I start this on Friday, September 5.
I imagine most of you are getting sick of hearing about my recuperation from knee surgery, and if so, I apologize. It's really about all I have to talk about right now because laying around and healing, doing my exercises, and taking my meds is about all I'm allowed to do. Hubs won't even let me walk around in the garden. I get to graduate from the walker to a cane this coming Wednesday, so Thursday I'm going out there with Hubs to have a look around. No, I won't pull weeds or do anything I'm not supposed to. I just want to see for myself what's left growing. I'm thinking most of the tomato plants have made it thru the heat of summer so as soon as the nights start being cooler maybe there will be a flush of new fruits on some of the vines for ripening in fall, unless the first frost happens early. It's a crapshoot at this point. I had Hubs put some fertilizer on the bean vines, hoping it would punch them up for a fall harvest, since they just haven't made much up to this point. And there will be sweet potatoes to dig, but Hubs will wield the potato fork and I will just have to be the supervisor. Usually I wait till the weatherman forecasts the first frost but I found out sweet potatoes only need 100 days and by early October they will have had that. Waiting to dig till the day before the first frost has been a problem for me because there are usually no warm days immediately after in which to do the curing.
I didn't get around to taking any pears off the pear tree earlier, and the load broke a branch during the last storm we had before surgery, so I went out and picked off all the pears that were on that branch and Hubs cut the branch off cleanly. I washed them and wrapped in newspaper. Well, I checked them yesterday, and they were ripened and ready. There were a few more in the crate than we can easily eat, and since we haven't gotten fruit off most of the fruit trees this year, I decided to take advantage of what little we DO get and try to get them canned. I saw on someone's blog where they canned their pears peel and all, and I thought how much time that'd save. So I sat on the couch with my surgical leg stretched out on the adjacent couch cushion, and cored enough pears yesterday to fill the Maslin pan. The thing about the Maslin pan is that it holds just the right amount to fill 7 quart jars, so you never fall short if you fill the pan up to the collar, at least. I always go a little past, and usually have a bit too much, but I'd rather have that than a bit too little. Hubs was a big help this time, I showed him how much water to put in the canner and he started it heating out in the garage. After I had the Maslin pan full, he carried it to the stove in the kitchen. I had about 3 quarts of water in the pan with the pears, to which I had added just one cup of sugar for a very light syrup, a teaspoon of Citric Acid, and two smashed 1000 IU vitamin C capsules. I've tried just a water pack before and I don't like the watered-down taste. I don't feel like the pears hold their color as well in the jar in just a water pack, either. I iced my knee while the fruit was heating and then packed each jar. Hubs carried the pan full of filled jars to the garage and I lifted each jar into the canner, which was boiling by then.
And so it went. I don't know if I will can unpeeled pears beyond this year but it sure does save a lot of time up front. I've seen where some people have also started canning unpeeled tomatoes but I know I wouldn't like the end product. Heat makes the peel stiffen, if will separate itself from the tomato, but usually in annoying little rolled-up papery pieces that aren't pleasant to chew, OR to try to dip out.
This morning I went out there with a wet washcloth and wiped the jars down, then put them back in the pan for carrying and Hubs took them to the pantry and put each jar on the shelf.
Then we went out to the pear tree and he helped me pick the larger pears from the tree. The skins are still green but if they have a red blush and if they pick easily, those are the signs that ripening will happen soon. When they are ripe they become very fragrant and they beckon to the deer and other wildlife, and bugs. This tree is OUTSIDE the fence, so it's kind of important to get them before they're quite ripe. Also, if they're soft-ripe they will start falling to the ground and they will bruise or even bust when they land. And they will be harder to scrub clean, as well.
Hubs carried the drainer full of clean pears and set it on a towel on top of the cedar chest, so I was able to ice my knee while I wrapped them in the same papers I'd used for the previous ones. There were just enough to fill the box, which Hubs carried down to the pantry where it's cool and dark. Having the cardboard box in a plastic crate makes it so much easier to carry.
This is now Sunday morning. I had a restless night last night. I wasn't hurting, I was just not comfortable and couldn't find a position I could get into that was. So I slept in short snatches and woke up every hour on the hour until at 2am I just got up, made my way up to the main floor and started the coffee Hubs had put together the night before, iced my knee and had a couple of short naps during which I dreamed the craziest dreams. Lots of times I will remember I dreamed but won't remember what it was about. These were about going to a huge flea market and running into a friend I hadn't seen in years, driving crazily on a street in town and getting crowded almost onto the sidewalk by a truck because in fact, there wasn't a lane where I was driving, and arriving home to find a bunch of people that apparently I had invited and forgotten I had. They needed to be fed and I hadn't thought of anything to fix.... just silly things like that. Freud would probably have had an explanation of what they mean. And maybe I don't want to know what that is.
The PA at the surgeon's office told me to get off the Oxycodone as soon as it was possible, so I took myself off it yesterday, 17 days post-surgery. I was down to half a pill twice a day and then one right at bedtime. I made it through the day just fine, but when I found myself unable to sleep that night, I considered going ahead and taking one because they just put me out like a light, and then I thought, "I bet this is how addiction starts". I take a Meloxicam once a day and that is supposed to help with pain, inflammation and swelling, so it's not like I'm without some defenses. This morning I looked up "Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms" and insomnia is one of them, but it looks like withdrawal doesn't actually happen with Oxycodone in doses as small as I was taking. Maybe it just wasn't my night to sleep. After lunch I was able to have a short nap and felt better afterward but most of this day has been just one of those days a person wants to get behind them.
My digestive system has really been cleaning house today, though. I weighed this morning and I'm at what I weighed before surgery. They told me not to try to lose weight while I'm trying to heal, and I've just been continuing on with my plan of eating when I'm hungry and making it stuff that's good for me. Except Hubs brought home some Pringles cheese-flavored chips. OMG, can you say, "umami"? Whew! I was having ten chips a day with my lunchtime sandwich till I started swelling up like a toad from all that salt. Plus I've been such a slug, I was much relieved I hadn't started packing it back on.
I watched a good segment on Cook's Country HERE about meat smoked with corncobs. I guess in South Dakota it's common, but I had never heard about smoking meat using corncobs. Well, I'll be.... that site makes you subscribe to see the rest of their web page. I hate when people do that. HERE is an alternative.
Do you like learning about earth minerals / geology? HERE is a cool site. I saw a segment on one of our antenna channels, and found their website HERE. You have to give them your zip so they know what schedule to show you. Oh, I found Growing a Greener World comes on at 10am on Sundays. Glad to see that, because our Dish channel 11 quit airing it on Saturdays and put something on in it's place that I don't like nearly as well. I watched it today and Joe Lamp'l had Melinda Myers from Stark Brothers Nursery on. They talked about growing fruit but dealt mostly with bush-type fruit: blueberries, raspberries. I've tried to grow blueberries here and they just couldn't make it through the excessive heat we had for two summers in a row.
This is now Monday. I had a better night last night and feel a lot less "zombie-like" today. Hubs relented to allow me to go to the garden today. Of course Hubs knows that if I'm determined to do something, I'll do it, and nothing he can do will stop me. I'm THAT stubborn sometimes. Most of the time when he tries to micro-manage my life I will humor him if I think it's based on common sense. But I am, by nature and by genetics, not one to let a man, any man, boss me around.
Oh, the garden is so full of grass and weeds. Of course I knew it would be.
The cucumber vine that I thought had died off is still producing. Hubs is watching a cucumber he didn't pick day before yesterday. There's a melon that's about ready to pick, but the stem is still healthy so we left it alone for now. The Purple Hull Pink Eye peas are blooming but there have been no new pods put on since I picked everything the day before surgery.
The insects have eaten all the kale and chard, leaving only the veins.
And some of our trees have webworms on them. Hubs and I poked at the webs we could reach till they opened and allowed all the nasty worms to fall to the ground. Maybe the birds will come along and eat them. Otherwise they'll probably just climb right back up the tree. The webs are gummy and cling to the stick and it's really messy. I saw somewhere that some people are spraying cooking oil on the webs. I bet a can of Pam would come in handy. I have one of those Pampered Chef oil sprayers somewhere that might do the job with just plain old cooking oil.
The apples have turned red and it is time to pick. This is the extent of our harvest from two 7-year-old trees, one of which was supposed to be Yellow Delicious and the other was supposed to be Red Delicious. I don't think they are either one.
This is now Tuesday. Still having trouble sleeping, and this concerns me because I know a lot of healing takes place while we sleep. Besides that, it makes for a long night and makes me feel tired the following day. I weighed this morning and I have lost two pounds.
I cut into one of those Cucuzzi yesterday and the skin was still tender enough to slice very easily. It had started to form seeds inside and I tasted a piece and found it not to be bitter and the seeds were as tender as immature squash seeds are so I cooked one in olive oil with some sweet red onion and then added it to spaghetti sauce and that last jar of hamburger mix that I'd been keeping in the refrigerator. I cooked some spaghetti and we had that for supper. This time I did not mix the spaghetti with the sauce because I felt like I had 'way less pasta than was appropriate for the sauce. And I was right. We had a lot of sauce left over and not as much pasta. There's about enough pasta for another meal so I thought we'd have it for supper again tonight and then I'll freeze what's left of the sauce. Botta bing. I have to say that I'm torn about home-canned hamburger mix. It's so very convenient to have on the pantry shelves, and if we have a power outage we can even eat it, right out of the jar, if necessary. But I feel like the meat just tastes overcooked. When I'm recovered, I think I'll try canning beef roast, cut in, say, 2" cubes, and see if I like the end product better.
By the way, Hubs received his prescriptions in the mail the other day so we are finally all set for the coming year. If you ever have this problem, I have one word of advice: when you are trying to get the fax number of the pharmacy for your VA clinic, do not say that to anyone on the phone. Just keep asking for the pharmacist till you get them on the line, and THEN ask them for their fax number. Everybody up to that point has no clue what the fax number for the pharmacy is, and they will not have the presence of mind to connect you to the pharmacy, they will just look on their phone list and give you the first number that they see that might be it, and it never is. Been there, done that. Seems like there are a lot of people these days that just don't have problem-solving skills.
There's a little hummingbird sitting of the clothesline outside the window near where I'm sitting. It seems to be preening itself. There's a lot of activity outside now what with several hummingbirds and lots of butterflies. Our resident Wolf spider still spins the web just outside our patio door every night and takes it up in the morning when we turn on the light. Yesterday morning there was a tree-toad stuck to the glass of one of the doors. Something moved quickly in the garden that morning Hubs and I were out there. I hope it was a Skink lizard, I've seen them around before. Hubs thought it might be a small bunny, as he found a nest against the foundation of the house on the south side when he mowed last. I hope it wasn't a rat. Neighboring ranchers haven't been doing any burning off lately. We've set the trap a few times just to see if we get anything. Haven't caught any rats but one morning Hubs discovered a small opossum in the trap. *Sigh*. The beat goes on. This is all part of country living.
I'm doing laundry today, will hang out jeans and colors if Hubs will carry the basket out to the lines for me. Rain and thunderstorms are forecast behind the cool front that will be coming through here early this evening. We can use both the cooler temps AND the rain. If storms require going to the cellar, I guess I will just hide in the bathroom, I don't think I can get down into the cellar right now.
Antenna TV just keeps on delivering. I found Joyce Meyers on channel 53 at 9:30, weekdays. It might seem funny to some people that I, an old-fashioned late-comer to the Protestant faith, to be a person who likes Joyce Meyers, who is Pentacostal by faith. I heard all the jokes about "Holy Rollers" while I was growing up, but as I've aged, I've become a lot less affected by what other people say, and when I like something, it's because I do, and not because I want to be part of the "in-crowd" that does. Joyce has a way of talking about God and explaining the Bible in a way that makes me feel like it applies directly to me. I remember the first time I found Joyce, I was flipping through the channels, trying to find something interesting to watch and I landed on her program at about the time when she was saying, "You know, people do things out of their own hurts, wants and needs. They're not thinking about whether that hurts someone, they're just thinking about filling their own emptiness. They're just doing "what they do", and it really doesn't have anything to do with you." That hit me right between the eyes. I was going through something at the time that was extremely painful. I received the blame for something done by someone else and my family abandoned me when I needed them the most. Joyce talked to me a lot, the rest of that year. She taught me not to internalize everything. She taught me to consider the source. And she taught me to hand over my troubles to God and let Him handle things. She taught me to trust that, even though God didn't always make things turn out the way I thought He should, he knew everyone's hearts and minds. Nobody can hide from God. They can "spin" the things they do until, well, it was all they could do, wasn't it, under the circumstances someone else had created for them? My, my, all victims are we. But God can see past the "spin", and into the real reasons. And maybe the real reasons will be so sad that He will forgive, but if He thinks someone needs to be punished, He can do it far better than any mortal being ever could, although He might not let you watch. God doesn't work that way. There is no need for any of us to "get even" with someone else. Just take your case to God and let Him sort it out. Meanwhile, He can bring peace, comfort and blessings to you, if only you will trust Him. And so I learned to trust Him and He has brought me peace, and comfort, and He has blessed me in many ways, large and small. Every time I listen to one of Joyce's sermons, she says something that speaks directly to me. And sometimes it just blows my mind. The sermon I watched yesterday was "You receive not because you ask not". How many times do we reserve prayer as the last resort. We even say, "It's all we can do now". Prayer should be the first thing that we do. Years ago, I was told by a co-worker that she actually prays to God for a parking space. I was horrified at the thought of bothering God for such a silly thing. I didn't learn for many, many years that God delights in giving us little gifts. It's how He shows us that He loves us. Yesterday, my back was just absolutely killing me. It does this during periods of inactivity and I had worried earlier that I'd have trouble with my back when I had my knee worked on. I went to bed early, with my back hurting worse than my knee did, although I'd found a hot shower very comforting and Hubs rubbed some Icy-Hot on the angry area. So I just prayed for relief from the pain. I cranked up the risers in the bed and Hubs and I watched TV for awhile and then when I got up to go to the bathroom about half an hour later I noticed the pain was gone. Of course then I asked God to help me get comfortable enough so I could sleep the night through and that didn't happen. Not sure why. Maybe He figured the backache was enough to get rid of for the time-being. And hey, I'm counting my blessings. And I'm not gonna quit asking.
This is now Wednesday, we are just now home from Tulsa where I met with the Physical Therapist and he gave me a new set of exercises to do, watched me perambulate with my three-footed cane and watched me climb stairs, recommended light massage with my favorite oil and said that'd do it. I'd already started putting coconut oil on my knee as the skin was terribly dry and itchy, but he said to put it on the scar, too. I wanted to talk with Terrie, Dr. Plaster's RN, about what I could take to help me sleep that they would approve of, and I tried to get in to see her but it didn't work out, so we came on home. When we arrived, there was a message from her on the machine saying to try two Benedryl at bedtime and if that didn't work to let her know and she'd call me in a prescription for Ambien. So Hubs will make sure I have some Benedryl in my hot little hands by the end of the day today and hopefully we will both sleep better tonight. This morning at 1:15, when I was crawling back into bed after having gotten up for a little while, Hubs rolled over and asked if I was OK and I said, "No. I can't sleep." I mean, I'm getting so desperate after several nights of this that I could just boo-hoo about it for awhile. But he didn't detect any of that desperation, just said, "I'm sorry, .....<snore>". It's not like he can do anything about it, anyway, it wouldn't have been right for me to expect him to get up with me or anything.
We had about an inch of rain last night but it has cleared off and there is no more rain in the forecast till Thursday night. At least the cool front came through and that is going to be nice. We can start having our coffee on the patio in the mornings again, that's if the mosquitoes don't carry us off first.
Well, that's about all I know, and I'm such a zombie I just really can barely put two words together, so that'll do it for this time. I know I'm blessed to be doing as well as I'm doing and without complications except for the dang insomnia, which today has made me nauseous and made my eyes ache, so I'm not much good for anything today. So till next time, rock on, and Hubs and I will do our best to do the same. Hugs all around. xoxoxo
8/19 - Surgery.
8/21 - Home from hospital.
8/26 - Staples removed from suture and bandages changed.
8/29 - Drain hole bandage removed.
9/3 - Last Warfarin taken.
9/5 - Suture bandage removed. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
9/5 - Went completely off Oxycodone.
9/9 - Graduated from walker to cane. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Milestones To Come:
- Completely off Meloxicam (once daily; for arthritis-related pain and swelling, so I'm not going to be in any hurry. I have twelve left in the bottle and two 30-day refills, according to the label.)
- Off the cane (in three more weeks, they say.)