Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One year later

Here we are, one year post surgery.
And what can I tell you?  Except I haven't truly been able to enjoy the benefits of having had my hip replaced.
Why, you ask?  Because I've been plagued with the very issue I had hoped would NOT be a problem:  trochanteric bursitis.
The issue is not a new one for me.  I've struggled with bursitis in both hips for over 30 years. (Well, the right hip for that long; the left hip not quite so long.)
In fact, I had had a discussion with my then-family doctor prior to pursuing the hip replacement surgery. I was concerned that I would go through all the agony of surgery and recovery, just to continue to be plagued with the bursitis that was so much a bane of my existence.  He assured me that that would not be the case.
Even drew me a picture.  When they removed the hip to replace it, they took the bursa too.  End of problem.
So, when it came time to have my surgery, I never discussed that aspect of it with the surgeon.
Fast forward to eight weeks post-op.
The physiotherapist told me that she "thinks" I have some bursitis going on in my left hip.
"How can that be?" I queried.  "I don't have a bursa there any more."
"You'd better discuss that with your surgeon," she replied.  "I'm fairly certain that's bursitis."
When next I saw the surgeon, I asked if he had removed the bursa.
"No," he replied, "I incised through it.  I don't excise it unless it's inflamed when I'm there."
So I told him the story of my history, and asked him if he'd have removed it had he known.
"Yes," he told me.
"Would you be willing to go back in and get it?" I asked him.
"You don't want to go through that again," he replied.
Well, now I do.
The bursitis has gotten so bad that I absolutely want him to go back and get it.  The bursa has been pulled forward by the scar tissue and is quite prominently noticeable on my hip.  Causing considerable pain and greatly affecting my ability to walk.  That in turn is causing further problems with my right hip.
Since I can't take any anti-inflammatories, we are currently keeping it at bay with prednisone.  Not a good long-term option.
My now-family doctor has given me a letter to take to my surgeon, encouraging him to perform a bursectomy on both hips (although the right hip will wait until it is replaced).
The scar from the surgery has healed beautifully.
The mobility of the joint is as it should be.
On the surface, everything vis-a-vis my hip replacement surgery was a success.
We recently visited some friends, one of whom had had her hip replaced some six months prior to my surgery.  She developed bursitis.  (Hers was treated and disappeared within two months of onset.)
Her surgeon told her that 20% of patients who have hip replacement surgery will go on to develop bursitis.
So I ask, if that is a known side-effect, why isn't it one of the in-take questions prior to surgery?  Lord knows they cover enough other ground with their in-take questions.  (Seems to me if you already suffer from bursitis, chances are that much greater that you will develop the problem following surgery.)
During the surgery in-take process, had I been asked if bursitis was an issue, and the discussion had happened about my history, perhaps I wouldn't have been put through the past six months of extra pain and discomfort.  I could have been enjoying the benefits of having had my hip replaced.
But for the lack of a simple question.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Our Daily Visitors

For several weeks now, we've had a wild turkey coming to the back of the house to feed.
She comes through every morning, and most evenings.
Last week, she brought a friend.
We put seed out every day to encourage them to come close to the house.
This morning, both turkeys were here, but by the time I got my camera, one had disappeared (she's really spooky and runs off at the slightest detection of movement).
This photo was taken through my sanctuary window.  Those are our deck steps -- that's how close she is to the house!
Also this morning, just beyond the chicken house, we noticed a flock of six more turkeys making their way into the woods.  Wonder how long it will take them to find the bounty we're providing.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Every move I make ...

Every step I take ...
Reminds me how much I hurt.
The burning pain in my hips continues to escalate.
Sleeping has become all but impossible.
I can't lie on my right side at all (well, OK, maybe for two minutes, tops).
I can usually manage on my left side long enough to get to sleep.
Then at some point I roll onto my back and come to consciousness, aware of the burning pain in both hips (a result of having lain on each side for too long).
And now today, because I exerted myself "too much" yesterday, I am in agony again.
Sleepless last night (third night running).
Too much pain.
Seems my body has decided that the dosage of steroid that I'm taking isn't quite enough to do the job.
Another visit to my doctor is in order because we obviously can't keep upping the dosage, although there is still room for some increase.
But where will it stop?  I know the maximum she will let me take is double what I'm at now, and we can get there in two steps.  However, if my body is going to continue to insist on more (which would appear to be the pattern it has followed all my life), I don't think we should go down that path.
Another solution must be found, and as distasteful as it might be, that solution would appear to be surgery -- again.
Damned bursa -- why didn't he take it out when he had the chance?
Every move I make ...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary Darling

Today, John and I celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.
Hard to believe that we've been together 18 years already.
It was back in the summer of 1995 that we met -- on Carleton University's Freenet chat line.  John calls me his 'computer virus.'  After months of on-line exchanges, we arranged to meet in person on the afternoon of August 8th.
John told me later that when he saw me walk into the restaurant, he knew that his life was about to change forever.  I guess he was right!  By mid-September, he had offered to clear a drawer for me.  Everyone knows what that means.
Sixteen months later, on January 25, 1997, we married in a small, non-denominational ceremony in the basement of JR's Restaurant in Almonte.
I didn't want a church wedding.  I didn't even want to say the standard vows.  All that is legally required is for the officiant to ask if we want to be married, and for us to say, "yes."
That would have worked just fine for me.
But John insisted on having vows. "I take .... in sickness and in health yada yada yada" and he wanted us to promise to love, honour and (there was no way on God's green earth I was going to take a vow to OBEY!) respect each other.
So, I acquiesced and we said vows. (It was, after all, his wedding too.)
I managed to say my vows without too much incident.
But when John was saying his, he puffed up like a peacock and it just struck me as funny.
I started laughing.  Hysterically.  I was damned-near doubled over.
My little chickadee, who was my witness, was positioned behind me and she kept hitting my butt telling me to stop laughing.  Which just made me worse, of course.
Fortunately, it was a very small wedding.  And the guests knew me very well (except maybe for John's adult kids -- they might have been wondering what kind of nutjob their father had brought into their family).
The officiant commented later that he had seen lots of interesting bridal responses, but never hysterical laughter.
I just found the whole thing very amusing. And all I could say in my defence was, "I told you I didn't want any of that nonsense in my wedding ceremony!"

After the ceremony, we had a buffet meal at the restaurant with the few people who had been invited to share our day with us, and then we all came back to our home for celebratory drinks. Other friends who had been invited to drop in that evening to join us for drinks were given the news of our marriage when they arrived.

Within a year of our marriage, we were enjoying long romantic evenings through the Ice Storm of 1998. Our power was out for thirteen days and it wasn't pretty around here. We managed better than some because we have a wood stove in our living room but it was still a difficult time. I remember telling John that it was a good thing we were still in the honeymoon stage of our marriage; otherwise, we might have been looking for divorce lawyers by the time our power was restored! After thirteen days of having to live by candlelight, our nightly candlelit dinners weren't all that special any more.
Later that same year John received his diagnosis of prostate cancer and that sent us into a tailspin. Today, he is classed as one of the fortunate ones; he is a cancer survivor.
Since our marriage, our blended family has grown by the addition of one grandchild (my striking young man). We lost a daughter-in-law to breast cancer, and we gained a daughter-in-law who brought with her several more extended family members.
It's been an interesting sixteen years, admittedly not without challenges but we've weathered them together.
And that, my friends, is what we vowed we would do when we made the decision to get married sixteen years ago.
Tonight, John and I will toast each other with our Wedding Glasses, as we do every year on this date. And God willing, we will do the same thing again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and ...
Then, we will go to our local "best pizza ever" restaurant and indulge.
Such romantics, we are ... sixteen years later.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Frustrating ...

That's all I can say about today.
Everything I've attempted hasn't happened.
So, I'll quit trying.
Thankfully, today is massage day.
So it will get better.
In about fifteen minutes.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The weirdest experience ever

Yesterday, I had what has to be right up there with weirdest experiences ever.
I was taking a day of enforced R&R, since I was seemingly in a mini fibro flare-up after my too-long day in the car on Saturday.
I stretched out on the recliner sofa (my "go-to" spot if I'm not at the computer) and started reading a new book ("A Secret Kept" by Tatiana De Rosnay).
After about two hours, I needed to sleep.  Badly.
So I grabbed a cover and let myself drift off.
And drift off I did.
I crashed for about an hour and a half.
My dreams were filled with activity.  I was the "old" me.  I guess one could say this was a period dream.  Placed in a period of my life before I was riddled with pain, I was certainly fully mobile.  Flitting about the house fixing this, cleaning that, taking care of everyone.  (Some of my siblings were present so I was perhaps back in the days of my pre-parenthood period.)
Then I began to wake up. Slowly.
And that's when things got really weird.
As I came to consciousness, I was aware of a spirit of pain invading my body.  It was actually like there was a cloud hovering over me, slowly entering my body from head to foot, leaving me with an awareness of pain throughout.
And then I was fully awake.
And the pain was back, just as it had been before I went off to dreamland where there was no pain.
That, my friends, is what I classify as a truly weird experience.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Oh these cursed hips!

OK, so the 'roids aren't enough to overcome "abusive" activity.
I've been doing quite well at 7.5 mg per day, as long as I don't "do too much," as the doctor put it.
What exactly constitutes doing "too much?"  That would be different for every person, obviously.
But too much, for me, would be just a normal day for most people.
And that's what really gets me down.
Because what I'm trying to achieve is the ability to "have a life."  Much like every other person enjoys.  You know?
I guess it's just not in the cards for me.
Here's how the most recent realization came about.
I've started a walking program.  Doing quite well too.  Twenty minutes, up hills, down hills.  Quite the work-out.  No repercussions.
But on the day I couldn't go for my walk, due to weather conditions, I went back to the stationary bicycle.
Ooops.  Big mistake.  That got my bursae inflamed again, big time.  That was last Sunday.
Spent the intervening days getting the pain under control.
On Thursday, my massage therapist worked miracles.  That night I had a most fabulous sleep.  Seven hours straight, then dozed off again for another hour and a half!  That's eight and a half hours' sleep.  Haven't done that since my teen years, I'm sure!
I didn't do much of anything on Friday.  Couldn't even go for my walk because it was too cold out (-30) and my lungs wouldn't be able to handle it (cold air induced asthma).  That night, I had a terrible sleep again (I know not why but I recall having had difficulty getting comfortable).
Then we come to Saturday.  That would be yesterday.
I had promised my good friend, LC, that I would take her to North Gower so she could buy (order) a dress for her son's upcoming destination wedding.  Now, here's the rub.  North Gower is 30 minutes from her home.  It's 45 minutes from my home.  BUT, her home is 45 minutes from my home.  You get the picture?
I drove 45 minutes (it actually took me a full hour, due to traffic problems) to pick her up.  Then we drove a half hour to North Gower.
We arrived a half hour before the shop opened, so we found a restaurant and had coffee to kill the extra time.  The dress-shopping experience was a first for me but it was interesting.  And it involved a lot of standing.  (Yes, she found a lovely dress that will, hopefully, be ready for her on time for the wedding.)
When we finished, we drove a half hour back to Ottawa, stopping to have lunch.  Then I drove the 45 minutes back home, stopping to pick up a few groceries en route.
That's a lot of time in a car, in one day.  And my hips let me know it.
By the time I got home, I could barely walk.
Into the jet massage tub went I.  And oh it felt good.
But not good enough I guess.
Last night was not a good night.
Both hips burned in pain all night.
I could feel the pain permeating my sleep.  My dreams were filled with pain.
So today, obviously, will be another day of doing nothing but rest (and icing my hips, which I should have done last evening!).
What this is telling me is -- I shouldn't even think about a trip to Florida to attend my boys' Spring Training Camp.  What would be the point?
Damn these cursed hips anyway!

Friday, January 18, 2013

A most influential teacher

For some reason, my mind has been spending a lot of time of late remembering my grade eight teacher.
He was without a doubt the most positively influential teacher I had.  (There were many negatively influential teachers over the years but I'd rather forget about them, as difficult as that is to do.)
My grade eight teacher had a truly lasting effect on me -- it was the 1962-63 school year that he taught me.
Besides being a wonderful teacher, he was a true inspiration to me.  I've held fond regard for the man for the past 50 years!
As an aside, he used to delight in giving us oral math drills.  It didn't matter what he threw at us, I always had the answer.  (I couldn't do that today to save my soul!)  He also taught university at night and he used to tape us (just him and me) doing math drills.  As he put it, he wanted to show his night class students that it "really could be done."  Of course, being twelve years old and quite proud of my prowess, I loved participating in those exercises with him.
He also used to allow me to spend certain class time in the teachers' lounge. (I didn't need to waste my time hearing him repeat yesterday's lesson when I had already mastered it.)  He would bring in his record collection for me to listen to so that I would be introduced to the greats.  Hence, my introduction to Ella Fitzgerald; I would sit in the lounge and lose myself in her music!
But his greatest impact was his insistence that we learn Canadian politics and how the Canadian government worked.  
I always remembered the year that Newfoundland joined Confederation because he told us that he was one of "the backroom boys" who helped bring it about (and it happened the year before I was born).  He never expounded on his involvement, he simply told us that he was one of the backroom boys.  But the very idea of working backroom politics intrigued me.
And a political junkie was born!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Thanks to MLC, I believe I've found my Nowlan family.
My little chickadee, for reasons known only to the computer-land fairies, gets different results from FaceBook searches than I.
I ask FB to find people, and I get garbage; results never come close to those I request.
But MLC puts in the same name, and she gets two choices -- the first being the very person being sought.
Go figure!
In any event, she sent me an e-mail and provided me with links to both Philip Nowlan and his sister, Teresa.
What do the links do?  Take me to my own FB page!  GGRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
Talk about frustration.
Eventually, by copying the URL of the links she had sent me, I managed to actually get to Teresa's FB page.
Sure enough, it has to be the right Teresa.
There's a daughter named Jess. And listed among her friends is a Philip Nowlan (whom it would appear is now living in England so I guess the letter I sent to Connecticut didn't go to the right person).
Her friends include a Danaher, a few Bauers (her sister Donna married a Bauer) and very many Nowlans.
And she's living in the right area of New York.
I've sent a FB message to Teresa and am very anxiously awaiting a response.
So I guess the Nowlans weren't a true brick wall after all.  I received that photo of baby Philip at the beginning of December.  Prior to that, I didn't even know the Nowlans existed or our connection to them.  While it took only a few days to track down the information about them, it's taken a month to actually locate them.  Brick walls present much greater obstacles than that, and take much longer to solve.  (And of course, had I asked MLC to do the FB search back in December, I'd have made the connection then!)
Thanks MLC -- I knew I kept you for something.  Love you sooooooo much!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Philip Nowlan - where are you?

Perhaps I have yet another brick wall in my family tree research.
My quest to find "baby Philip" appears to have failed, thus far.
See related posts: my search for Philip and his grandmother's story.
I don't know if it's too soon to call it a failure, really.  Perhaps I'm just impatient.
My letter to a potential Philip was sent December 15th.  Thus far, I've heard nothing.
One would hope that if the letter arrived at the wrong  Philip Nowlan's home, he would have the good grace to send me a quick e-mail to let me know that he was not the person for whom I am searching.  If it landed in the hands of the right Philip Nowlan, one would hope he would let me know that too.
But how soon after receipt of the letter should one expect a response?  I know I would jump on any such communication, should I receive one.
So, Philip Nowlan, born June 1957, to mother Joan (nee Danaher) Nowlan -- where are you?  I believe your father's name was James.  I know, from public records, that you have at least two sisters:  Teresa, born September 1962; and Donna, born September 1963.  From those same public records, I know that Teresa has a daughter, Jessica Faye, born about 1980.   I also know that your mother died in October 2004.
I don't know how much the Nowlan(s) know about their Danaher/Docker/Gizzard family line, but I would dearly love to share what information I have with them.  Surely, they're curious.
Philip Nowlan, if you're out there, contact me.  Please!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

'Roid Update

So, my rocking 'roids kind of fell by the wayside in their effectiveness.
Back up a tad here.  About ten days ago, I noticed that the 'roids weren't quite doing their job.
Or so it seemed.
I wasn't sleeping very well again.  Pressure on each side was waking me every two to three hours.  Bursa was hurting.  Here we go again.
Daytime seemed to be OK but nights were increasingly difficult.
Then by the beginning of this week, the days were kind of tricky too.  
And when my hands became a problem again, I knew for sure. (I was actually in a mini fibro flare-up by that point.)
Those 'roids simply weren't doing the job any more.  
I had to see my doctor on Thursday to get a new prescription (she had only given me a month's supply to start).  I had increased the dose that morning to the originally prescribed 7.5 mg and we agreed that I should stay at that level to see how I manage.  She said I could increase to 10 mg if necessary but I should give the 7.5 mg dose a good try.
Last night, I slept soooooo much better than I have in the last little while.  Pressure on either side was not a problem.  Relief.  After only two days at the higher dose!
Once I've been on 'roids for three months I have to start taking something to protect my bones (osteoporosis becomes a serious threat with long term use of steroids).  I'll see her again in March to start that medication.
Oh, did I mention that I've started walking?  Well I have.
Both yesterday and the day before, I walked -- outside -- for twenty minutes.  Using my walking sticks and creepers (these roads are treacherous!).  The hills out here are killers let me tell you.  It takes me ten minutes to get to the nearest corner (up two hills, the first of which is a major cardio work-out).  My physiotherapist tells me that because of the hills I have negotiate, the twenty minutes I'm doing is equivalent to thirty minutes on a flat surface.  Sure hope it pays off!   (Eventually, I hope to push it to a full thirty minutes.)
My plan is to do this walk, weather permitting, six times a week (not on Tuesday, the day I go into Ottawa).
'Roids rock!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Into the big city today ...

Well, it's into the big city today.
Right back into my routine.  If it's Tuesday, it must be physio day.
Today's trip has a little extra adventure though.
Last week, I lost a filling in a tooth.  At 4:00 pm on Friday!  So I had to wait until Monday morning (yesterday) to call my dentist for an appointment.  Luckily, there's been no pain or discomfort (other than the fact that my tongue wants to reside in the hole that's been left by the missing filling!).  The staff at my dentist's office is very good at fitting me in around my physio trips into Ottawa and this call was no different.
"How's noon tomorrow, Bonnie?" she asked.
"Perfect," I said, "I'll see you then."
So I'll go to my dentist before my physiotherapist.  Hopefully, I'll be able to sleep during the physio session because I'll need a nap by then.
My sleep is again being disturbed by pain from my damned bursa.  Gonna have to up the prednisone dose I guess.  I see my doctor on Thursday this week to discuss the prednisone issue anyway (she only gave me a month's supply as a trial).  I'm thinking it's a good thing that I started lower than what she had prescribed because now I can increase to what she initially thought I would need.  Still be on a low dose, but perhaps still get benefit.  We'll see what she has to say.
I'll stay overnight at my little chickadee's tonight because I have business I want to do at my friendly computer shop.  Didn't want to be rushed and be worried about daylight running out on me so I'll stop there tomorrow after breakfasting with my striking young man.
This will be my first overnight since last year, so it's been a while!  Surely, they've missed me.  :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

It's The Epiphany

Today is what's known in the world of Christianity as The Feast of the Epiphany, or "Little Christmas."
There are many versions of the origination of the feast but put simply, it is the twelfth day of Christmas, marking the day that the Magi (the three wise men) arrived at the manger offering their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the new-born child.
As Catholics, we are quite attuned to this story and if the family displayed a creche as part of their Christmas tradition, it would be left up until January 6th to mark the feast of the Epiphany.  A special mass would be said at the parish church and devout Catholics would be sure to attend.
Some families would find small gifts at the foot of the family creche, marking the gift-giving occasion.
Growing up, our family did not do the gift exchange on Little Christmas.
Once I was living on my own, and certainly once my little chickadee was on the scene, I added a creche to my Christmas display, buying the one I use today in 1978.
Sometime around the 10th of December, my daughter and I would carefully set up the creche once the tree was decorated.  We would also start reading her many books about the story of Christmas.
Since Mary and Joseph didn't arrive at the "Inn" until the 24th, they would be placed off in the distance, as though walking toward Bethlehem.  The shepherd would be set further off in the distance since he was "following the star of Bethlehem" and would arrive once the baby was there.  The three wise men were positioned really far away because they were not due to arrive until the 6th of January.
On the 24th of December, Mary and Joseph would arrive at the manger and would be placed inside, but the baby would be "hiding" behind the structure, to be added the following morning.  (The funniest story ever was the year my little chickadee, about an hour after she had been put to bed on Christmas Eve, came tearing downstairs to lie Mary down -- "she was going to have a baby" that night.)
At some point in her young life, my little chickadee convinced me that she should start getting a gift on January 6th.   "It was, after all, Little Christmas," she whined.  So, I would hold back one gift from what she would otherwise have received on Christmas Day and give it to her on January 6th.  Not sure how she figured she was ahead on that one but whatever.
In my current household, the creche still remains on display until this date, (after all, the three wise men have only just arrived this morning) but the "tradition" of offering a gift on January 6th has not prevailed.
Tomorrow, with all original members present and accounted for (although the shepherd is a little worse for wear), the creche will be dismantled, carefully wrapped (I only a few years ago threw away the original packing material) and put away for another year.
And thus will mark the end of Christmas for another season.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

OK, time to get back to normalcy

I almost feel like I should be doing an essay on "How I spent my Christmas Vacation."
This holiday period has been very reminiscent of holidays past, when I did not have to go to the office for the period between Christmas and New Year's.  It was wonderful.
And how did I spend that time?
Doing jigsaw puzzles.
Eating black licorice, dry roasted peanuts, and cherry chocolates.
I remember always spending that period with a terrific migraine.  Eventually it became evident that peanuts and chocolate were major triggers for my migraines.  Once I eliminated those foods from my diet, my migraines lessened somewhat.  (They didn't totally go away, but at least I didn't keep myself in migraine status quite so seriously, and I sure missed my daily peanut butter intake.)
Anyway, fast forward to 2012 holiday when I can again eat peanuts and chocolate without risk of having a migraine (they stopped completely back in 2008 -- without explanation).
This is the first holiday I've spent in over 25 years doing jigsaw puzzles (OK, I did ONE puzzle but it was a doozer!).
And reading -- I'm starting my third book already.
And eating all the junk food I don't normally eat.  The scale indicates that I need to stop doing that.  My clothes indicate that I need to get moving and lose weight -- fast!
So, it's time to get back to normal lifestyle around here.
The party's over!