Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Bursting into tears at the DMV while waiting for a handicap plaque

Feeling a bit better today. I went out yesterday to get a DMV handicapped plaque, and it was so draining, standing there in line, I burst into tears at the check-in desk. First day out alone. Teetering on crutches. Yeah, when I realized how weak the surgery made me, I've had to rearrange most of my commitments for this week. Had to nap when I got home. Too tired to even Facebook! Home alone really sucks.

Tomorrow I go to an East Oakland school to work with little kids for MLK oratory fest. That'll be my first real day away from home. Driving ought to be a nightmare. I missed one pain pill last night and woke early because knee was throbbing. So I stagger Advil with my pain meds, the ones I can keep down, taking the bare minimum, and i compensate by icing my knee several times a day. Elevate, elevate. the RICE regime is all that I have going for me.

Coached some kids for MLK Oratory competition this AM. I am nauseated, RE: pain level creeping up into the red zone. Came home to ice my knee. See if that helps. Advil may be my friend, but it is a brutal enemy to my esophagus. I’m running out of options.

From a Facebook post.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dread virus

Still slogging out that dread virus—great excuse to hang out in PJs on a Sunday afternoon. I knew I should've resisted the urge to fall asleep at 9 PM. But I was so groggy all day. Now I'm wide awake at 2 AM. Where's the party?

A one crutch day

Today, my bandage comes off. I look like the mummy. All I can think of is a shower. Shower! Donna said they may just change the bandage. So I may have to saran-wrap my knee if I want to take a shower. Off to the doctor’s soon. Still so groggy. I need a nap. I don't DO naps! Ate toast, yogurt and a bit of baguette & cheese—most food I've had since Tuesday.

I think most of this nausea and grogginess is because of my reaction to anesthesia. Redhead gene is rampant in our family (nach), so we're odd ducks when it comes to pain meds, and anesthesia. Our family is renown for coming-to in the middle of operations. The Walsh redhead gene we all carry makes us harder to anesthesize, and harder to wake us up. Also harder to medicate for pain. I generally wake up mid-operation, and begin to chatter with the doctors.

I’m a regular barfometer. Oxycodone is out. Tramadol is iffy. I can’t seem to keep it down. I even barf up the anti nausea meds. I mean, who does that?  Eyelids are gettying so heavy. Zzzz Snyx! A nap and an ice before I go to the doctor’s office.

Chillin' the knee on the 1/2 hour. I'm all strapped in for a bit. I should be OK to get there. I can also call a cab if it hurts too much to drive. This really sucks doing it alone. Seems I’m alone most of the time whenever there’s a crisis. Neil is at work—he seems to be in his own world. Not a good nurse at all.

Well, hopefully the road won't rise up to greet me—as in faceplant. Driving was an adventure. I used my tippytoe to engage the clutch. Hardest part of driving is getting a rather cumbersome leg into the car. Or just getting to the car. No long distance sprinter. Really glad I've been doing all those muscle isolation exercises! Isoloate, lock, lift! I move like a robot.

I’m using a singular crutch today. Which means I don't have to wear an apron to carry my stuff. And I can drink tea out of a cup! Actually walked a few steps today unaided. Hard to figure out how to lock my knee after all this time. I’m easily distracted, even tho I didn't take my pain meds today. Oh, look—shiny! Driving home was extrasensory.

Progress. One crutch. And the stitches are removed. Shower. Yes.

From a Facebook post.


While under full anesthesia.
I came to well before I was supposed to.
But in my state, I couldn't answer the doctors
So I typed on an imaginary keyboard.
They didn't get the message.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Getting the knee recovery drill down

Getting the knee recovery drill down: I rebandaged knee (it was headed south), I stagger meds (some on empty stomach, some not), Tramodol seems to be working for pain, but I stagger Advil between dosages. Then I have to sit upright for 30 minutes. Then I dose for nausea meds. Pain was on par with original injury. In other words, almost unbearable. Blasted Oxycodone was hurled every time. No barfbag today. Yay.

Hooked up "Tens" massage unit for electrical nerve blocking (for pain). replenished the Polar Ice chilling unit. Hardest part is dragging trays ice in a bag to unit, and adding them—ice cubes seem to have some sort of a homing instinct. Then I make sure various electrical and hose lines don't get tangled. (So far, so good—no electrocutions).

I periodically drag various units from room to room with apron pockets stuffed with meds and Tens unit, waterproof bags tied on my crutches for ice, and a leash (to drag ice unit), and flask for my tea.

I look ridiculous dragging an ice chest down the hall while on crutches. Something like a bag lady. But I've finally worked out the bugs. However, dragging stuff from room to room tuggers me out. Everything is a carefully planned foray. I can put weight on my knee for a few minutes—measuring progress. Yesterday I couldn't bear any weight at all.

Who knew my armpits would hurt from crutches? Or that crutches like to make a run for the border when you set them down? Anything on the floor is a problem. Can't use my toes to pick things up (can't bend bad knee, can't stand on injured knee to retrieve things from other foot—if only I was a quadraped), but crutches make for great if, cumbersome chopsticks.

If the phone rings, I can't get to it on time, as I'm so tangled up in hoses and lines. How am I going to drive to the doctor's tomorrow? That oughta be interesting. Poco a poco.

From a Facebook post.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mousetrap prosies

When my computer mouse flew off the bed, for once, the damned mouse trap was at the ready. As I reached down to grab my mouse, the trap bit it. Mouse battery cover flew off. Battery took off for for the netherworld, etc. And yes, the mousetrap got me too.

Because of a bad mouse home invasion, I've set up squadrons of mousetraps everywhere. Unfortunately I've forgotten where some of the traps are located. At one point I had 13 traps set at strategic intersections under my bed. If I dropped something on the floor, it sounded like a street fight between Spanish castinettes and a pinball machine. Sometimes I feel like I've been sent out by Central Casting to star in a Bizarro comic strip.

Sunday, January 19, 2014


During drought season, drop a brick
down the inside of the toilet tank:
it will displace water—in order to save it.
A neighbor who had no bricks, 
added pebbles: chert, jasper & jade
which tumbled & clogged the flush valve.
She had to fish the rocks out the drain.
If you haven't a spare cobblestone or brick,
a plastic milk jug will do the job nicely.
Fill it with water, add plastic pupfish, 
cat-eyed marbles & fake plants.
Replace the cap. Sky blue is best.
Place your new aquarium in the tank
far from the floatrod & plunger valve. 
No dirty bricks or rocky beachhead
will plug the valve & the desert pupfish
will swim counter-current when you flush
& maybe the sky will open up & let them in.

1/19/2014 rev 2/11 & 24

Friday, January 17, 2014

Conserving water

We sure learned to conserve water in a big way during the 1970s drought. All graywater went to the gardens. Bucket brigade from the washing machine, sink and bathtub too. We saved all bathwater and used it to flush. MUCH less water used. We eventually undid the graywater pipe from the kitchen sink so it ran directly into the garden. The climbing roses and grapes loved it and completely covered the front of the house. Godzilla plants.

There's a false security when people live in cities or have city/county water. Even during drought, there's always water in the taps. We were on a tiny spring, so we were really hard hit by the drought. That hissing sound when the pipes are dry, is a very visceral reminder of the preciousness of water.

We used to sneak down to Camp Taylor and shower. It got so bad that at one point, we jerry-rigged a hose with two female ends, and ran water from the MMWD meter on the street to the outside faucet, and ran water uphill to fill the tank during the night, I can't believe the pipes held.

What really pissed me off was the Smallowes next door punched into our spring—we were sharing the same water table, they dug in at a lower level, siphoning off our water to water their ornamental (not food) garden. And the were on MMWD water so the didn't need to do that. So hard to make a choice what trees to let die in the orchard.

The main thing, is it use as little water as possible for all chores, and then, to reuse that water. Redwoods and apple trees don't mind graywater.

SoCal Folks, please help us to conserve water—that aqueduct that brings Northern California water to you, takes water from us. Our reservoirs are at a record low—they look like a war zone. When I first turn on the faucet, I get muddy water. I have never seen that before. Governor Brown is about to declare a state of emergency tomorrow in SF. Please spread the word, this is a mega-drought, and unless we get a lot of rain between now and April, it'll be the worst drought of the century. 

It's distressing to witness the rampant waste of water in Southern California. Especially on those blasted East Coast  lawns that have no business being planted in California. Our water company is now posting how much water our neighbors are using and is challenging us to use less. Please won't you help us conserve water now—before we run out? Shower with a friend. Flush less. Drink more wine. (Just kidding). Spread the word.

Our challenge: How do you cut water use by 20%?

But I already do all this. This is SO not enough, folks.

 -- Run the washing machine for full loads only.
(Don't wear clothes for 2-4 hours, then throw it in the laundry! AGH! Wear those jeans and shirts several times,)

-- Use a dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand.
(NO! NO! NO! NO! Not true. Dishwashers use FAR more water. This is a bogus statement. If you use a washpan, one gallon of water, suds, and another gallon to rinse—it's WAY less than a dishwasher. Use fewer dishes!!! Use graywater to water your plants.)

-- When washing your hands, turn the water off while lathering.
(When showering, turn off water while lathering.)

-- Turn off water when brushing teeth or shaving. (Duh).

-- Install low-flow shower heads.
(Duh. Also, when showering, turn off water while lathering. )

-- Consider buying a dual-flush toilet.
(Or put 2 bricks in it. Don't flush if it's yellow.)

-- Water outdoor plants early in the morning or later in the evening.
(Use that gray water from the dishes or shower.)

-- Plant drought-resistant trees and plants. (Duh).

-- Use a broom to clean driveways and patios, not a hose. (Duh).

Monday, January 13, 2014


Inside a potato
are mountains, rivers, auroras
and galaxies without end.