Monday, November 24, 2014

One-armed paper hanger tricks of the trade.

As well as my recovery is going (so thankful to be pain free!), there is no denying that this little spill and resulting cast and sling has made doing certain things a little more difficult.

Here are a few coping mechanisms I am developing two weeks into my shattering experience.

1.  People told me, "take your pain meds, that is what they are for."  "Stay on top of the pain." After one day of taking the prescribed amount of meds, I was tired of feeling nauseous and fuzzy headed.  I cut my dosage by 50%, then to 0% and haven't taken any more.  I am feeling no pain and though a blonde senior citizen, I am relatively clear-headed.

2.  Accept help when offered.  Our church would bring us meals if we so desired.  And though I am instructing you to  accept help, I declined.  There are just two of us here and I am somewhat of a squirrel when it comes to having food on hand.  So, we have not starved.  But we did have some delicious chili from a friend last night.

3.  Be specific when someone asks  how they can help.  We are having an early Christmas this weeks with the kids and grands.  I still needed a couple of gifts as well as the elastic finished on the granddaughters' skirts.   Thankfullly, I was able to see the skirts myself with one hand, but I could not connect the ends of the elastic myself.  When my girlfriend said, How can I help you?  I said , Could you connect the elastic on these two skirts (5-10 minutes).  And can you take me to these three shops in town?  She graciously agreed to do both and we spent a very pleasant time together (and lunch!).

4.  Break down your tasks.  I wanted to make fudge and knew I would need to enlist Pat's help.  But only at two steps.  I could measure, cook, stir.  But I could not lift the pan off the stove to dump into the mixer, nor could I pour the completed batch into containers.  The fudge is made.  A delicious team effort.

5.  Change your cannots into cans.  No, not positive thinking mumbo jumbo.  For example, I cannot empty the canister on my vacuum cleaner, but I can vacuum. Just  because I cannot perform the whole task does not mean I cannot do any of it.

6.  Take good care of your friends and they will take care of you.  One of my girlfriends is starting a business in which she will go to the home of elderly folks and trim their toenails and care for their feet.  And she needs practice!  She is coming over next week to practice on my feet ( I was going to trim my nails the day I fell.....).  I helped her move this past summer.

7.  Set up systems.  The first time I washed my hair with one hand and took my one- handed sponge bath, it took me a half hour.  By getting everything set up logically and in step by step order, I can now manage it 15-20 minutes.

8.  In the grand scheme of things six-eights weeks of inconvenience is just a blip.  Keep your perspective on your 'troubles'.   Could be worse.   Could be raining.


9.  Be grateful.  Though I am broken, GOD, even now is busy knitting those bones back together.  Pretty amazing if you ask me.

10.  Keep up.  Since it takes longer to do everything, don't let stuff slide by.  Before you know it, things will really be a mess.

I am by nature a stubborn and independent person.  My inner two year old comes out: "I can do it myself!"  While these are not my best character traits, I'm using them to my advantage now on my road to recovery.

For you who are still healthy and in one piece?  A few bits of unsolicited advice.

Don't procrastinate.  If I wouldn't have put off making the skirts for the girls, I wouldn't have had to impose on my friend.

Work on your core strength.  I took an exercise class years ago and the instructor emphasized this by saying, ' you want to always be able to get of the toilet by yourself'.  To that I would add, the couch, the easy chair, out of the car.....

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Herein inscribed

The view from the couch is a lovely one.  The fireplace, the woods, the antique oak cabinet filled with mementos of 41 years (today!) of marriage.

There is a collection of five books by Henry Van Dyke.  They are gorgeous.  (Poor photo above does not do them justice - this is the best you will get from a one-armed picture taker on a foggy, gloomy day).  Van Dyke also wrote the words to Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.

These books were gifts from Pat's great grandfather Elijah Jay Rogers to his beloved wife DeDe.

Written in Spencerian script in the original books, here are the beautiful inscriptions penned in these thoughtful gifts:

Our twentieth wedding days anniversary greetings:
Some ups, some downs, mostly ups.  It is good to be able to help one another and feel the congenial companionship that has been ours for these twenty years.  
Very sincerely yours,
Jan. 1, 1908


Dear Mom,

Today we are twenty-one.  Who'd believe it?  The time has been so short and most of it well spent in trying to live for others instead of ourselves.  If He in whose Hands all time is sees fit to give us 21 years more together let us hope that it may be used wisely for the serving of our day and generation.

Very sincerely, 


Dear Mom,

For all the joys I've brought you I am glad; for the sorrows I am cast down and hope that the succeeding years will find them far between and diminishing in degree.

Very sincerely yours,

Jan. 1, 1910

To the above inscription DeDe responded:

You have brought me no sorrows my dear Pop, so be not cast down.  I'm the happiest little woman in the whole wide world after all these years.
"Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life."

I love these quaint inscriptions; the fond formality of these two who truly did live their lives serving others.  It is a wonderful legacy, an inspiration and a gift we hope to live out and pass down to our children, grandchildren  and beyond.

Happy 41 years today, Patrick.  I cannot imagine that He in whose Hands all time is would see fit to give us another 41 (!), but I delight in using every day He gives to serve our day and generation.  


                Elijah Jay Rogers 

Van Dyke's hymns

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Post surgery


The specifics:

10 inch incision
One plate
4 pins 
1 screw
1 piece of coral

Hardware and biological ware.  The coral is uniquely compatible with bone and if I understand correctly will kind of meld into the place that was chipped and form a smoother surface.

Simply amazing.  I have a piece of coral, from the ocean, in my elbow.


My nurse practioner, during my pre-op physical, prayed with me.
My surgeon during my pre-op consult laid hands on me and prayed for me.

Great staff at the surgical center.  All were kind and helpful. In fact, every medical professional (at least a dozen in this past week) have been great to work with.

My wonderful husband who is taking fantastic care of me.

Family and friends who love, email, text and call to check on me.  Email is best right now, my voice is pretty weak.

A beautiful home to recuperate in.

As I drifted in and out of sleep last night, the phrase 'the fellowship of His suffering' kept coming to mind.

I looked up the reference this morning:

10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death,

Elisabeth Elliot defines suffering as 'wanting something you don't have or having something you don't want'.

By that definition, I guess I currently qualify as one who suffers.

But when I think of His suffering on our behalf?  This is nothing.

Through the night, I thought of those who are in far worse shape than I am.  I have lots of time to pray for others who are suffering.  

And to know Him, more and more.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Only a flesh wound

The irreverent movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail has a scene where the character called the Black Knight is guarding a bridge.  Arthur comes upon him and expresses his need to cross the bridge but the overly zealous knight refuses to allow it.  A fight ensues which gruesomely results in Arthur hacking off, one by one, the arms of the knight.  Arthur is puzzled that the knight refuses to acquiesce; the knight insists that his injuries are 'just a flesh wound!'.

As ridiculous as that scene is one has to admire the Black Knight's intrepid spirit.  That never give up attitude.  I've had to remind myself of that phrase several times during the past week.   This busted up elbow of mine is 'only a flesh wound'.

I declared last Thursday 'GET OFF THE COUCH ALREADY ' Day.  I was tired of sitting around thinking of everything I couldn't do.

So now, even though everything takes much longer and I must go:

I choose to follow the life giving words in Philippians 4:4-7:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That feels so much better.  After all, this shattered elbow?

  'Tis only a scratch'.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Today in the Word

I had to chuckle during my devotions this morning.  This passage, which is from Psalm 17, hit my funny bone, the one I broke on Tuesday.  The bold words are the ones I found especially smile producing.

5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 
8 I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. 
11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

I have always loved this passage.  The comfort it speaks of is not to be denied.  Another translation renders vs. 5 as ' The LORD  is my portion and my cup.  You have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.'

Such a peaceful feeling, broken elbow aside, knowing that He has me in a pleasant place.  So thankful I broke my left arm and not my right.  Yes, there are bumps in life.  Mishaps happen.  But I will not be shaken.  

In His presence there is FULLNESS of joy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

That's gonna leave a mark....

We received a little over 16 inches on Monday and Tuesday.  After the plow came through I headed out for a walk.

About a half mile into my walk, I went down.  Hard.

To make a long story short, 7 hours later, a visit to my nurse practitioner and the E.R. I had a diagnosis:

The verdict: fractured lateral humeral condoyle and epicondoyle. AND a superior/proximal displacement of the articular component of this fracture.

In English? Broke my elbow. Bad. 

Turns out breaking your humeras isn't all that humorous.

So, now I'm waiting for an appointment with a orthopedic surgeon, who is, one more example of GOD's loving kindness, a family friend.  He mentioned something about pins or screws.

He will put this Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

And all my talk about my minimized wardrobe the other day?  I wrecked my right boot when I fell.  There is a five inch cut across the top.  And, we had to cut me out of my black blouse yesterday because the sleeve would not fit over the splint.   Now my wardrobe collection has taken an unexpected turn.  I have commandeered 3 of Pat's large short-sleeved shirts, since that is all that will fit over the splint.

It is quite the look.

I have so much to be thankful for.  A doting husband.  Breaking the left elbow and not the right.  Beautiful winter scenes out every window.  Loving family and friends.

And GOD, Who knit me together in my mother's womb is doing a little extra repair work on me now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Snowed in

This is what has accumulated so far.  Predictions for 3-8 inches more throughout the day.

School is cancelled, most Veteran's Day events are as well.

I'm supposed to play piano at the nursing home today, but our road has not been plowed let alone our driveway.  We will most likely cancel this evening's Bible study.

Hunkering down here - enjoying studying the Bible, reading, playing the piano, sewing and maybe a couple of forays out with the shovel to help hubby.

Hope the weather is not frightful where you are!