt I could. My good friend told me, after the fact, that I needed to take a Senokot laxative each time I took a pain pill. She's had the issue before and says it works really well so I'm just putting that out there for you guys.

At the tail end of the constipation came Day 9.... depression for no known reason unless it was a delayed reaction of discontinuing the pain meds cold turkey. That and I had been miserable with the constipation. From the time I woke up that morning, all I could do was cry. Everything seemed hopeless to me. There were still so many things I couldn't do. I was still constipated. I knew my husband was going to work in about 4 days and I wasn't well enough to do EVERYTHING yet. The things in my life that give me some relaxation and comfort, gardening, playing with my pets, sitting and knitting.... were still impossible. My garden was down a ramp from my house and I didn't think I could or should try that yet. I was using an adjustable desk chair to sit in so I didn't have to drop down as low as my couch and my couch was where my little doggies were. My back was sore from laying on it day after day after day... well, life seemed pretty bleak at that point. I was in the bathroom washing my hands and looked in the mirror. Wow! I looked awful. The dry shampoo I was made my hair stiff and ugly. I just started bawling! Well, hubby said he was going to help me wash my hair and he cleaned out my kitchen sink and got things all nice and all I had to do was bend over a bit. I cried through the entire process even though it felt SO good!! Took a nice little sink bath and some Calms Forte and slept better than I had in 2 days! The following day the depression was gone, the constipation was finally over and my real healing began!

My home health care person, Randy, continued coming to my house making sure things were doing well. Each time he would come, we would go for a short walk outside. I transitioned from walker to cane to NOTHING in no time at all! Funny story, he would walk behind me to assess if I was limping or moving funny and of course, don't you know, my nosiest neighbor was outside watching. Randy would say, "Walk ahead, I want to see how you move," and I could only imagine the story my husband would hear at the end of the day about the guy who came and spent an hour at a time with me while HE was at work. Too funny. My last day of Home Health Care Aid came 6 days before my appt. with my Dr. I was so excited to go back and show my Dr. all I could do now! This was an amazing recovery process!

Hubby and I got up early for our trip up Hwy. 101 to Templeton on June 23. We checked in and sat in the lobby waiting our turn. A gentleman walked by and said something to the front desk staff and I thought to myself, "That sure sounds like the guy who told me about Dr. Sima!!" I thought about running out the front door after him and asking if it was him but I chickened out. When my turn came up, we went into the back and I had some new x-rays done. While I was relaying that story to the nurse, she said, "I bet that WAS him because he was talking to us on his appt. this morning about the woman he met at Starbucks and referred to this office." Oh man, and I missed my chance!! I told her when he comes in again, let him know he can call me or see if he will take a call from me. I need to tell him thank you. If it wasn't for him, I would not be here today experiencing this outcome!!

Next, we went into the room where the Dr. had all the x-rays up. Wow, he did such a magnificent job of everything! I could see little notes he had made on the x-rays noting where the bone would be cut and just how large the socket would need to be. There was also a measurement he had done to level my leg out so I would not have a limp anymore. He got it right on!! I mean, I'm already forgetting I even have anything in my leg. Dr. Sima asked if there was anything I was having trouble doing and I said, "Getting things up off the floor. But I'm using the grabbers and its working." He tells me, "Bend over and touch the floor." WHAT!!!!!????? No way! My leg will pop out for sure! "Just do it, bend over and try to touch the floor." So I did. And the only reason I couldn't touch the floor was because my muscles had less flexibility than a couple of years ago. Oh My GOSH!!! I can do this and not pop anything out!!! 

"Well, can I work out at the gym now?"
Can I ride my bike?"
"Of course, if you know how."
"What about my motorcycle?"
"You can do anything you did before you had this problem. I've had people who go horseback riding, play sports, etc."

I think it was at this moment that I wanted to cry and laugh all at the same time. That's all I've wanted in the last 2 years was to be normal. To be able to walk or hike or play out in the fresh air and live my life again instead of just existing. And here was the license to do just that!! I get to go back and see him in two months and I can't wait. By then my current physical therapy will be over, I'm going back to my gym on the 5th of July and I want to get started in aqua aerobics. It would be great to make this trip up there on my Majesty scooter too, how special would that be??!!

I've found my smile again. People are telling me all the time how happy I look. 


Thank you Dr. Sima for giving me back my life. You are VERY good at what you do and although that may seem to you like what you are doing..... to us, it truly is like a brand new life!! I am so very thankful to you!!

My new pastime? Stalking limping people. I know funny huh? But I want to help others to find their smile again too. Take it from me, this surgery, although it sounds incredibly painful and scary is just really not that bad at all. And best of all, your entire future is waiting for you out there, PAIN FREE! As my "Angel" told me, "Don't be afraid. Just make that call today. You will be so happy you did!"
That's pretty much it. Each day I try something new that I used to do but haven't been able to in 2 years. AND I'M ABLE TO DO IT. Hopefully, you won't have to wait as along as I did to find a really good Dr. doing that anterior approach and if you are anywhere around the Central Coast of California...


                                                      Dr. Sima

******How appropriate, that as I'm getting ready to finish this Hip Replacement Journey story, I would get the name and phone number for my Angel!! I was called by my Drs. office today and they told me his name was David. I could hardly wait to call him up and tell him thank you. If there was no David, I would still be limping around or worse yet, have had the posterior approach surgery. I am so very thankful to you, David!!*******

Location:W Branch St,Arroyo Grande,United States

Friday, June 28, 2013

Anterior Hip Replacement Part 2: The Hospital Stay

A week before my surgery I received three phone calls that almost, ALMOST made me change my mind!

The first was from my Drs. office exactly a week and a day before my scheduled surgery. "We've had a cancellation for tomorrow, (May 21) would you like to come in a week earlier and have your surgery done?" As I pulled my freaking heart out of my throat I remembered the main reason for having my surgery done when it was scheduled, my husband's vacation, and I told her I'd have to stick to my plan because there was no way he could change his vacation. Phew.... one down.

The second call was from my local blood bank on the Thursday before my surgery. "Has your Dr. spoken to you about donating your own blood for the surgery?" Well, he hadn't, but I had read the literature and so I did know about it. "It looks like you would need to donate either today or tomorrow so we can have that on hand for your surgery. My surgery was the Tuesday after Memorial Weekend and that is why. "Or, we could have you use shelf blood." I tend to be anemic anyway to at this late date, and not wanting to be anemic for my surgery, I opted for shelf blood. As I hung up the phone I was thinking, HOW MUCH BLOOD AM I GOING TO LOSE ANYWAY!!?? Once you hear those words, you can't stop thinking about it and my brain played this "track" over and over for the next several days.

The third call was from the hospital as a pre-op phone call. They went over my paperwork, insurance coverage, any allergies I may have, etc. Then she said, "You will want to familiarize yourself with the pain scale. Have you ever seen the new pain scale? It has these faces along with the numbers from 1 - 10 and when you are asked your pain, you need to be able to tell the nurses so they can get you the right medication level." Pain, I think that was first on my list of fears. Oh man, this IS going to be painful. Now I'm terrified. I hate pain!! I've been in pain for a long time now. Well, I guess if it's painful, it will be the last pain I will be feeling as it heals. Still though.... I was expecting to be at a 5 for a good long while. 

Tuesday the 28th came up pretty fast after Memorial Weekend. Monday I was very calm. It was as if I knew everything was going to be OK. Tuesday, Wes and I got into the car for the 40 min. drive up to the hospital. I had to be there at 6 with a scheduled surgery time of 7:30. The nurses were very efficient and within a very short time I had been hooked up to the IV and monitored and given a blood thickening shot that was to help with blood loss during surgery. The anesthesiologist came in asking about any allergies. My words to him? 

Here's the order... 
1. Don't let me die  
2. Please don't let me wake up or remember anything!! 
3. No pain, no pain, no pain." 
$. Did I mention, DON'T LET ME DIE!!

The next thing I know, I was being wheeled into surgery! It was so fast. Of course, I got to see everyone in there as I wheeled by AND I got to see the surgery table.... cool and OH MY GOD... THIS IS FOR REAL!!!! Next thing I know I was breathing oxygen and getting a relaxing addition to my IV and that was it.

"Surgery is finished and you did great Mrs. Weems." Music to my ears! Wait, where is the pain? Oh, there is none. They probably keep it that way for a while. I was aware pretty quickly and they brought me juice and food and sat me up and still nothing hurt. I couldn't believe it was all over. Thank God! So I really lucked out pain-wise for that day. 
My nurse, Steve, came in and told me they had paged my husband several times but they didn't know where he was and he wasn't answering the pages. Want to know where he was? Here.....

The Hospital's Helipad. Oh, he swears to me he was in the lobby and had headphones in because he was watching a movie on his Ipad. But I think I know better. 

He did show up to the room eventually and stayed with me most of the day. He was so helpful and sweet, getting me juice, helping me sit up and keeping me company. I asked him if he saw a catheter bag and he said he THOUGHT I had one. Sweet, no getting up to use the restroom. Now this was wrong, I didn't have a catheter at all. My Dr. feels that it could contribute to infection and the last thing you would want after this surgery is an infection. At one point during the day, I felt a little sharp pain in my leg as I adjusted and I told my nurse I thought I had popped out a staple. He told me, 

"Well, that would be hard to do since you don't have staples!" 

"Oh, then it could have been a stitch?" 

"Nope, you don't have those either...."

"WHAAAAAT??!! What the heck is holding my incision together?"

"Glue and sterile strips." 

Wow, that means the incision is going to look really fine lined!! SWEET!!

Have I mentioned yet that my RN was a man? Steve. I'm kind of a modest girl and knowing just what kind of things a nurse does, well, I was scared. Come the middle of the night, guess what they had me do? "Mrs Weems, you need to try and urinate now." Oh come on!! I don't even feel like I have to. So in comes the bedpan and I was told how I needed to use the pull up bar above me to pull my bum up so the pan could be placed. And this was really cute, he ran water in the sink and told me to pretend it was a little running brook. You must know how running water makes you feel. I don't know if I hadn't drank enough water or what, but that was the hardest thing to do!! I finally achieved, thankfully, and was allowed to go back to sleep. But let me tell you, Steve was kind and it was almost like my husband helping me. I wasn't afraid or shy and over the next couple of days, I came to realize that having a male nurse was just fine.

Not very pretty, I know, but I think this was taken shortly after my return from surgery. See.... smiling ALL the time now!

I had heard Day 2 was more painful that Day 1 so I was braced for the worst. But the next morning when I woke up, still no pain. This was the day to get up and WALK to the bathroom, which I did with the help of my nurse. My leg under me was strong and again, no pain. Later that morning, Victor, the hospital's physical therapist, came to get me for my big walk down the hallway. I put on my robe and was belted around my middle (just for safety purposes) told how to use the walker and we were off! 

How can this be??!! It's only been a little over 24 hours and here I am WALKING the hospital hallway, quickly and with no pain??!!! I was ever so careful because of all the stories I'd heard about dislocation, but man, this little leg of mine.... it was SOOOoooo very strong! I had two physical therapy sessions on Day 2, morning and afternoon and the same with Day 3. 

Have I told you yet how much I had been smiling up to this point. SMILING!! I am STILL smiling almost every minute of every day!!

When I got back to my room there was a woman there to hand me a bag of "tools" and teach me how to use things like grabbers, extended shoe horns, a little device to help put on socks, etc. It was like a little mini class on how to dress yourself. On day 2 it was mostly showing me how to use everything. On day 3, before I went home, it was more like, now I had to use these items and show her I was paying attention. On this note, I would like to say, I did pay attention and I thought I would probably not be using the items once I got home. WRONG!! By having the knowledge on how to use them and using them, I recovered just that much quicker because I could do things for myself! My husband only had 1 week of vacation and I knew I would have to be up and practically myself before he went back to work.

So still no pain, although it was stressed to continue with pain medication because, "You want to stay ahead of the pain."

Day 3 dawns and my Dr. comes to see me and says, "You are being released today. You will have a Home Health Care person come twice a week to help you at home. Be sure to take your blood thinner and I will see you back in my office on June 23, about 3 weeks after surgery." Then he asked how my stay had been and how my nurses were. "GREAT!" He said if I thought so, I might want to eventually write the hospital and mention people by name that had helped me. "Of course, I was already planning on doing that... my nurses, physical therapist, etc. were fantastic!" And he sat in that chair next to my bed and seemed so humble! I mean, here was the Dr. who really changed my life for the better and he is telling me to thank others? All his training, education, experience, attention to detail to make me better and he is telling me to thank others. Well of course I would, but my Thank You to him was going to be FIRST!!

And with that, I got dressed, nurses came to wheel me out and I was in the car for the ride home. No pain. As a matter of fact, as part of the release the nurse asked me my pain number.... 

"Ummm, zero?"

"Nope we can't have a zero, so I guess we will make it a 1." 

"Well, if we must.... but I'm feeling no pain whatsoever." Here I had thought I would be in agonizing pain and nothing. Well, once I was home, that may change, but I was going to stay ahead of the pain like I was told!

Bottom line, my hospital stay was perfect in every way. My room, although it had two beds was basically private. When I pushed the call button, my nurse was right there, no ringing for 15 minutes. Night, well if you've ever been in the hospital you know about the noise... Dr. calls, ringing call buttons, patients maybe making noise, people coming in and out at shift change. Well, Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton, CA was totally different. It was quiet! I was able to actually sleep and heal. The food was good and healthy. Staff was always friendly, right down to the woman who came to clean and mop. She was so sweet and friendly. 

Thursday, the 25th of May, I was on my way home. The next phase of my healing. What would THAT be like. Walking around in my home environment, using the potty (which we changed to the raised seat kind OVER my existing toilet so I didn't have to squat so far).

Adjusting and getting back up to speed so I could take care of myself. I was going to need to heal quickly! I thought I was ready for just about anything and it was going to be so nice to be home with my family. BUT..... no one told me what to expect on the 7th and 9th day AFTER I came home. 



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Anterior Hip Replacement Part 1: This is the ONLY way to have this surgery!!

This is the picture of of the fabulous Dr. that gave me back my life! Dr. William Sima. And this is the story of my Hip Replacement Journey......

Some of you know that I have had a problem for the last 2 years. In February of 2011, I began having quite a bit of pain in my right hip. My first Dr. said it was bursitis and treated it with antibiotics. No change. Then I went to an orthopedic Dr. and he ordered MRI's. That's when we found it.... a really bad Labral Tear to my hip socket. In addition, I had bone spurs and arthritis in the area and he told me the best way to fix this problem was a total hip replacement. 

WHAT??!! I was only 54 years old and I knew how limiting hip replacements could be. So I set out on a mission to "fix" my problem. This involved vitamins, chiropractic visits, eventually Physical Therapy and acupuncture.... all to no avail. Not only was none of this helping, but my pain was ramping up. There wasn't a day of my life that I wasn't in some kind of pain. Pain changes who you are, what you think and how you behave. Gradually, over the two years, my life started becoming smaller and smaller. I couldn't clean my house, cook, garden, play with my grandkids, grocery shop or even enjoy those lovely walks on the beach. The one GOOD thing I learned to do was knit, but basically, all I did was sit in my recliner, watch TV and knit. Not good for someone my age that had been so active. And even doing that did not insure I wouldn't have pain. I was grumpy, depressed and withdrawn with no hope.

My reasons for waiting so long to do surgery were:

  1. Pain 

  2. Rehabilitation Time

  3. Life span of replacements & Fear of what they were made of

  4. Approaches - At this time I only knew of lateral and posterior approach and my local Dr. did mainly posterior approach. 

  5. My grandma had hip replacement and never walked without a cane again!

  6. Post surgery limitations

My pain and limitations where becoming too much for me and now depression was setting in. I knew I had to do something, BUT WHAT???

And then, on a beautiful Tuesday morning at my local Starbucks, I met my Angel.... quite by accident, or not if you see things the way I do!! My friend and I meet every Tuesday for a nice little breakfast and some lively chit chat. Her knee had been bothering her and she was taking up a chair from the next table over to rest her leg on. Over comes a man and almost takes the chair out from under her leg and then realizes it. She told him she was in pain from her knee and he said, "Oh, I know pain! I was in pain for years trying to figure out what was wrong with me. The Drs. thought it was my back. But no matter how they treated me, nothing fixed my problem. Eventually I was in a wheelchair and unable to walk at all. That's when I found out I had hip problems and needed hip replacement surgery."

I hear myself boldly say, "Oh, I need to talk to YOU!" Now anyone who knows me, knows I don't do that. I'm very reserved but out pops those words!

He proceeded to tell me about Dr. Sima, and orthopedic Dr. practicing out of Templeton, CA at the Twin Cities Hospital that does Anterior Approach Hip Replacements. He lived up that way and went to a seminar being put on about hip replacements and decided to have his done that way. First he had one and then not more than 2 months later he had the other one done. TWO MONTH LATER!!?? Is that possible?? How do you recover from that kind of surgery that fast?? Come to find out, anterior approach surgery has THE quickest recovery time of all the different approaches. Muscles are moved out of the way rather than cut and as the patient gets up and down and moves around, they are continually be strengthened after the surgery. He said he was walking the day of surgery, doing stairs the next day and going home on day 3!!

"Ok, you've got me there but what about the pain? Tell me the truth.... what kind of pain were you in?"

"No pain," he says, "just kind of a numb feeling." Even right after surgery! Of course you do GET pain medicine and each person is different when it comes to what you need but, he said he didn't use anything shortly after he got home. 

"What about restrictions.... things you can't do after a surgery like this...." 

He says, "You can do anything! There aren't a bunch of restrictions again because of the approach." And he gets up and does a little jig for me and its such fluid movement, it appears he NEVER had a problem! Doing my research, I found out that the chance of having your hip come out of the socket are less than 1/3 of a percent! Your muscles are strengthened by daily activities and physical therapy and help to hold the replacement in firmly. Now this sounded GREAT to me because I love to ride my motorcycle, horses when I get the chance and be really physical.

"Well, does everything feel right, you know in the right place?"

Come to find out, there is a special operating table called the HANA table that not only allows the replacement to be done through a much smaller incision but x-ray can be done and the "new parts" are precisely put in. Because of the precision, there are fewer, if any, problems with leg length issues and hips being out of alignment. You walk quicker, better, faster!!

And the best words out of My Angel's mouth, "Don't wait any longer. You go home and call today. You will be so happy you did! Don't be afraid at all." And with that, he went to pick up his car that was getting smogged and that was that. I didn't even get his name!! BUT.... I did go home and make that call.......THAT DAY!! 

3 weeks later I met with the Dr., had new x-rays done right there in the office and saw the damage that 2 years of walking had done. My leg was actually shorter by about 1/2 in.! I knew I had to get this done and now I really felt like I was in the right place! My husband had vacation time coming up within a short month and I figured he could spend it taking care of me for the first week out of the hospital. So I scheduled the surgery for the week prior to his vacation on a Tuesday morning. Then I went home and started getting my prescriptions ready, my bedroom ready and myself ready for what was to come. For those few short weeks, my pain increased so much and my mobility was greatly reduced. I was trying to stay off of any pain meds (Aleve) and it was at this point that I realized my timing was perfect. While I was waiting, I was doing research, trying to find other who had the surgery, watching YouTube videos and the actual surgery (I wouldn't really recommend that unless you are VERY curious like I was! Sometimes it's better to just NOT know what is going on!) My favorite was the story of Mary Lou Retton.  Our stories are so similar and watching her in that pain, I could really identify!! 

Just a week before my scheduled surgery, I received three phone calls that almost, ALMOST made me change my mind!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children."    ~Native American Proverb

As I was working in my garden this morning I was thinking that exact thought. What kind of world AM I leaving to my kids and grandkids? A world full of debt? (nearly 17,000,000,000,000!) A too strong Government that is only getting stronger as it feeds off removing freedom after freedom? "Super Farms" that use GMO seeds, super fertilizers,pesticides and yet whose end product isn't as nutritional as something grown without all that? Pesticides that actually KILL the biggest pollinators, bees! A medical Dr./ insurance/ pharmacy trio that works to make sure you never REALLY get well? (Remember the days when you actually got OVER something? When Drs. FIXED what was wrong with you?) There's poverty, racism, injustice, overcrowding, polluted lakes, oceans, streams and groundwater from agricultural run off and trash being dumped into it .... well, the list could go on and on. 

Seems pretty bleak wouldn't you say? Or perhaps I'm only seeing the glass "half full". I hope so, I really do!! But bottom line, the world seems to be traveling in a "not that great" direction right now. 

Mahatma Ghandi said, 

    "you wish to see in the world."

"What can I do, little old me, to help turn things around?"

Speak out. Walk the walk and talk the talk. Get out of debt. Garden and grow some of your own food using natural methods of soil amendment like composting and manures. Attract birds and bees and other beneficial wildlife to your yards. Fight for SOMETHING, where ever your heart leads you. Be a model for your kids and grandkids in the way you live! Have compassion for others whose life doesn't mirror your own. If you have extra food, clothing... THINGS.... give the extra away to someone who is in need. GIVE THOSE THINGS AWAY without expecting anything back. That is true giving. If you see an injustice, don't just stand there and do nothing. Find the strength to speak up. There IS strength in numbers. Use spare time to work with others in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, community garden and with victims of domestic and child abuse. We are all given "talents", and not all the same thing. Recycle, not just bottles, aluminium and cardboard. Recycle clothing, furniture, bikes by passing it along to the next person. Create nutrient rich compost by recycling vegetable waste, vegetable leftovers and leaves. 

I hope I've inspired you to get out there and make a difference. Each day we do positive things like this, we will be making "deposits" into the "account" we are leaving for the generations to come. Even though we are only ONE... we CAN make a difference. Be a Rainbow Warrior!


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