Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Winter Wonderland

So I’m in East Tennessee at my parents’ place for Christmas. We got about an inch of snow on Christmas Day, which was nice. Then we woke up to more (!) snow.

I may not be going back to Nashville as planned today. We’ll see….

dad's amish buggy


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Shoulder Update

I never got around to telling the story about how I fractured my shoulder, so here goes.

On the evening of Monday, February 8, a friend and colleague called me at home and asked me to take her to the emergency department because she was having serious abdominal pain. It had started showing here in Nashville, and she had decided that having me drive her would be quicker than going in an ambulance. Yes, my driving personality is well known. 😉

Long story short, it was her appendix, and she had an emergency appendectomy. Thankfully, everything went well, and she was able to go home midday on Tuesday. I had her come stay at my house for the night — we both live by ourselves, and I couldn’t imagine being on my own after that, so it only made sense that I could help take care of her while she recovered.

That night, we had a couple of friends join us to watch LOST. After they left, my appendix-less pal settled in and I decided to take the trash down to the curb for pickup the following day.

A little background: there had been some drainage issues with my driveway, which I share with my next door neighbor. Even though the roads were fine, my side of the driveway was a sheet of ice. This had been an problem in the past, to the point where I talked to my neighbor about it and she had tried to have it fixed. Stlll, it was only on my side, and coming from her side and yard, and needed salting on multiple occasions. (FYI, this has now been fixed.)

That night, my side of the driveway was once again a sheet of ice. I made a point of walking on my neighbor’s side with the trashcans. Apparently, I didn’t notice a patch or I wasn’t watching where the trash can was going, and I wiped out. Spectacularly. Best I can tell, I slipped on ice, hit the can on my left side, then the ground and more ice, sliding about 4 feet (trash can still behind me) down the driveway.

And let me tell you, it hurt. A lot. So much so, I was stunned, and couldn’t figure out what exactly happened, just that I was in pain, and couldn’t get my arm to work right.

I yelled for my appendix-less friend, who heard the commotion, and she came out to see me. I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but she had to help me up and get me to the house.

I was still a little in shock, and came close to passing out from the pain in my arm. We called our friend, Mrs. Kitten, to come over — it looked like I would be going to the emergency department myself, only a day after the appendix episode. Mrs. Kitten helped convince me that I should go and get it checked out.

And guess what? The resident physician that diagnosed my friend’s appendicitis recognized me and we all had a good laugh about making the most of Vanderbilt’s medical care (and Vandy is my workplace, so we made lots more friends of staff).

After a few x-rays, it was confirmed that I had a fracture of my left humerus on the greater tuberosity and strained my right wrist.

Follow up with an orthopedist specializing in the shoulder confirmed that I don’t need surgery (which is good) but that I’d need to wear a sling to keep my arm immobilized (no need for a cast) as it heals — probably 3-4 weeks, but could be up to 6 weeks, depending on how fast it heals.

My dominant side is my left, and I can’t do much with my right, even before the accident, but was seriously limited by the wrist sprain. For 2 weeks my mom came to stay with me, since I couldn’t do much of anything, including dress myself or even pour milk into my cereal. Yeah, that’s been fun. Thankfully, mom was able to stay and help me out, driving me around and generally putting up with my crankiness. I’m not a good patient.

That was almost 3 weeks ago, and I’m now able to do things for myself — even so, you wouldn’t believe the production it is to take a shower and get dressed one handed. I can drive, which is a huge thing for me since I’m not a good passenger either.

Eating has been a challenge — I can’t cut up my own food, and utensils can be a problem in my non-dominant hand. I look a lot like a little kid learning to use them. I’ve gotten into the habit of getting finger friendly foods just to make things easier. Other daily activities are surprisingly difficult — things like opening doors, walking up and down stairs (I feel off balance, and have been avoiding stairs because of that), pouring drinks.

I took 3 sick days right after my fall, but I’ve been going to work otherwise. Typing is a challenge — only the last couple of days could I actually use both hands to type, and I can’t do that all the time because of the awkwardness of the sling keeping my left side in one position.

I have moments of discomfort and the occasional sharp pain for no reason (hopefully that means things are healing) but otherwise feel ok. I stopped taking pain meds because I was limited to acetaminophen (Tylenol) and that doesn’t work at all.

Hopefully at my follow up appointment the doctor will say I don’t have to wear the sling so much. The healing process is underway, but I suspect it will be months before I’m back to normal. I have physical therapy ahead of me, which should help me get my full range of motion back and build up things so I won’t be restricted on my dominant side.

It could have been worse I suppose.

Just be glad I don’t post pictures of the massive bruise on my left arm — still there, by the way, if only a nice yellow, green, and slight red color these days. 🙂

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More Quotes From My Mother

“That Sam is always wanting outside. He’s like a dog.” – referring to my cat, Mac. Apparently, Mac “looks like a Sam” and thus should be renamed. And is also part dog.

“You need a little dog, like Beau.” This in contrast to me only needing a cat. Oh, and after being told repeatedly when Mac started showing up in my yard that the last thing I needed was a cat.

“Why do you have to work so much? You should take some time off.”

“I don’t understand why I can’t ask questions.” – When told to be quiet for the next hour because it’s a new episode of LOST and I must watch it.

“What kind of craziness is this? That’s not a question.” – While watching LOST.

“You ate nicer when you were 2. So messy. Maybe I should put down a drop cloth.” – While watching me try to eat with my right (non-dominant) hand while my left (dominant) arm is in a sling with a broken shoulder.

Ah, a mother’s love. 😉

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So it looks like the knitted Christmas presents were a partial fail.

I made my brother a new hat because the first wasn’t big enough longways. My dad has now requested a new hat that is long enough to cover his ears, so his hat wasn’t right either. My mom’s slippers are a little big and tend to slip off, so she’s going to add a band of elastic around them so they stay on.

Lesson learned: measure heads, feet, and any other body part when knitting for others. Also, it’s near impossible to make surprise presents that need to fit.

ETA: So Mom has requested “another” pair of slippers. Not that the first pair are bad, just that she would like another that maybe fit a little better and were a similar dark color, because she likes that dark hides dirt. So looks like all presents get a redo. First I have to do Dad’s hat with ear flaps. I’ll post the finished project(s) soon.

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Sad, But OK

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Everyone has been just awesome about the situation with Trooper.

My friends and coworkers have all be supportive and understanding — several offered to go with me when it happened, and many have checked in on me during the day. When I saw the LOLCats photo above, I knew exactly what it meant to portray.

My boss, who admitted she didn’t understand the pet thing, let me take a couple days off so I could deal with it all. I am truly thankful that I’ve had time away from work and all that responsibility for a very personal matter.

My vet, Dr. Bolles, and the staff at Murphy Road Animal Hospital have been everything you could want — compassionate, caring, willing to joke about things, and offering hugs. It meant a great deal to me, and made the decision and death process a little easier.

My family most of all, who have put up with my complaints and having to hear about Trooper all the time, and continued to love me and him, offering emotional and even financial support (those vet bills can add up) when I needed it, and even when I didn’t.

Loss is never easy, but having others care and making that care known makes the loss bearable.

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I went to my parents this weekend. Since it was Father’s Day, we went up into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a picnic. I have to admit, I was spoiled growing up next to the park, and took it for granted. After living away from there I realize what a treasure such areas are for everyone.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all earthy and environmental on you. 😉

I’d show you pictures of the fun time had by all — me, Mom, Dad, brother and our assorted dogs, Trooper, Beau, and Kenai — but I thought I had forgotten my camera. Turns out, I hadn’t forgotten it, only where I had packed it. I took a bunch of pictures with my brother’s camera, but it will probably be next Father’s Day (if ever) when I have copies of them to post.

We had lots of good food and plenty of family time. It rained quite a bit while we were up there, but we had a tent covering, so it wasn’t too bad. Actually turned out nice even with all the rain.

And by rain, I mean downpours, not a gentle spring shower. Rain that swelled the river, turning it brown with all the runoff. Rain that soaked a little bit of everything, then wouldn’t dry out because it was still so humid (even though the temperature was probably mid 70s) that you could see clouds form around you.

Dad seemed very happy with the whole day, which was the point.

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One of the librarians where I work is a huge genealogy buff, and recently started looking into my family. She spent vacation time at the state archives, and found some interesting things. I’ve added them to the genealogy photo page, including photos of my grandfather as a child with his siblings, and one of my great grandfather with one of my dad’s cousins.

She also found this notice of how one of my ancestors (a brother of my 4th great-grandfather Robert Shields) died:


Gruesome, but fascinating.

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