Wednesday, May 12, 2021

On A Positive Note

 What must this little gosling be thinking, looking at her reflection in the water?

How well can she even see at this point anyway? The world is chock full of mystery including how is it that our friend and neighbor, Gayle, who broke her wrist just five days before me, has sailed through it whereas my recovery has been far slower? I have no idea except that her doctor opted for surgery while mine took a conservative approach? An unsolved mystery for sure. I will admit to being envious! 

There will be not one iota of whining in this post because of two excellent developments. One such development was yet another kindness, this time in the form of a favor. One of the very best radiologists that I used to work with took a look at my x-rays, assuring me that good healing was taking place. I've begun to think of my radius like I would a scrape that has to form a scab on the road to healing, and it just takes time for that to not only happen, but resolve as well. I had a rug burn on my knee a couple of years ago that took forever to heal. All that to say that my mind is far more settled

Secondly, we drove out to my old stomping grounds for my therapy session which, today, consisted on testing and measuring so that we have a baseline to work with. For twelve years I drove out to, what was then called Sand Lake Hospital, five days a week. Now named Dr. Phillips, I had to leave the driving to Bruce. Darlene, the Occupational Therapist was great, not too old and not too young. We spent our time together discovering what I can and cannot do. Although there is a sign prohibiting photos I snuck this one anyway so that I could remember my starting place and it is not great. Turns out I have only 13% use of my left hand compared to my right. (photo taken upside down)

Darlene's plan of action is to help get the swelling down, decrease my pain, and get me to be able to type with two hands again. Just kidding on the last item because I've not told her yet that I write a blog. My hair--she wants me to be able to wash it adequately, something I am all for. Having thick hair is generally a good thing, however, not so much when it comes time to wash it with one hand! I am happy to report that showering without a bag on my arm was heavenly.

My twice weekly appointments are all scheduled and we shall see how it goes.

The skin on my hand no longer looks as if I am a snake thanks to the huge amount of Aquaphor Bruce applied yesterday morning. Of course, when your hand and forearm are covered with, essentially vaseline, I remained pretty sedentary yesterday, watching a terrific nature show on PBS called  Europe's New Wild. It was all great, especially the reindeer drive in Lapland. Who, amongst you, has last thought about Lapland? Not me, for one.

Following the appointment today Bruce suggested lunch at Yardhouse off International Drive to which I quickly agreed. It has been ages since we were out this way, that is if you don't count our vaccines trips. Later in his career, he built several Yardhouse restaurants including a very nice one in South Beach, For readers not from Florida, that is a glamorous area in Miami. He was overjoyed to find edamame on the menu, especially when it is coated in a hot and spicy sauce.

We enjoyed a marvelous lunch made even better because your favorite blogger was emerging from her "down in the dumps" attitude. Of all things, sitting in the booth behind us were two former Darden employees. Not just any employee, but one who is the man responsible for creating Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52 among others. Many years ago he chose Bruce to do some important projects , rewarding him with a keepsake in the form of a watch. Those were some very hectic and stressful days in the Peck household, to say the least. 

Sincere thanks to everyone involved with the vaccine from the scientists to the truck drivers, who, no doubt, have led very hectic lives helping folks like us to be able to feel comfortable out in the world again.

On the 40th day, I picked up the paddle again. 41st too. Firstly Bruce hit me some balls and then Bill did. Not a game, just a wee bit to get my feet wet. Unfortunately, Dr. Nguyen thinks I need to wait two months before playing again. Maybe I will progress so much by my next visit in a month, the timeline will change? A girl can dream, can't she?

When I visited Lake Davis last week the gosling was so cute I could not resist..

This is her Papa.

You can't blame me. right?

One of the cygnets has disappeared, but of the remaining six, five of them are the expected gray and one of them is snow white. Can you say adorable?

For at least a week I've been meaning to post the photo below from our lake.

It almost looks like a big glove, doesn't it? Speaking of gloves, Darlene told me that a compression glove might help with the swelling and will try and have one for Monday's appointment. Now that I know, I may just turn to Amazon.

Finally, here is the cover of the book I was praising.

It is a remarkable story of a remarkable woman named Nancy Wake, otherwise called the White Mouse. Yet another historical fiction story that I knew nothing about. Just when I think I've read it all about WW11, along comes this. Seriously fascinating story.

Wasn't this a nice change? An upbeat bit of reading?

You are welcome. 😊

your friend,


Gail

p.s. My homework is to work hard on trying to touch my fingers to my thumb. Wish me luck!










Monday, May 10, 2021

Why Does it Have to Be So Hard?

 I'll be frank with you, just when I thought that I was on my way, there's been a road block which has put me in an unhappy mood. Bear with me, if you will.

As you may recall today was my six week follow up for more x-rays and hopefully good news. Before the x-ray there had to be another cast removal which Danny performed skillfully, first using the saw,

followed by the spreader.

When Danny asked me if I wanted to keep the cast it reminded Bruce of his youth when saving a cast was fun. No thanks was my reply! Should you be wondering, these days, casts are made of fiberglass. 

The big reveal of what we feared was the case.

Yup, no reduction of the swelling. Above the cast there has been significant swelling, but aside from my fingers, it was hard to know. Because my thumb has been immobilized for six weeks, it is as stiff as can be. What you don't see pictured is my peeling hand, both top and bottom, along with my arm. 

Today Dr. Nguyen took more time saying that his goal was for me to be able to make a fist. As well, I no longer need a cast although I did come home with a removable brace. Furthermore, he ordered occupational therapy twice a week to help me regain the use of my hand which, at this point in time, is useless. So, once home, I tried scheduling an appointment and here's what has me so frustrated. 

    THERE ARE NO APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE FOR TEN DAYS! Seriously? 

I can hold my fingers down using my right hand, but until there is a reduction in the swelling, I still can't do a thing. Why does it have to be so hard? I wish I knew! 

For the record, the fracture site feels pretty good, it's just this damn edema that is painful.

Let's move on to happier topics, shall we?

I made some scratch muffins last week! During the course of this ordeal, I am learning to improvise. There are loads of things I miss doing and one of those is baking. You are not in the least surprised, are you? After I'd made them while Bruce was working at the church, he had a better idea on how to accomplish measuring flour, but in his absence, I did it like this.

I can't even remember how I swept the excess flour from the top of the cup, but it was likely to have been not very accurate. Same goes for the leavening agents. Wonder of wonders, they came out alright.

Not perfect, but edible. I will admit that removing the pan from the oven was pretty tricky.

I've been reading, while keeping my arm upright to reduce the swelling, however that was a pipe dream. Nonetheless, reading one of the books Mary gave me, it made me happy seeing the back cover.

And why is that you ask? Because I knew that the review was from Nancy who was such a great book critic, who in time became a friend. Now I read reviews on her blog, which you can find here.  I emailed her to tell her about the happy coincidence and her response made me laugh. Apparently a journalism professor scoffed at her chance at writing career if she was a one finger typist. She showed him! One a finger typist, always a finger typist. As for me I learned two-handed typing in the 10th grade and I struggle doing it with one finger. Perhaps, by the time this is all said and done, I won't even be able to type with two hands. 😟

Whoa Nelly, uploading photos from my Panasonic last week, I discovered a nice shot of the Pink Moon. Definitely not pink.

The boys and girls spoiled me on Mother's Day, beginning with a Saturday delivery courtesy of Bill and Fallon. Holy Cow it is beautiful!

InBloom florist for the win.

Michelle was the only one who would consent for a photo with me.

She could not stay for the pizza in order to visit with her Mom. That said, she did hang around long enough for Bruce to open the Tiffany box for me. Inside two beautiful wine glasses to go along with two impressive bottles of Cabernet. Following lunch, Matt and Tom called AND I beat Bill in Yahtzee which is a pretty big deal. Just when you might think it could not get any better, Dave took us out for a ride on the pontoon boat. Yup, it was a good day. By the time Jonathan called I was plum worn out.

The same holds true for this post...I have to concentrate so hard to find the keys, yes the very same ones I can use without looking, that I am calling it a day. Since I began writing, I've heard back from an office where I can get an appointment on Wednesday! The fact that it is on the other side of town is the only drawback, however I'm willing to give it a try because I want to get better, sooner rather than later.

your friend,


Gail 





 



Sunday, May 2, 2021

Five Weeks In

I spent some time rummaging around reading old blog posts today after having a discussion about the weather earlier. While watching the pickleball action this morning, (naturally feeling sorry for myself), play stopped for a moment for the participants to rest and we talked about how darn hot it is already. Maybe, or maybe it is nothing too much out of the ordinary for this time of year? I knew my blog would be able to set the record straight. Going way back to 2008, the weather was much the same. In 2009 the temperature soared to 97 on Mother's Day. I also discovered that it was my best day at the market to date; inexplicable, but there it was in black and white.

All that to say that reading posts from more than a decade ago reminded me that this set back is just one bump in the road in our life journey. Our life is the best way to describe it because Bruce and I have traveled as a couple for 54 years. Lots of ups and downs with, thankfully, far more ups than downs. How I would have managed this latest solo is beyond me. He's not only gotten the hang of dressing me when I can't do so, but he's learned how to wrap my newly washed hair in a towel as well.

You will be pleased to learn that I have managed to "push past the pain", in part because I feel somewhat reassured that I am doing myself no harm. Actually, for the most part, the pain is diminishing even though the swelling continues,, especially if I am outside for too long in the increasing heat.  As was true back in 2007, my camera helps me cope. It goes where I go which on one morning included a stroll around Lake Davis affording me the opportunity to catch up with the Spring happenings.

The goose remains in her strange location in the wide open. On my first pass this was super fun to witness as a gosling used a plastic bowl to cool off.

Obviously this prompted the question as to what happened to the other three eggs? That is an unsolved mystery because on my second pass this scene presented itself.

Hard to know, but perhaps this screaming hawk in the nearest tree knows something we don't?

The cygnets were all accounted for I am happy to report.

In our lake many ducklings have been born, and many have disappeared just as quickly as they appeared. Between the hawks and the otters, their chance of survival is always perilous. Mama Wood duck sits alone.

Speaking of peril, using our new Apple TV box, or whatever it's supposed to be called, I've been watching a fantastic series called Earth at Night

Should you have the same box I highly recommend having a look. Another great series we loved was Ted Lasso. 

Never could I have imagined how much we would love a series where soccer plays a prominent role!

Connie brought a delicious meal last Monday night of which mashed potatoes played a prominent role. God love her, she remembered how much I love them.
Backing up to the old blog posts, what fascinates me is how society has been changing over the life of my posts. I've commented on lots of that over the years so with that in mind, I'm seeing a new trend, or at least it is to me. While having my lunch the other day, I was browsing the latest Subaru magazine, coming across an article by a young man named John. In said article he included several photographs of his seven month old daughter. Her name is Land.  Seriously? I've just been alerted that a woman named her daughter Ocean. I just can't help but wonder how either of those names could be turned into a nickname, or I'm thinking specifically how my term of endearment for our son Jonathan is "Jon-boy", who, in fact turned 38 yesterday. 38!!! Before long all of our sons will be in their 40's. Holy Cow! 

But I digress, what other baby names are trending?

I've been wandering the property with the camera dangling from my good arm. As was the case with this Red Winged Blackbird, I set my camera on any nearby solid service, maneuver the zoom, then bring it to my eye, hoping I am quick enough. While my intention was to catch it perched on the roof apex, what I caught was far better as I have taken very few shots of this fast bird in flight. 
Ah, the best laid plans..... as they say.

Bountiful, fragrant Gardenia plants are in full bloom. Couple 91 degree heat with increasing humidity and you've got a winning formula for richly scented air anywhere near these beautiful blossoms.
Trending, here we go again. Naming the full Moon is, while actually a fairly ancient custom, new to the masses. Or, so it seems to me.  I give you last week's Pink Moon, rising over the lake. That glow! That shimmer! 
What a blessing to have been vaccinated as has our whole group who gathered for a Kentucky Derby party at the pool. Thank you to everyone who worked on these wonders that are allowing life, as we knew it, to resume. 
Carolyn, taking the guys picture had a speed limit birthday today. 
I'm not entirely sure how it worked, but for those wanting to wager, horses were drawn from a bowl with the one Bruce chose coming in third. I believe he netted $10.

Sandy had fun decorating. 
There were two Loving cups, the real deal btw, on loan from Patti. After some hours yours truly began to fade, leaving the group still  playing a dice game called, "Left, Right, Center". Have you heard if it? Neither had I. Money was won, and money was lost, and the crowd went wild! Especially because one dollar bills were in play.

One more week, or so I hope. No one wants to wear a cast in this heat! 

your friend,

Gail

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Push Through the Pain

That was our big takeaway from today's visit to the doctor.  In fact, he repeated it several times, insisting that I move my fingers in spite of the pain and swelling. Ugh! Let's see him do it!

First thing after we went into the examining room, the LPN removed the splint for an x-ray. Whew, fresh air on my arm!

That dent in the middle is from the splint which I'd been feeling kind of digging into my arm in the last few days. Because I cannot seem to turn my hand over, Bruce took a side view of my fat hand.

Although I had tried to wiggle my fingers some, doing so is not so easy when they are fat. Dr. Nguyen insisted that I force them down in order for there to be no ligaments damage. Sounds like fun, right? He also insisted this swelling, after a month, is normal for some patients.

Our last visit he seemed pleasant enough, but today he just seemed arrogant. I will say that this is my first time ever seeing a doctor wearing a top knot. Or, is it still called a man bun? Either way, it just felt strange. Not to mention wearing black. That really gets on my nerves which should surprise no one as I come from an era when health care workers wore neither black, nor tennis shoes. What can I say? I am a grouch? Maybe....

Danny, on the other hand, was kind and gentle while putting on my new cast, even offering to take our photo when he saw my camera.

Seeing my tied up hair in this photograph reminds me to mention that Bruce is getting pretty good at that! He is doing the lion's share of the work around here although, little by little, I am able to accomplish some small tasks. Two weeks from now we return to see if the healing continues. One reason I have not pushed through the pain is because I could not be sure that I would not do more damage by forcing my arm over no matter how much it hurts. Now I know. Mostly I am not having pain all of the time which is a vast improvement over a week ago. 

In other news, one afternoon, we worked together to make a pot of chili that could last for a few days. Because he has not needed to learn cooking skills in the past, having spent the better part of his life with someone who loves cooking in the house, here he is learning to use the garlic press.
After listening to an explanation on how best to chop the onion and peppers, he took right to it, doing an excellent job of getting the pieces just the right size. Meanwhile, I'd put the ground beef in the pain and began dumping in the spices using my left elbow to steady the jars while opening with my right. Well I got a wee bit heavy-handed and while it was edible, it was so hot that even Bruce said so, which is very telling as he never thinks anything is too spicy! In the end, even after  putting it on some rice to tone it down, it went down the drain. 

Bill came over the other evening to practice with Bruce. I walked to the court with my camera to watch the action and of course take some photos.
Now that is some serious concentration! Bruce was on the other side hitting him hard balls.
It is hard to pinpoint why, but the game of pickleball is not only great fun but most folks who try it say they become addicted. We know the feeling!

Before I had my accident, Swallow Tail Kites were beginning to appear high in the sky but I was not prepared. This time I was. 
One of these days they will come within my camera's range.

As it turns out the paddle we gave Bill for Christmas already needed some repair work so we had a FIELD trip to the factory in Oxford, FL! The drive took about an hour which is less time than it took to get home from the doctor yesterday using surface streets! Did it ever feel great being on the road again! After explaining that we were from Orlando they got right to it rather than the two day timeframe she originally quoted. After a nice chat with our helper we took the long way home stopping at a few parks along the way. Always lakes are involved which to me means birds. One of my favorites, a Limpkin obliged.
A little later we stopped at Trimble Park on 441 for Bruce to take a little nap in the fine weather. As is my custom, I took a walk wearing the new sling, generously bought for me by our friend Mary. As I was walking along the water's edge I looked up and for the first time in ages, I saw an eagle on an open branch in front of mr.
Creeping forward I could tell it was eating.
If not for some pesky crows who began harassing the eagle I might have gotten better shots. As it was, before long it took off for a more peaceful perch.
Speaking of shots, who else is tired of the countless photos of people receiving their vaccine? I certainly am one of those folks, however, this photo appeared in our newspaper and it had so many great elements to it, I kept going back to look at it.
The colors, his face, her weird wig, his gigantic arm....well what can I say except that I may look at photographs differently?

Speaking of the pandemic, I saw this sign in the bathroom there and it must be from the beginning when we were told masks weren't effective for the general public! 
One morning we went downtown to renew Bruce's drivers license. That's a bit of a story that I won't go into but what I will put down is that there are new sculptures in the park across the street that I visited while he was inside.
Here's an overview with one of my favorites in the foreground.
Saturday afternoon, with continued excellent weather, David grilled steaks at the pool for us, followed by another pontoon boat ride.
So, as you can see, I am getting out more and doing more with each passing day. Just this morning I vacuumed the house while Bruce changed the sheets and did laundry. We are adjusting with help from our generous friends and family. 

With any luck, the bones will continue their miraculous mending ways. If I weren't weary from my one finger typing I might expand on that idea but I am so make of it what you will! 😊

your friend,

Gail




















Tuesday, April 20, 2021

It Could Always Be Worse

I have listened to that phrase a bunch in the last three weeks. No doubt I've said it to others in the midst of some sort of downturn and now I wish that I had been more sensitive.  Even the doctor said it. Not helpful at all. Going forward, I hope that I will squash my natural tendencies and just say that I am sorry, adding is there anything I can do to help?

Of course it could be worse! This is but a temporary setback, yet when a person is in the midst of things, it can be hard to remember that. In my case, just when I thought that I was on the upswing, what with having the cast removed, along came swelling in my hand and arm. It began swelling and kept at it. I've been told that it is normal, but it feels anything but. It was only when I sat down to write and upload photos from my little camera for this post that I discovered I'd taken a photo on the day it began swelling.

Ha ha, little did I know that it would get much worse in spite of icing and elevation. The good news is that this morning I am cautiously optimistic that it is receding a tiny bit. Bruce has been so worried, especially when I move my arm while sleeping, waking him with my moaning.  Who knew how difficult this would be?? 

Enough of my whining...

Friends continue to amaze me with their thoughtfulness. One day last week a deliveryman from In Bloom came knocking with a gorgeous floral arrangement from Barb and Steve. He was kind enough to bring it inside.

In the first week, Matt and Tom had an Apple TV box delivered, providing me with more entertainment options. Mary visited Sunday afternoon, returning within the hour with a sack full of books, all of which look very promising. I'd mentioned that Bruce drove me to the library last week.

It has been well over a year since last I visited the downtown library and it was a real treat, made even more so when I saw a friend's oil painting on display.

He also took me to Lake Davis in order for me to use my camera, photographing the rite of Spring, new birth. Apparently the neighbors have taken this oddly placed nest under their wings. Pun intended! Make of it what you will.

Wow! Seven cygnets!

It made me so happy to run into fellow photographer and birder, Candy, who oftentimes keeps me abreast of our local birds. I am so blessed to have a handle on my Olympus camera making it much easier to use with one hand 

Another delicious surprise from Dave and Sandy. Whoa, was this cake yummy, and just the right size for sharing.

It is Magnolia season again. One sits at the end of our walkway and truth be told, it is not the best specimen except for when the fragrant blooms open for business. And what business is that you ask?  Bee food for now, and later on the squirrels will eat the giant seed pods.

About once a week I see a new batch of Wood Ducks,

oftentimes up to ten, however, after another week passes, there is but one remaining. There are an abundance of hungry hawks around here, and more recently, roaming cats who sit and wait for them to come too close to shore.


Saturday afternoon Dave called insisting we come down to the pool for a cookout. 

Perhaps while reading this post you are thinking, how uncomfortable could a swollen hand and arm be? I get that, for sure. All I can say is that it has made this old lady not her usual upbeat self. Thus I am not the best company, however David would not take no for an answer. It did me good to get out. The food was great, followed by a ride in the pontoon boat. That is David driving along with friends Eddie and Garrett enjoying the perfect weather.

A few weeks ago the big lake was treated for algae, or so we think. In any case the lake looks more like the Caribbean than a spring-fed freshwater lake. Stopping the boat, they jumped in.

Seriously, it is really remarkable, both in clarity and color. 

Once back ashore, Mrs. Camera Crazy went home, finding this beside the front door.  

An anonymous donor! Turns out, after some sleuthing, that Sherry K. had come knocking, leaving bread and soup. As if that wasn't enough, Sunday evening, Carolyn and Patty arrived at the same time bearing dinner. My goodness, I am being spoiled left and right!

Off topic, before I forget, a few weeks ago, Bruce helped Bill to turn his old kitchen cabinets into an inviting garage storage space. Those would be guitar cases on the upper shelves.

We introduced Bill to pickleball and he too, is now hooked. A group of men play Monday and Wednesday nights and those times are becoming one of the highlights of his week. It definitely helps that he is getting good very quickly. Not to mention that he is young, strong and quick. 😀

Yesterday morning I called the doctor's office the minute they opened. Actually I called twice, once leaving a message on a machine, and one time I actually talked with someone. The machine assured me that messages left before three would be answered that day. So much for that. This morning a receptionist called to say that the PA said that my balloon hand was normal and to ice and elevate. A fat lot of good that has done me. 

And so I will continue following directions. In the meantime, I am drinking chocolate milk, hoping to add a wee bit to my body's natural ability to mend the fracture.

As well, I am keeping in mind that "it could always be worse." A silver lining is that my hunt and peck typing is improving as are other small tasks. It could have been my right hand after all! 

your friend,


Gail















On A Positive Note