Thursday, February 28, 2008

Counting Fish

I've noted on many occasions that my dogs can count. Although not sure whether I've posted here about it or not, I was discussing the very issue with Eric a couple of days ago. Apparently my observations may have scientific back-up. I'm neither crazy nor investing human qualities into my boys.

I was first aware of my dogs ability several years ago. I hand out dog biscuits two or three at a time. This practice was developed in self defense. Cosmos,you see, is preternaturally obsessed by food. One dog biscuit will not do it for him, but several at a time might hold him off from bugging me again for as much as 30 minutes. So, depending on the size of the biscuits involved, I may give the boys two (Large or XLG Milk Bones) or three (Trader Joe's Brand) at a time.

Cosmos always goes first. Sunny is much more reserved about food and if I try to bump him up to #1, Cosmos rips my fingers off during the feeding frenzy. After I give Cozie the biscuits, he runs into the studio to eat them there. Sunny always gives him a close look as he dashes by, but I never really thought what it was about before the evening of the revelation.

That night, I gave Cosmos three small treats. Then, because I had larger bones for Sunny, I only dispensed two to him. He stood and looked at me with the two in his mouth. Shock registered in his eyes and then despair. It took me a few minutes of him not moving to his "eating position" for me to realize. He knew that Cosmos had a greater quantity then him and didn't understand the difference in the relative biscuit sizes.

I pulled out a third biscuit and gave it to Sunny. He took it with the other two and danced off! And I thought to myself "Oh my God! Sunny can count!"

I initially chalked that up to a special ability that my big golden boy had but several years later, as Cosmos became older and arthritic, he started needing help into (our) bed. First he was able to get his front legs up on his own and I would lift his rear end. But later (now), I have to help each end, one at a time.

Our ritual is simple. Cosmos starts crying when he thinks it's time to retire. When I "get" it, we go into the bedroom and he runs in little circles at the geographical point that he has deemed the "bed entry zone." He settles into position and I count "One... Two... Three!" and then help him with his front end. He does make an effort to rise up on "Three" but needs the assist.

Then it's time for the back end. "One... Two... Three!" One night I decided to test the theory whether or not he understood "Three!" and did not scoop him up. He stood there with his front paws on the mattress and his hind end making little but futile hops. And I knew. He could count too.

I'm not sure how high my dogs are numerically gifted but I know they both understand up to Three. I think (thought) that they might understand up to "four" as, after all, they have four legs. But I didn't venture to think that they might be more aware than that. Even I have my boundaries.

So imagine my surprise the other day when I stumbled across this article. Fish can count.

Apparently, scientists have determined that the "American Mosquito Fish" has rudimentary mathematical skills "similar to those observed in apes, monkeys,dolphins and humans with very limited mathematical ability." They can count to four.

Now of course this shakes my theory that my boys understand numbers up to Four to the bone. (Yes, a bad biscuit pun.) I've never tried them beyond Three. But if a fish - that presumably only has two fins - can count to four, does that mean that my boys may understand numbers up to eight? It would almost make sense.

After all, since I believe that human mathematics grew from "base 10" because we have ten digits, it would make equal sense, assuming that the boys do have some mathematical ability, that they would operate in "base eight." Each paw has four toes.

I'm not sure how to test this new theory out. I'm not sure if I even want to. But I do know that I have some DVDs due back at the Library tomorrow. After taking care of business, I may meander on over to the children's section to look for Dr. Seuss. I can see us tomorrow night during cuddle time. Cosmos will be on my lap, Sunny pretending to ignore us on the floor at my feet. And I will start to read.

"One Fish, Two Fish. Red Fish, Blue Fish."


I guess it must be post surgical syndrome. Successfully having my stitches removed from my foot yesterday, I left the Podiatrist's office with instructions to "keep the foot dry and call immediately if the wound appears to be reopening." Dr. Boghossian sent me away with only a band aid over the wound, no wrap of any kind. So that leaves me completely stitchless... nothing secures the surgical sites on either my knee or foot.

My foot sports a huge and deeply purple bruise that seems to be expanding over the last 24 hours. I actually kind of like it. It looks far worse than the foot feels and therefore is great for the pity factor. It would also be a lovely color to duplicate in a dying experiment. It's spring. Perhaps pulling my dye pot and fiber out of the closet might be a fun adventure?

I'm set up to start Physical Therapy next Monday. I'll be going back to JMP Rehabilitation where I will resume my 25 plus year relationship with Rocky, a critical person in my ongoing recovery from orthopedic and fibromyalgic issues. I can't say that I'm thrilled about it - I'm not - but I recognize this as another place to go and perhaps a source of inspiration to start moving again.

This morning, I'm tired and not feeling like doing much of anything. I'm dressed, but at 11 am, not made up and ready to get the day started. I have to do laundry (I'm out of sheets, towels, and dangerously close to to my last pair of underwear) and need to get to a Jewelry Store to buy a Medic Alert bracelet. Emphatic orders from Dr. Barnett yesterday. I've been putting that off for months now, not wanting a piece of jewelry to draw yet more attention to my medical issues. But at this point, I guess I will go along with it. He seemed so aggitated that I hadn't already done so. And at the same time, I guess I'll break down and buy the multivitimans that Dr. Bluestone strongly recommends. A Vitiman B and D deficiency spurs his suggestion.

Hopefully, with an increase in my PA schedule starting Monday, I'll find the energy that I am currently lacking. Although everything inside of me is telling me to rest, I know in my mind that lethargy spawns more lethargy, and activity will inspire more of the same.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cuddle Time

Sigh. My camera s broken. Again. While Eric checks the warranty date (we're very close), I am forced to do with old pictures or things that I stole off of the internet. Fortunately, I have a subject today for which I have no lack of pictures. My Dogs.

As of late, they have decided that it is of the utmost importance that they be cuddled each and every evening. For small dogs like Beth's Chihuahua Oliver, this activity is not such a big deal. After all, an eight pound dog fits nicely into your lap and there is still room for whatever you are doing, like bead embroidery or knitting or the newspaper or even watching TV. With large dogs, however, making room for them in a lap is a more interactive pursuit.
Cosmos weighs in the mid-fifty pound range. Sunny is more along the line of eighty.

During the day, although they have their requests and demands, they're easy to live with. The occasional pat or opening of the door will do it. They would like to go for walks, but with my leg still in the throes of healing, a dog biscuit makes a nice substitute. They spend the prerequesite time barking at nothing. Barking at neighbors. Barking at the reflection that they can see in the 2nd story window of the unit across from mine.

Shedding is an important acitivity that occupies their time. Cosmos - a dalmatian - sheds terrible short hairs that embed themselves in all fabrics and get stuck. It's hard to brush him too, since his hair is so short that it makes most grooming tools ineffective.

Sunny, on the other hand, sheds in profusion. I have been using a shedding blade on him quite effectively, but still there are drifts of hair piling up like loose snow in all the corners of my living room. I probably could use a vaccum at this point, but come on! I have a built in excuse for the hair in my leg and why not take advantage?

Come 5:00pm, it's time for dinner. Believe me, they don't let me forget it. Cosmos whines, Sunny goes by the front door and starts to bark. It is imperative that he be allowed on the patio before (and after) each and every meal. Except, of course, if it is raining out which it is not right now.

Then the evening rituals ensue. The dogs go outside for their twilight bark. I have dinner and clean up the kitchen. Pull my crafting together. Sit down on the sofa in the studio and turn on whatever form of entertainment that is appropriate for the evening. Realize at some point that the dogs are in and go close the front door. Settle down again.

Small whine. A miserable whine from a dog who is in extreme pain. That would be Cosmos. I am on the sofa with items strewn all over. He is not.

Louder and more protracted whine. I might not have heard the initial overature.

Small circles run in despair, punctuated by moans of pain. Piteous dark eyes trained on mine. How can I be so cruel as to deny him access. After all, it's time. Time for the dog to be on the sofa in my lap.

I begrudgingly move all my personal belongings off of the sofa and into various baskets, tables, whatever. Sit down again, whereupon Cosmos makes a leap up. He's not as good as it as he used to be because of age and arthritis, and sometimes I am required to help his back end on.

Now that he is on the sofa, he must inspect it to be sure it meets his specifications. Without fail, it requires some adjustment. Mainly the throw pillows in the corner opposite me. He disapproves of them and flips them off with his nose.

Then it's time to settle down. That process is quite simple. He strides over to and on top of me, and the front half of his body - as much as he can cram on - is draped over my lap.

Moans of pleasure now come from deep in his throat. The position of his head is of utmost importance and I am required to pet it while he finds the perfect place with both comfort and view in mind. And when he finally does? My job is to pet him and whisper encouraging words of love into his ear. And thus we remain for 30 to 45 minutes.

While all of this is happening, Sunny will be laying on the floor, seemingly indifferent to the activity. He makes a point of lying with his back to us and his head pointing towards the door out to the hallway. For all intent purposes, he appears to be fast asleep. Not even a flicker of the ear betrays him. But as in many actions by dogs, this is false advertising.

He is, in fact, extremely alert to everything that is happening with Cosmos. While displaying a nonchalent attitude, he knows when Cozie has settled down, and when either he - or I - have decided that my lap is numb enough now for him to leave me. And then, a split second before that happens, Sunny comes to life.

He rolls onto his stomach. The head whips around to stare at me. And the most hurt and incriminating eyes you ever saw pierce my soul. This is the look of a dog denied. The dog who is not loved. The dog of guilt.

Sunny is a little too big and arthritic these days to get onto the sofa, so the immediate action upon Cosmos's departure is mine. I slide off of the sofa and onto the carpet. Slither over to the dejected dog. And hug him.

He ignores me, rolling back onto his side facing away from me. But he can only keep this indifference for a few seconds. He is now the center of attention and first, the corners of his mouth turn up just a little, then a toothy grin erupts, and finally, he positions himself such that I can get to the parts of his body he would like me to scratch the most.

Another half hour or so passes. I spend part of the time petting Sunny, part of it brushing him. It really doesn't matter to him as long as he is at the center of my activity. Cosmos will have, by then, positioned himself in the hallway, laying sprawled out and watching every move I make with a baleful stare. But he leaves us alone. He knows that it's Sunny's time now.

Finally, I've had it. I get myself off of the floor, look at my clothing which in less flattering terms could be called a mass of dog hair, but I prefer the description of a "natural fur tweed," consider brushing myself off but then think "Why Bother?" and go back to the predetermined activity of the evening.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Today was my follow-up appointment with my Orthopedist for my knee. Dr. Sisto and I go way back... back to when I was seen by Dr. Blazina and Dr. Sisto was a Fellow studying underneath him. Then they shared an office - They, I suppose, eventually became partners - and when Dr. Blazina passed, Dr. Sisto was the heir apparent.

Going to his office is an exercise in patience. Where most of my doctors are very prompt as a rule, I expect to wait to see Dr. Sisto for an hour or more once passing through his entry door. With my passion for crafts, though, and on disability and therefore no traditional job to be worried about, I'm perfectly capable of keeping myself entertained.

I thought about what to bring along with me today. Knitting? Beads? No. I thought of Doll and decided to bring my Mongolian Cashmere and my Greensleeves Spindle. That spindle is not only beautiful, but is spins like butter.

The pouch that I am carrying the cashmere in is handspun Wenesleydale which I then wove with a cotton warp into corduroy.

Surprisingly, I only had to wait for 20 minutes before being ushered into Exam Room 1. I haven't been #1 in a long long time and savored the view out the window. Van Nuys Blvd.

Famous as being the street on which American Graffiti was based. And in fact, in the 60s, it WAS the happening place although the police cracked down on that activity decades ago and I have no idea where the teens hang out these days.

As with the foot, if you would like a picture of the knee, just let me know independantly and I'll e-mail you a copy. But let it suffice to say that it was no where near as impressive as the foot and you'll be disappointed. Very little bruising, very little swelling. Dr. Sisto promptly took the stitches out and sent me on my way. But not before giving me a generalized talk about my overall condition.

I have to tell you that I still experience a sharp intake of breath (insecurity, not pleasure) when anyone brings the subject up, and today was no exception. Dr. Sisto, with his orientation to the skeletal system, is not really all that interested in my other disease process except as it relates to my bones. But his comments shocked me.

He told me that every time, as of late, that he comes into the exam room, he hardly believes that I am the same patient that he has known all these years. How my X-rays look so much older than my person. How I have transformed my life and my appearance.

Even now, it's hard to respond to such comments although especially Claudia but all the Fab 4 would be proud of me. I responded with a "Thank you." And instead of disqualifying him with a follow-up rebuttal, I just told him that I worked very hard every day of my life not to go back to my old persona. I can honestly say that although some aspects of my weight loss have become easier to deal with, the work involved in not regaining some or all of the weight is daunting.

But thanks to some major influences in my life - you know who you are - I continue on. To work out. To watch what I eat. To get on the scale each and every day so that I don't pretend that my clothes are shrinking rather then me gaining weight when that issue comes up.

(By the way as a sidebar, I confessed to Dr. Sisto today that I had continued to exercise after my left knee was diagnosed. And that I planned to go back to exercise class effective tomorrow. He wasn't really upset about it. Just warned me to be careful but qualified his warning with a short lecture on the importance of keeping fit.)

And as I left Dr. Sisto's office, several prescriptions in hand which I will talk about in my blog at another time, I looked at the sign in his waiting room. "Sorry. We do not validate!"

Sorry Dr. Sisto, but today's visit gave me more validation than money for the meter ever could. It reminded me that sometimes the work that I've put in and continue to do pays off.

It's out everywhere. Easter Candy. After my doctor's appointment, I decided to stop off at Gelson's to buy some fruit. I normally would go to a lesser market for it, but still being on crutches, shopping is challenging and I didn't want to have to deal with also sorting through produce. So Gelson's it was and the candy was on display by each of the doors.
The thing is, in days past this kind of display would have bothered me. I would have ended up buying candy to "put aside for the holiday" when everyone knows that when we buy it early, it's to eat now and we'll buy more later.

Truth be told, though, I don't really crave high-sugar foods anymore. I've become sensitive enough to my body to know that they make me feel awful. And except for the monthly urge to eat chocolate (which can be satisfied by one Lindor Truffle rather than a huge bag of candy), I don't have a hard a time resisting.

Carbs, however, haunt me. Specifically bread. And rice. And to a lesser degree, Pasta. As I shopped around the market, I was tempted to buy first a loaf of Artisan Bread. And then, sushi which is made by a Sushi Chef on the premises.

I actually turned the cart to walk in that direction several times. But tried hard to think about what Lucy told us in our weight maintenance class a few weeks ago. That the real issue that she wished reasearchers would work on in relation to the obese is not as much the physical triggers to eat than impulse control.

She explained to us that we tended, as a group, to be much more impulsive than our thin counterparts. It showed in our eating habits. And to a lesser degree but common all the same, it often turned up in our monetary expenditures too. I know that used to be true for me.

Wanting that sushi was completely impulsive. I used all sorts of reasoning to justify the purchase. It was good for me, which it was. It was not fattening, which it wasn't. It was fresh and good which, from Gelsons, it is. And from the same, it is not an expensive lunch alternative.

But then I thought "Impulse Control." I need to try and curb myself. I had planned on a fruit salad for lunch with a Yogurt & Honey dressing that was already made and waiting for me. There was no real and compelling reason, other than my impulsivity, to deviate from the plan. And so in the end, I didn't.

It really bothered me - a lot - as I checked out of the market and got into my car to come home. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't consider turning around and going back for it as I pulled out of my space. But the feeling of having resisted is better than the short-term gratification that I would have received by buying it and most certainly eating it all before I even arrived home.

I feel a little bit in control of myself.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm known amongst many of my friends as being very creative. Last year, I learned how to use beads and found a new passion in making jewelry. Surprisingly to me - but apparently few others, my 'wearable art' found an immediate audience and I sold some pieces. Not enough to call it "making a living," but in numbers enough to make me feel validated as an artist. A REAL artist, not just a wannabe.

Last December, I decided to take a short break. After delivering the last few sets just before Christmas, I decided to take a little time to rest and concentrate on me. That break lasted longer than I would have envisioned.

At the turn of the year, it was time to get back into the production groove again, but somehow I had lost momentum. Between not producing on a daily basis and snowballing health issues (primarily the knee and foot although some of my other recurrent chronic issues are back too), I just couldn't get going. I had clients waiting on me, patiently I will add, but nothing. Nada. I just couldn't find it within me to complete anything.

I suppose in a sense, making jewelry is like any other business. The "go to" people are the ones that are already busy. They know how to put themselves out. Get a job done. I worried that I had left their ranks and had become one of the unproductive dreamers.

Fortunately, my state of lethargy seemed to abate a couple of days ago, and voila! I have completed my first set in two months!!!!!

This is a bead embroidered amulet bag of my own design. The backing and lining are lamb skin. The picture unfortunately does not adequately capture the glow that it puts off.

I think my favorite part is the partial fringe. Irregular in nature, it reflects nature itself which rarely sticks to a single pattern. It's a consignment piece and my intentions are to deliver it to it's guardian this evening.

My next piece is already designed in my mind. I need to get a draw-down done and I'll be at it tomorrow. Thank goodness. The lethargy is gone. I'm back.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Project Runway - Crutch Edition

This morning I was due for my post-op appointment with Dr. Boghossian. He is my Podiatrist. I had, last night, fortunately attended Slimmons. That's where Michelle - and I, but mostly Michelle - came up with the idea that as many people as we could recruit should sign my bandage with a Sharpie pen.

Since I knew that the bandage would be cut off this morning, I allowed anything to be said. Not that my restrictions would be great under any circumstances.

There was only one rule... No squeezing the foot while writing! That would be a big owie.
Yes, if you think you see Richard's name in the lower left hand side of this picture on my foot, you would be correct.

In most of the cases, having people write on my foot either did not hurt at all, or the pain was so minimal that it was worth it. However, I'm here to inform you that when people write on the bottom of your foot with a Sharpie pen, it tickles!

This morning, I donned the boot - which is plain wrap so far - on my left foot and a wool sock on my right. After all, it was chilly out and raining. I put a red suede boot over the red sock, and was ready to go. As is typical for Los Angeles during the morning commute (especially in the rain), the freeways were jammed. A drive that in mid day might take me a total of 10 minutes was an hour long.
But I had started out early and arrived at Dr. Boghossian's office only a few minutes late. I was escorted to "Exam Room 5" where I immediately informed them that they had to be very careful when cutting my bandage off. "Don't chop up any of the names."

The gal in charge of the scissors was quite agreeable.
Yes, I took pictures of my foot without the bandage. It was actually quite ugly. Ugly enough that I decided not to post the picture here. If you really want to see it, e-mail me privately and I'll forward a copy. Becky, I'm a-waitin' for your request. ;)

The surgery was open foot, and I'd guess that there were five staples or stitches or whatever the h-ll they were. The bruising was incredible. Gross and cool all at the same time!
Dr. Boghossian came in, gave my foot a summary glance, and announced that I was "healing well." Wrapped my foot in a new bandage (his office only offers boring brown),
and left me to my own devices with instructions to keep it dry and return again in a week.
So I made my appointment, was refused permission to take pictures of the front office gals for my blog - by the front office gals - with promises that they might reconsider and let me snap them on Friday after my post-op Knee appointment with Dr. Sisto.

I would have been upset except that they complimented me on my appearance (I was in full make-up even that early in the morning), my sweater (which I not only knit, but spun the yarn for), my belt (which I bargained for last year in the heart of the Beverly Hills Triangle and got quite a steal on), and my crutches (which I had decorated with both fake sheepskin and ribbon).

I felt like both a designer and a model on Project Runway, all at the same time! There are worse ways to start a day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Let's Make a Deal!

Last Monday, Iris and I made a deal. She is working intense hours at her job, neglecting her health and emotional well being. I am stuck at home, four days post-surgery, and bored to tears. She has not been to Slimmons for quite a while; I am supposedly sidelined for quite a while into the future. So we decided that if I would show up to exercise class tonight, so would she.

Since we are both women of our word, we were both there. Watching exercise class from the outside is a weird experience. I had promised Richard that, if he didn't keep me from coming tonight, I would stay out of the way and be careful. Additionally, despite the fact that I am getting out and about, it's by sheer force of will. My knee and foot really do hurt. A lot.
So instead of sitting at the back of the classroom, I parked myself in a chair in the lobby and watched from afar. And admired my classmates.

The thing about Slimmons that is so magical is that it doesn't matter who you are. What you look like. What size clothing you wear. Everyone is beautiful; everyone fits in. When I see my classmates, I don't see their physical beings. I see them.

Of course I saw them leaving me in the dust tonight. It may be a while before I can join them again.
But another nice thing is that they involved me, even from my perch in the lobby. Michelle and Iris came out and made fun of me.
And I made fun of them.
Jan dancd beside and behind me.
Michelle threatened to drop a weight on my "other" foot... the one that has not been operated on.
And everyone had to suffer with push ups. Except me!

Despite my personal challenges, I am a lucky woman.

Monday, February 18, 2008


One of the ironic things about my keeping this blog is the direction that it has gone in. It was originally inspired by my fiber friends, many of whom kept pictoral journals of what they were working on. I thought I was going to do the same as them, recording the spinning and knitting projects that I so enthusiastically worked on. But the nature of my writing is that I often don't know what I am going to say before I put it down and my journey has only infrequently mentioned the crafts projects that I am almost always at.

It's now the Monday after the Friday of the surgery and I am no longer working on an adreneline high. The big bandage has come off of my knee and has been replaced by band aids over the scars & stiches. My foot remains wrapped, but I took the outer layer off, revealing a green wrap and toes that are somewhat swollen but not bruised. Indeed, my knee is less swollen than I would have guessed, probably because of the Game Ready machine, but there is a looseness about my joint that is worrisome. I don't feel at all stable on the leg and proceed around the condo with caution.

I'm also really on my own now. On Friday, Eric was a wonderful help. Saturday I was by myself, but after initial expectations of being up and about, reality took over, I crashed, and spent the majority of the say sleeping. Sunday, I went down to Richard's radio broadcast to meet with his disapproval over I'm not sure exactly what. Maybe my appearance there, maybe his mistaken belief that I was not feeling ok, maybe I did something wrong. I don't know, but whatever.

After the show, I went to Target - yes on crutches - to replace my microwave which had finally bitten the dust, then came home, installed it. Sandy & Christiane came over for a brief visit, then I restlessly paced my condo.

Today, I feel deflated. Lonesome. (I really am all by myself.) And, as in times past when I need soothing, have picked up my knitting needles.

I have an old "UFO" to work on. For those not familiar with the term, UFO stands for "Un Finished Item." In this case, a sweater featured in the 2000 issue of Interweave Knits that I started last year and then, for some unknown reason, got bored with and put down.

The pattern is actually lovely and an easy job to do. It's a modified ribbing, but features a very pretty offset yoke in back and in front.
Rather than using the yarn called for in the pattern, I've pressed some old cotton that I picked up at an estate sale for almost nothing into service. It's incredibly soft, somewhat lusterous, and delightful to work with.

I'm probably about 1/2 way up the back and just about to start the armholes.
Of course, this is not how I had hoped to be spending my time, but perhaps I'll at least get something tangible out of my infirmity.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cleaning Up my Act

The thing is, I've had a lot of experience with surgery. As of Friday, I've had 20 surgeries between my two knees and two on my left foot. Divide 20 by 2 and that makes me a ten!

Over the years, I've become quite adept at the post-surgical shower routine. Even though the surgical center sent me home with this:
I know that the rubber boot / hefty bag / plastic bag routine is for amateurs. Invariably they leak, leaving the bandages a musty and damp mess. And even on those rare occasions that they do not, they are still hot to wear and my leg sweats inside. Very uncomfortable!

I've come up with a much better routine and, before you remind me that I often don't do what I've been told to do and have, on occasion, removed said bandage to take a shower, only to put it back on again afterwards and the doctor(s) were never the wiser, you should know that for the past several surgeries I've been playing by the rules. At least in regards to my personal hygene.

Preparation for this week's event actually began several weeks ago. A properly functioning handheld shower is critical to my routine and the old one that I had in my condo for the past 12 years after moving back home from the '94 Northridge Earthquake had long-since failed to fill the bill. Indeed, not only did the shower head barely dispense water, but it was not a fully functioning hand-held since the tong that you would hang it in had broken several years ago and I had used velcro straps to fasten it permanently there. Not that I didn't want to update my shower head in the ensuing years, but I never could get around to it.

Anyway, with the surgery of this week on tap, I finally made my way to Home Depot and bought almost the exact same unit that was in the shower in the first place. Except that this one worked. I installed it myself - not a terribly big deal except for the part where I connected the hose backwards and ended up soaking my clothing in the first test run - and the shower was good to go for under $50.

Of course, that was not the end of my preparation. I needed to put a new bar of soap in there because the old one would certainly run out before I was done recovering and, even if it didn't, was small enough that I would lose grip of it and have it end up on the floor. That would not be good. So I went to Trader Joes and decided to splurge on a bar of Lemon Verdona soap. Very decadant!

But there is still the issue of how I keep my leg and bandages dry. For that, I needed to pull an old hamper out of my closet that I have not used for years. Put it directly by the shower door, moving the scale - which I will not be using until I am able to stand on both feet again - closer to the bathroom door.

And I needed to be sure that I had extra towels hanging on the hooks in the bathroom.

Now comes the fun part. Actually taking the shower.

I hop into the shower on one leg, and the bandaged leg hangs out the shower door and rests on top of the hamper.

I take one of the towels

and place it on top of the bandage and about two inches up my leg to be sure that there is no splatter.

Close the shower door against the leg protruding out the shower.

And for the record, no, my shower doors are not dirty. I live in Los Angeles where we have very hard water. That is calcium which I did not have time to remove before my surgery because if you had told me a week ago that I would be posting pictures of my shower routine in my blog, I would have called you nuts!

Now I'm looking pretty stupid standing there on one leg while the other hangs out of the shower, but ready to lean WAAAAAYYYYY over and turn on the shower. But I have to be careful to turn the shower head away from my shivering body first because I do not enjoy being blasted by a jet of freezing cold water.

Once the water is adjusted, I reach backwards over my head to the window sill where my shampoo is. Scalp washed, I reach backwards again to replace the shampoo and grab the razor & shaving creme.
I am glad I lost weight so that I could bend over at the waist while standing on one leg and shave the same. Doing these manuevers in the shower is almost as good as taking a Yoga class.

It's time to do the standard soap and rinse which I do not need to elaborate on except to tell you that I stop short on the leg that is extended outside of the shower well before the towel and bandage. And the advantages of a hand held shower head where you can decide where the spray is directed are immediately obvious.

By this time, I'm getting pretty tired and my one "good" leg is tired too. I reach over and turn the water off, but the festivities are not yet done. My bandaged leg is still dry, but if I make a wrong move now, all of my efforts are for naught! I carefully slide my shower door open and use the towel on my still-extended-and-raised leg to dry that leg off. And any other body part that is within easy reach. Then I have to lean over and reach farther outside of my shower to get yet another towel and finish the job.

It's critical to get completely dry before hopping out of the shower. If I didn't, I would end up putting my bandaged foot down in a puddle, thereby making the entire previous effort for naught.

I do hop out of the shower, grab my crutches - which by the way, are metal and cold - and hobble into the bedroom to get dressed for the day.

"Is it worth it?" you ask. "All that effort when I could just wait a few days to take a shower." And I would answer you without hesitation or question.

Yes, it is worth it to be clean.

Surgery Tales

Yesterday was the big day. My meniscus was fixus. And my footus was putus into good working order too.

I was required to arrive at Starpoint Surgical Center at 6:30 in the morning. I guess that was better than the original 6am appointment they made, but the sun was not up yet. Additionally, the front doors were closed and after leaving the taxi, I had to scrounge around the building until I found the back entrance.

But finally I made it. Room 300.
There I was greeted by Michelle (I think) at the front desk. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Sisto, my Orthopedic Surgeon turned up. He is the master of my knees.
I was quickly processed and then led to the holding bay by the lovely pre-op nurse who's name I just can't remember. That will be a recurrent theme of this blog, I'm afraid, as they were giving me some drugs.
IV in place, I was left to await my turn in the operating room. Unfortunately, there was a little teeny-tiny blonde fake-looking thing that had been escorted to the bay across from me. She and her doctor were having a very animated conversation about her breast implants.

"I'm really small framed." She informed her doctor. "Be sure that you make my nipples really high." Now what one had to do with the other, I have no idea. I was ready to deck her except that this wasn't a good time to offend anyone. Then Dr. Boghossian showed up. He's my Podiatrist and was in charge of fixing my foot.
This is my anestheologist. I can't remember his name.
For the life of me, I can't remember the name of my surgical nurse either. But she was not at all surprised that I had a camera. For those of you (Claudia) who are saying right now (Claudia) that "Only You, Laura (Claudia) would bring a camera to your surgery," according to this nurse, that isn't true. A lot of people take pictures. But, she did say, Claudia, that nobody before me had ever planned to post them on a blog.
I don't even remember seeing this guy and haven't a clue who he is.
As I was being wheeled into the operating room. The anestheologist was quite surprised - as you can see from his stance - that I was still snapping pictures.
I'd like to say that this shot was the last thing I saw before I was put out, but it would't be true. The last thing was them foribly removing my camera from my person because they had some kind of schedule to adhere to and my photographic tendancies were messing with the works. And by the way, the only reason they got away with it was because they had an unfair advantage with the doctor putting knock-out drugs in my IV and all...Frozen corn on my foot. Yes, I have a corn on my foot.
This is the "Game Ready" Ice & Compression machine that I am using on my knee. Apparently, these have been used for professional athletes for quite some time, but are just now being used on us general public. It is actually quite effective. You fill the one compartment with ice & water, then it attaches via a hose to a wrap for your leg. Turn it on and it provides cold and compression

I found it very scarey to contemplate but turned out to like it quite a bit. Even though they call it "Game Ready" which I find a bit sarcastic since I am anything BUT game ready.
Eric, Cosmos, & I spent a long evening watching TV. Although Cosmos was afraid of both my crutches and compression machine and didn't think much of the corn as it would fall off of my foot either.
Sunny was just a quiet and good boy. He was very upset, though, by my state of affairs and kept coming to me for reassurance that everything was all right.
My leg in the compression chamber with corn on my foot.
Eric pretending that he is having a good time. He was wonderful - and very helpful - yesterday!
And proof that I am alive and here to tell the tale of being assulted by scalpel.


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