On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Posts tagged ‘humor’

Free at last | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 2, 2018:

The boot

Dr. Graves gave me this hot, heavy boot.

This past Wednesday was the six-week anniversary of my shoulder surgery. Thursday at 9:45 am I had an appointment with my surgeon for a post-op checkup. Since he had said I would have to wear my sling for six weeks, and since my physical therapist said I was doing really well, I was sure Thursday would mean freedom for me.

However, as the time drew closer, I began to worry. Five years ago I broke my ankle, and the same doctor took care of my injury. It wasn’t the kind of break that required surgery, but I had to wear one of those plastic boots that looks like something that should have a ski attached to the bottom. It was very heavy and uncomfortable, and I counted the days until my two-month checkup, sure I would be healed enough to wear a regular shoe again. After looking at my x-rays, he breezed into the examining room with a big smile. (more…)

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A Spike Update | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 25, 2018:

City Girl Banner at BoothBesides sharing a booth with Tennille Case, another fun part of the Fair was visiting with those of you who stopped to tell me how much you enjoy reading my column each week. One gentleman specifically mentioned my Spike stories, so I thought it was time for an update. Conveniently, we’re staying with him this week, so I have news to share. Spike hasn’t been well the last several weeks, but he’s improving. In fact, he was feeling well enough to give me a hard time the first night we were here. (more…)

Need a ride? | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 11 2018:

Bette DavisAlthough there seems to be some difference of opinion about the exact wording, Bette Davis is credited with having said something like “Old age is no place for sissies.” The older I get, the more I recognize the truth of that statement. Each morning begins with an inventory of body parts to check the pain level of existing physical ailments and to check for any new pains that may have popped up overnight.

Along with new ailments come new limitations. Arthritic thumbs mean that playing the piano and typing are painful and that opening pickle jars is difficult if not impossible. A painful knee marks running off the to-do list – not that I’ve ever been a runner, but if someone wanted me to start, a sore knee would be a good excuse not to. On the other hand, it’s hard to squat down and retrieve the cast iron skillet from the back corner of the cabinet, and even harder to get back up. (more…)

It’s the little things | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 4, 2018:

Physical therapy 2I tried to think of a topic other than my health for my column this week, but there’s little else going on in my life right now. I’m almost three weeks post-surgery, and the worst of the initial trauma has past. Over-the-counter pain meds and a gel cold pack take care of most of the pain, and physical therapy has settled into a manageable routine. It’s still painful and hard work, but I’m making progress, and I’ve cancelled the contract on my therapist. Still, I have almost four weeks until my next appointment with my doctor when he will hopefully release me from my sling, and the little inconveniences of having my dominant hand bound up are driving me crazy. (more…)

Physical Therapy: the good, the bad, and the Kitty | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on  August 27, 2018:

physical therapyPhysical therapy began Wednesday, one week after rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. I was excited when we received a call from the doctor’s office informing me that it was time to begin and asking where I wanted to go. I was also excited to learn that Lake Fork Physical Therapy is one of their approved providers, both because they are local and because I’ve heard great things about Paul and Angie. On the other hand, I was apprehensive.

When people hear that you are having a rotator cuff repair, they all have a story to share, either a personal one or the story of someone they know. Most of the stories I heard were encouraging, but a few not so much. The ones about how painful recovery would be didn’t bother me too much. I was already in pain, so I assumed the pain of surgery would be bearable. I wasn’t too worried about the discomfort of the therapy either, because many years ago I had several months of PT to treat a disk problem in my lower back. Nothing Paul did could be as painful as an elbow on a cramping muscle with the full weight of the therapist behind it – or could it? (more…)

Top Ten Things I’ve Learned from Shoulder Surgery | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 21, 2018: 

shoulder sling

  1. There are a lot more things that require two hands than I ever imagined.
  2. I’m not nearly as ambidextrous as I thought I was. Even I have trouble reading my left-handed writing.
  3. I am even more clumsy than usual with one arm bound up, and a Grabber is an absolute necessity. Thankfully I have a very thoughtful friend who brought me one.
  4. Little things like capital letters, punctuation, and spelling aren’t nearly as important when you’re typing with one hand.
  5. When I’m working on a writing project I sometimes long for a quiet house and a clear schedule, but when it happens, I don’t like it very much.
  6. We have many friends who are gifted cooks and who are more than willing to share their gift with friends in need. I’m doubly thankful that a couple of months ago we bought a microwave that was built in this century and doesn’t “warm” everything to the consistency of shoe leather.
  7. Having people help you, whether it’s bringing dinner, stepping in to help take up the slack in your job, or helping you cut your meat, can be a humbling experience. It can also make a person feel very loved.
  8. David is an excellent caregiver, but he is also a very hard taskmaster – or lack of taskmaster. He won’t let me do anything or go anywhere if he thinks there is a possibility I might reinjure my shoulder.
  9. Kitty is not a good caregiver. Since I returned from the hospital, she has given me a wide berth, coming close only when it’s time for bedtime snacks. Even then she only gets close enough to grab a tasty bit before running over to David’s side of the bed to eat it.
  10. Six weeks is a VERY long time when that’s how long before you will be able to use your right hand – or your left hand if you’re a southpaw.

Blessings,

Linda

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Kitty’s Camping Experience | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 14, 2018:

Kitty on the dashboardLast week’s column ended with the comment that David was anxious to take our motor home, which is being made road ready after six years of sitting idle in our backyard, on a test run to a local campground to see what items other than the refrigerator and generator need attention. As it turned out, he was more anxious than I thought – last week we spent four days at Thousand Trails in Point.

After checking our calendar, scheduling an outing became a now-or-much-later decision since I will be recovering from rotator cuff surgery for the next several weeks. David opted for now, and I began making lists. Sunday after church we began shuttling back and forth between the house and the coach with armloads of clothes, food, and Kitty necessities. I almost backed out when David told me that I wouldn’t be able to use the refrigerator after all, but I simplified my menu plan and added an ice chest to my list.

One of the first things David did once preparations were underway was to get Kitty’s carrier out of the shed. In the interest of safety – both hers and ours – we had agreed that it was not a good idea to let her roam free while the motor home was underway. When he brought it into the house, David put the carrier on top of a box, and Kitty immediately gave it a good sniffing, stretching up on her hind legs to reach it. I put it down on the floor and opened the door, and she went inside and lay down. She was ready to go.

She rode quietly to the campground, but when we arrived and opened her door, she immediately disappeared. After we hooked up the water, electricity, and sewer and put out the slides, I went looking for her. I found her in the bedroom, crouched on a nightstand under a corner of the comforter. We didn’t see much of her until bedtime. She wasn’t interested in dinner, but when I brushed my teeth, she appeared in the bathroom, waiting expectantly for her nightly treats. After scarfing them down, she spent most of the night snuggled against my legs or lying between David and me.

We decided not to leave her alone in an unfamiliar environment, so Monday morning David dropped me at the church and took Kitty to the house. He said she took about four steps into the living room and collapsed on the floor as if exhausted from her ordeal. That afternoon when the three of us drove back to the campground, she was not quite as ready to go as she had been the day before. David had to coax her into the carrier with treats, and she whined a bit in the car. Once she was released in the motor home, she nibbled a few bites of kibble and disappeared into the bedroom again.

After the dinner dishes had been washed and put away and we were settled down with our computers, she ventured out of her hiding place, creeping warily through the hallway and scurrying back to safety at the slightest noise. She finally made it to David’s chair where she demanded constant petting and reassurance.

Each day she became a little braver, jumping up on the back of the sofa or the dashboard and inspecting the new scenery she discovered outside the windows. She spent most of the nights on the bed with us, but I did find her on the floor in front of the driver’s seat a morning or two. The last evening before we came home, she had become comfortable enough with her surroundings that we brought out the squirt bottle to let her know that kitchen counters and dining tables are off limits even when camping. She finally settled on the middle of the dashboard as the appropriate perch from which to survey and rule her new kingdom.

We’re all back home now after a successful test run, and we’re looking forward to venturing a little further soon. Kitty seems to have suffered no ill effects from her first camping adventure. Hopefully, next time she’ll adjust more quickly – and hopefully, next time we’ll have a working refrigerator.

Blessings,

Linda

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