Friday The Thirteenth

Friday, February 13, 2015

I guess I’ve been lucky all through my life. Friday the thirteenth has not been a day related to bad luck in my world. With one notable exception, one person who was born on a Friday the Thirteenth was an exceptionally negative element in my life for many years, changing the course of my path significantly. All water under the bridge now, but it was difficult to cope with at the time. I need to acknowledge that one black mark against Friday the Thirteenth in my reverie, as I acknowledging reality, which although it can be harsh, is crucial to my mental health. For me, acknowledging harsh realities is not the same as giving them power to darken how I see the world. Quite the opposite really, placing them in light of day puts them where I can see them, so that they can be easily balanced with the realities that fill most of my life, which are positive. Dark forces rely on darkness and denial to maintain their power.

Yesterday Terra and Lares arrived early to drive me to my appointment with the Orthopaedic Surgeon. It was just my luck that the snow plough drove by just after they called to say they were on their way. There was a six inch pile of mushy slushy junk across the end of the driveway. If the weather report had predicted warmer temperatures for the day, I would have left it. But the thermometer was to drop during the day, and I didn’t want a huge ice barrier left across the end of the driveway during the cold snap. So out I want with my shovel. I cleared the end of the driveway and was just finishing with that when Terra and Lares drove up. They stopped the end of the driveway, jumped out, grabbed the snow shovel from me, and finished most of the driveway. Then Lares rummaged in the garage and found a bag of snow melt, brought it out and applied it to the shovelled area.

It was interesting, when I looked up from my shovel as they came down the street, Terra was driving, and Lares had his hand across his eyes and was shaking his head. I do believe he was shaking his head because I was out there shovelling snow so they could get in! Terra tells me I am very independent! I don’t think she always approves of that, but as long as I can, I will be doing things for myself. Then, when I can’t do things for myself, I will ask for help and be thankful for it!

My appointment was interesting and extremely beneficial. I was almost immediately escorted to an examination room, and interviewed for intake. The surgeon arrived within minutes and we reviewed my knee issue. He sent me next door for x-rays, and then I was back in the examination room. Soon afterward, it is a teaching hospital, the Intern arrived and reviewed the problem, did an examination, and left. A short time later he arrived back with the surgeon himself, to discuss the x-rays, and treatment.

The upshot is that I have early arthritis in the knee, and mild meniscus damage. Surgery would be premature. I am relieved! I opted for a shot of cortisone under the knee cap to aid in healing, which turned out to be the truly time consuming aspect of the visit. The cortisone was allergen free, but the anesthetic was not. Since it is a teaching hospital, this eventuality was not regarded as an annoyance, as it has in similar circumstances, in three other hospitals where I have received treatment. Just the opposite, the allergen was regarded as an interesting problem to solve! And they did solve it, eventually bringing an alternative anaesthetic from the pharmacy at the hospital. If they had not found the alternative anaesthetic, they were prepared to do the injection without an anaesthetic. I would have gone through with it even then, but was extremely relieved that they were able to locate an allergen free product. The shot did not hurt, just a very strong feeling of pressure. My knee felt almost immediately better. We had to stay at the hospital for an additional half an hour, waiting to ensure I did not have an allergic reaction, before leaving the proximity of the emergency department. All was well.

Ongoing, I will be taking a temporary course of painkillers, attending physiotherapy, and beginning to go for walks again, lengthening my walks slowly as the days go by. I have a follow-up appointment in two months, to see how this regime is working. The surgeon emphasized that the exercises provided to me by the physiotherapist are crucial, and must be done EVERY day. I find that much routine difficult to maintain, but the alternative is pain, so it is a priority!

Diesel was a bit disoriented when I arrived home. He really would like me to stay put, here in the house! It is partly because he likes to sleep on my bed, and could not. I put the cyclamen in the bedroom while I was away, and shut the door to keep him from getting into it. I spent a few hours with him sleeping on my lap; he felt a lot better for it.

This morning was an early one here at the little house in the city. At 4:09 a.m. I was ready to get up and get started with my day. I had a lot to accomplish during the morning hours. It was recycling day, so the recyclables had to be gathered and brought to the curb early. It was pay day, so bills needed to be paid. A computer support visit was scheduled for the morning hours, which I needed to prepare for. AND, the big event, Attila was packing the car and getting ready to travel to the little house in the city! Anticipation about Attila’s visit is probably what inspired the early rising this morning.

Cold! What a cold day! Tank started up without issue, the new battery is working well.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Attila arrived safely on Friday afternoon, in time to share a hearty lunch!

He gave me a Valentine’s Day surprise. He made me Chocolates with cherry centres! They are my favourite!

Attila shovelled the snow off the garage roof, and it only took him about an hour. He started to carve out a path to the front door, and came in for a short break in the warmth of the house. While he was in the house the neighbour from across the street snuck over with his snowblower and cleared the path to the house! What a guy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We have been enjoying our time together immensely. Friday we did our shopping, and took the little car in for a lube and oil change, then we settled in for the weekend. It has been a cold one!

This morning there was another mound of snow across the driveway, but Attila took care of that in less than thirty minutes. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out, watching a movie, cooking, puttering. It was lovely.

Attila leave in the morning to return to the country house. The masonry heater will have discharged in his absence and he will need at least three full firings to recharge it. So, he must arrive home in time to chop the wood and accomplish two firings in the masonry heater tomorrow, before dark.

Diesel and I are going to miss Attila. Mist is going to be very glad to see him. She has been safe and warm in the country house, which is being heated with electric heaters in Attila’s absence. The cost of this visit will be high, as heating the country house with electricity, in this extreme cold, will be pricey. It was worth it though, to be able to spend a little time together.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-25°C (-13)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 13 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -24.5°C
Dewpoint: -29.0°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: W 6 km/h
Wind Chill: -30 (-22F)

-20°C (-4F)
Date: 8:00 PM EST Sunday 15 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -20.4°C
Dewpoint: -27.7°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: NNW 26 gust 38 km/h
Wind Chill: -32 (-25.6F)

Country House

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-28°C (-18.4F)
Observed at: Muskoka Airport
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 13 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -28.3°C
Dewpoint: -31.1°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: NW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -36 (-32.8F)

-24°C (-11.2F)
Date: 9:00 PM EST Sunday 15 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -23.7°C
Dewpoint: -30.7°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: WNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -31 (-23.8F)

Quote

“I have to say, this global “warming” is turning out to be quite a disappointment.”
Attila, after coming into the house after shovelling the drive, in the wind with a a -38 wind chill factor, February 2015.

Reconnecting

Yesterday I attended my first appointment, an assessment, with the physiotherapist. I didn’t like the feel of the physical building, just something about it that felt, well, aggressive. Then I discovered that the clinic shares facilities with a small gym. That explains it, there is an air of pushiness to the place, and gyms strike me as places that encourage the push. While perhaps that is warranted at a gym, it is not a great energy for healing. So that is one strike against the place, a physical plant issue.

The physiotherapist came out to greet me with a smile, she was young, and friendly, and not aggressive in the least. I liked her. So that is a strike for the place.

She asked me if I had brought shorts with me, no one had mentioned that I might need them during my initial call to set up the appointment. Another strike against the place, an administrative issue.

She went through the assessment efficiently, and kindly. She explained what she was doing as she went along. She asked for permission to touch me, when she needed to touch my body. More strikes for the place.

Her assessment made sense, she taught me two knee exercises to build strength around my knee. She printed out a sheet outlining the exercises, and wrote a few notes on it based on my questions. Very professional, and great “bedside manner”. More strikes for the place.

When I tally up the strikes, and weigh them as what is most important to me, this clinic is acceptable, and it is close by. I wouldn’t rave about the clinic settingj, but I would rave about the physiotherapist.

I began with the exercises last night. I was shocked, truly shocked, by the weakness in the injured side of my body. I have been babying this knee for quite a while, without thinking, and my muscle strength and tone have deteriorated significantly as a result. I know this because I do the same exercises with the uninjured side of my body, and the difference between the two sides is shocking.

I have postponed further visits to the physiotherapist until I have been to the Orthopaedic Clinic for the assessment there. If I need surgery, I will need all of my health coverage benefit for the post surgery physiotherapy. When the benefit runs out I will be done, as we have no financial means of paying for it ourselves. I explained this to the physiotherapist, and to the administrative person who processed my payment. I had to pay for the appointment myself, and must apply for reimbursement.

The visit to the physiotherapist, and the exercises, force me to centre my attention on my body. This is a tough thing to do, as I suffer from various forms of chronic pain. My method of dealing with the pain is to universally disconnect from painful sensations. That means that reconnecting with one source of pain means reconnecting with all of them. Yikes is all I can say!

Hopefully my brain will soon train me to “localize” the pain sources; to disconnect from some, while remaining connected to my knee and leg area. Fingers crossed!

Sunshine! It was very cold here this morning, but it was tropical compared to the temperature at the country house! Attila is going through another phase where he must get up at 3:00 a.m. to fire the masonry heater, then get up again at 6:00 a.m. to close the damper and get ready to leave for work. During these spells the country house can be quite chilly during the day. Attila is not there during the day. I am glad I am not there! If I was I would be wearing long underwear, layers and layers of sweaters, a down vest, a scarf, and gloves, just to keep from getting chilled. I can do it, I did it for over ten years. I would still be doing it, if it weren’t for the isolation in the bush and cabin fever, which are the reasons I am staying at the little house in the city.

I am reminded of my Grandmother, when she was in her seventies, during harsh winters. They heated their house with wood, it was cold at night! Granny wore a balaclava to bed at night, which was a great idea! I remember thinking how clever she was, figuring out how to stay warm!

I had a busy day, managing to get around with Tank, doing errands. I filled Tank’s tank with gas, for the first time this month. It wasn’t that low, but I wanted it topped up. I bought a few items at the discount store, things on Attila’s list. After the discount store, the last stop was the grocery store. Resisting the temptation to buy more fresh vegetables, the list was followed, milk, coffee, soda, olive oil. Then it was home for lunch.

The afternoon was spent at the laundromat. The wet laundry was carted home and now festoons the furniture and every available flat surface. It will be dry by morning, ready to fold and store away.

It was a pleasant and uneventful day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

The Country House
-26°C (-14.8F)
Date: 7:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 January 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -25.6°C
Dewpoint: -28.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: WNW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -30

The Little House in the City
-16°C (-3.2F)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 January 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -16.1°C
Dewpoint: -19.2°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -22

Quote

“Success is following the pattern of life one enjoys most.”
Al Capp
1909 – 1979

Repairs

Repairs seem to be the theme this week!

Yesterday, 0n the advice of the CAA fellow, I gave the local automotive shop a call in the morning. The price was high, I thought, but I wanted the work done, and I wanted to explore for a reliable garage in the area. Doing business with the local automotive shop would give me an opportunity to do both.

Tank started without issue, so I took myself off to the grocery store to pick up milk. While parked at the grocery store, I walked across a two parking lots to reach the Canadian Tire store. I inquired about a battery for Tank. They didn’t have one. Their initial price was very inexpensive, $60 less than the auto shop. But here is the thing, they added a core charge of $20, and an installation charge of $24.99, and would probably insist on a test charge as well, probably for under $20.00. So although the price seemed less expensive at first glance, once the extras were factored in, the price was basically the same as the auto shop. Tank went to the local auto shop for its new battery.

I was immediately pleased with the auto shop. He said he would install the battery in the afternoon, they were too busy in the morning, so I drove over just after lunch time, parked in the lot, and headed into the shop. No expensive decor, bells, whistles, or other things I don’t want to pay for. Happy employees, obviously enjoying their day… that is crucial in my opinion, and something I don’t mind paying for. The owner greeted me pleasantly, chatted with another customer, took my keys, brought Tank into the garage bay, and ten minutes later the job was done. There is a great six year warranty on the battery. This is “our garage” now, I wouldn’t take my vehicles anywhere else!

Then Tank and I tooted around town for a little while, before heading home.

Tank is not the only thing around here that is aging and needs repairs.

My knee has been getting progressively worse. Last night I hardly slept, I was in so much pain. Enough is enough! I hate taking medication, particularly when I don’t know what the problem is. After my morning coffee, breakfast, and chat with Attila, I put on my parka and boots, locked the door behind me, and started up Tank. Tank roared into action at the first turn of the key! Off we went to the nearby hospital emergency.

It wasn’t very busy in the emergency department, thank goodness, I was back home in just under an hour. The upshot is that my meniscus is torn. I have been referred to an Orthopaedic Clinic, and physiotherapy. No more walks for now! Although disappointed about not being able to go for walks, I am relieved to know what the problem is. The emergency Doctor felt I would need minor surgery to repair the damage, but I guess I will know more once I go into the Orthopaedic Clinic. The Doctor also recommended wearing the knee brace when I needed to be active, and to keep walking around the house if I could manage it, which I am hoping I can. He also told me to take painkillers, and this I will do at night so that I can sleep.

I think I will still be able to shovel snow though, not much walking involved there! We shall see what they advise at the clinic, I will be listening to them closely.

So here is me today, taking it easy, and doing paperwork as I sit at the kitchen table. Not so bad, but I’d rather be out in that sunshine going for a walk!

P.S. My YakTrax arrived yesterday, just in time to not be able to use them! Funny old world. They will keep until I can use them.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-4°C
Date: 6:00 PM EST Thursday 15 January 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -4.1°C
Dewpoint: -9.0°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: SW 27 gust 41 km/h
Wind Chill: -11

-8°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Friday 16 January 2015
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -7.8°C
Dewpoint: -12.4°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: NW 28 gust 46 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

Quote

“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning… a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
Joseph Campbell
1904 – 1987