Saturday, December 31, 2011


Just a quick word-Millie is home from the hospital.  She is sore and tired, but glad to be home.  She has A-fib and for a while her heart was racing so they weren't sure she would get to come home today, but the meds worked and she's fine now.  Not loving the PT, but that's pretty normal.

Friday, December 30, 2011


There is a group of Jewish families that have settled in our small town.  Super neat people-as a deacon I have worked with the rabbi on various situations involving the homeless.  At one time one of their group ran a shelter in Bozeman.  Now I must tell you that this group is Messianic-which means they accept Jesus as the final piece in the puzzle.  They observe all the Jewish holidays, Sabbaths and traditions, but they add the worship of Jesus as Messiah.  About four years ago, it was decided to add a menorah to the Christmas decorations downtown.  Some of the men went to work in their shops and made this beauty:

I don't know if the glass lights were hand made, but they kind of look like they might have been.  Very nice!

On to other things-Millie is doing well.  She had a reaction to one of the pain meds so they've changed it to something else.  She said this one works better.  She should be able to go home tomorrow.  Now comes the hard work and the long healing process.

As for my recuperation, I had an MRI and they found a ruptured disc.  I had one set of pain injections two weeks ago that did absolutely nothing.  They tried another drug that gave me some pretty interesting side effects-my hands and feet went numb.  I have the number to the orthopedic office memorized!  I had issues with some of the schedulers in the office-one made me wait three weeks for those injections.  And the knee doc's scheduler was condescending when I called and asked for a referral to the spine surgeon.  This is someone we've known for years-he repaired Stan's back, Millie's neck, and my nephew's femur after a nasty auto accident.  He calls me "Mrs. Santa."  The scheduler acted like I was too stupid to know what I was talking about and why would I want to go to a "surgeon?"  I told her to just pass the message along to Dr. LeGrand, and sure enough yesterday he called me and said he had gone over my MRI with, of course, the spine surgeon.  I need another set of injections that should relieve the pain and give us a definite diagnosis.  The hint was that eventually I'll have to have back surgery.  Not something I really want, but when you have that much pain you become willing to do anything.  Then a week after the shots I will see the spine guy's PA to see what my treatment will be.  While I had Dr. LeGrand on the phone I complained about some of the schedulers' behavior.  The next two calls I got were back to back-griping works if you reach the right person!

Oh yeah, and the guy that I had so much trouble with?  When that office called, I talked to a woman and she told me she just started working for Dr. Slocum yesterday.  Hmmm-wonder where that guy went-do you suppose they got rid of him?  The only downside is the soonest I could get in to get the next shots is next Thursday.  I don't want to wait, but any port in a storm...............

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All Done!

Millie's surgery went well-boring is what our Australian surgeon said.  He said the same thing about mine-meaning no complications I'm sure.  They're working to control the pain, but I'm sure it will be there soon.  She was eating lunch when I got there, and was pretty alert.  She got dozey with pain meds and I had to go to PT so I left her.  I'll stop by before work in the morning-she's ordered a snowman latte' from City Brew.  It's not fun to recover from a surgery like that but they really work hard to keep you comfortable.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Tomorrow DIL Millie will be having HER knee replaced.  She has to be there at 5:15 A.M.  I told her she will be done in time for lunch!  Anyway, send lots of prayers up for her, I'm sure she's looking forward to this as much as I did!  I will keep all of you updated on her progress.

A cute thing-Gracie has been telling everybody that her mommy is getting a "metal knee."  "And" she says, "My Gramma already has one!"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from Montana

So far it's been a very nice holiday.  Had brunch with the kids and exchanged gifts, went to Gracie's concert, ate out, drove around looking at lights (I have some nice pictures but I'm too lazy to go downstairs to get the camera out of my purse!), and now I'm waiting for pies to bake.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, and to my Jewish friends, happy Hanukkah!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Little Drummer Boy

Syd got to shine yesterday at the Sunday School Christmas program.  Not only did he have a whole 2 lines as the "Third Carpenter," he got to play the bongos for Little Drummer Boy.

 Gotta love the mix of old and new in the carpenter costume!  By the way, the boy on the far left is one day younger than Syd.  Syd is small for his age, and Johnny is big for his-makes quite a contrast!

 Saying his lines-had them down pat.  He and his dad worked hard on them.

 The keyboard player noticed how Sydney hovered over the boy playing his drum, so she set him up with the bongos.  He did really well!

Nothing cuter than little kids at a Christmas program.  I heard someone say they were glad their kids were grown and they didn't have to go to any programs.  I would miss them, even if I didn't have anybody specific to watch.

Oh, and I almost have the pajamas cut out.  Years ago, I bought some of those things you put on the bed legs to make it higher and put them on my cutting table.  Sure helped today with my touchy back.  Sometimes I wonder how long my back has been like this-I have been babying it for a long time!  Just have to cut out the bottoms for Syd and Sam's PJ's but my back yelled at me so I'm taking a break.  I really need to go back to town to buy the rest of the Christmas gifts, but I looked through the ads and wrote a battle plan so I won't have to wander and come home sore and exhausted.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BIG Shot!

After getting stinky with the spine Dr.'s assistant, I went in yesterday to get my nerve root injections.  Now I am NOT a fan of cortisone, but I was kind of between a rock and a hard place.  I had to get rid of the pain quickly so I could finish my physical therapy.

Stan had a series of these shots several years ago, but things have really changed.  He had his done sitting on the side of the table and it was almost guesswork where the doc put it.  Mine was done in a special room, lying on my stomach, and they were totally guided by a live X-ray.  They put in contrast dye to make sure they were in the right place.  They told me I would immediately feel quite a bit better, but after about 1 1/2 hours I would be back to square one and the real relief would come in 2-3 days.  I had about a 50% reduction in pain right away, but imagine my surprise when that 50% stayed away.  The only pain I had that was annoying was the injection site.  (Have you seen those needles?  They're about 6 inches long!)  Some Tylenol took care of most of that.

What the assistant didn't tell me when I made the appointment was this is a real medical procedure, not just a shot, so there were some things I should have done.  I wasn't supposed to eat, which I didn't because I was being cautious, I shouldn't have driven myself, I shouldn't go to work, and I was supposed to go right home and go to bed for 2 hours.  The only thing I got right was the no breakfast.  When the guy said I was being naughty, I chewed him out and told him that if he had informed me of these things, I could have done them!  I raced to a coffee shop, wolfed down some breakfast with the Benadryl by my side just in case of a reaction, then went home for 3 hours to rest.  But I had to get the bulletin done, so I drove back to town and worked for a couple of hours.  But then Stan remembered he had a 4:00 Santa job so he couldn't pick Sydney up from school, so I ran to Belgrade, picked him up, went back and finished the bulletin.  I then decided it was really time to go home, but as I passed the last interchange to enter Bozeman I realized I had forgotten to stop by Steve's work and pick up Syd's overnight bag.  All the way to Belgrade, turn around and go back and get the bag.  By this time I needed to get out of the car for a while so we went to a coffee shop and watched YouTube Christmas flash mob videos on my Kindle Fire.

Okay, now for home-but Stan gets home and wants to go out to eat-today is his birthday and he had a craving for Prime rib.  We just went uptown to the Oasis, a local, popular steakhouse and ate.  Finally I stood up and announced that I wanted to go home-I hoped they were done eating, but I was just done!  Went home, curled up with my blanket and went right to sleep.

I still woke up super early this morning, but I was coughing-I think I caught a cold.  I slept more soundly than I have in a long time.  Still some pain, but not like before, and I know that in a few days more of it will go away.  I feel enough better that that huge stack of newspapers on the kitchen table that Stan has left there is bugging me-didn't care a hoot about it before.  And I even had enough strength to cook a birthday pancake breakfast for him.  Resting now, but I'm heading back to town to get Stan's birthday present.  I had bagged that idea yesterday after all I had been through.  I also have to shop for gifts for the widows of the church-something we deacons do every year.  Nothing complicated, but necessary.  I feel well enough, finally, that I think I can wander around Walmart doing some shopping.

I estimate I put more that 100 miles on my car yesterday, just running back and forth.  I keep nagging Stan that we should move closer to Bozeman so we don't have to drive so far to get anywhere.  I figure that I went in the hole wage-wise yesterday-only worked a couple of hours but burned it off!

I cut out Gracie's nightgown this morning, too, so I really am on the mend I think.  Hooray-I am a very bad sickie and don't like to be held down!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

At the Doctor's

So yesterday was my 6 week follow-up.  Hard to believe 6 weeks have passed by!  The physical therapist and I have been concerned about all the sciatic pain I've had.  It's really slowed down my rehab and time is running out.  Two weeks ago, I called the doctor's office and talked to the PA, who assured me he would hook me up with a spine doctor within two days.  Two weeks later still nothing, so the PT called Dr. LeGrande just before my appointment and emphasized that we were running out of time and that the extreme pain I am in was hindering our good work.

So finally, yesterday, the doc swooped in and announced that we had to do something soon because our window of opportunity for good flexibility was about over.  (Ya think??!!)  They were also very concerned that I was still limping.  So this morning I was at the imaging center at 6:15 for an MRI, the first I've ever had.  Wasn't horrible-noisy and my back hurt because I couldn't move, but the new machines are shorter so you're not locked in this huge long tube.  They played Christmas music in the headphones and gave me a blankie so I did just fine.

Now, let's see if they can relieve the pain so I can finish with my knee.  Still bending at 100 degrees, not terrible for 6 weeks, and I am doing OK on the exercise bike-lowered the seat so that's good.  If there is a ruptured disc I'm sure I'll have to have surgery sooner or later, but for now we need to concentrate on the first job.  I'll keep you posted-at least I can drive now and I'm off the aspirin.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Thursday night was Manhattan's Christmas Stroll.  Of course Santa was there.  He started at the school library handing out treats to the kids, while the kids did crafts.

Sydney and Grandpa, I mean Santa!

He inhaled that candy cane!
They had kits for little polar bears.  Very cute!
Then he rode the sleigh to the bank downtown to have pictures taken with the kids.  The bank does this service for free and they are really good pictures.

 I had a really great picture of Santa among the kids on the wagon, but I didn't want to show kids' faces on the Internet with no permission, so I showed Syd instead.

Great pic of the Big Guy!

 Like a dummy, I didn't take pictures of the other grandkids when they showed up at the bank.  I'll have to steal some of Millie's.  I hung out at the bank while the kids strolled-not really up to running all over town yet.  I refer to "the bank" because in our small town there is only one bank.  They are very community minded and it really is a place where "everybody knows your name."

Monday, December 5, 2011

What I'm Up To

Let's see-the weekend was full.  Friday night Stan, Syd and I went to the Belgrade Festival of Lights just to watch the floating luminaries.  Syd even got to send one off!  I made a video, but my Sony camera saves it in a format that Facebook and Blogger don't recognize so I have to wait til Millie sends me the conversion program before I can post it.  Hope it works, it was breathtaking!  Saturday Millie picked me up and we took the two 7-year-olds to the Nutcracker.  Very, very good-great dancers and they had the Bozeman Symphony play.  It was a bit sad-the founder of the Montana Ballet Company passed away just a week ago.  She had sold the company a couple of years ago, but her mark was still on everything.  We sat on the aisle so I could get up and walk if I needed to-and I did!  Then to the Community Co-op for lunch.  Then home.  I had kind of an accident-I spaced it out as I went down the stairs and took the last step with my left foot instead of my right.  I wasn't injured and I didn't fall, but that hurt like holy h**l!  I laid my head on the bannister and sobbed.  It's fine now, and I think it even bends a bit more.  I had asked Stan to build me a short practice step, and after that he went right out to the garage and built it!

Sunday was church and our Advent supper.  I love that we get into the season so much now.  We even have three lit-up Christmas trees on the platform.  And we always light the Advent Candle.  I stayed home last night while Stan went to the Bible class.  Any excuse to be alone-something I don't get much of right now.  A lot of fun-I watched TV with my eyes closed!

This morning I made macaroons.  They are delicious-ever as good as what you get in Mazatlan.  Dulce de Coco is a regional specialty there.  The only thing-the recipe calls for parchment and all I had was wax paper.  I will NEVER make that mistake again!  The cookies were glued to the paper!  By the time I discovered it I had two pans baked, so on the last pan, I liberally applied no stick spray and took the cookies off the paper.  That worked much better!  I dampened the back of the wax paper, waited a while, and then peeled it off the stuck cookies. I have to remember to make a big note on the recipe.

Well, off to stretch out a bit and head to physical therapy.  I hope I can be at 100 degrees today, since Wednesday I was at 95.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Moving Right Along

Today I serged and prewashed the flannel.  I also made my "safe" waffles.  I make a huge batch of chocolate chocolate chip ones and put them in the freezer.  They satisfy my sweet tooth since I can't have wheat.  Takes a while, my waffle maker only makes two at a time.  That was the end of my activities for today.  Had a bite of lunch and have been messing on the computer and watching TV.

Yesterday at PT I actually went FORWARD on the exercise bike!  Jason came in just as I pushed myself to do the backward one, which I did for a while.  He raised the seat a hair more to make it a tiny bit more comfortable.  I wondered out loud if it would work going forward and before he could say anything I did it!  He was shocked and gave me a high five.  He was so thrilled he only kept me there for 30 minutes.  I am now at a 95 degree bend-I gained 5 degrees since Monday.

Every day is better, every day I walk straighter, have less pain, and have more endurance.  And it is less than two weeks til I can drive!  I am getting through this!  Tuesday at my deacons' meeting I prayed for toughness and I really think God has given that to me!

Tomorrow is work, then Saturday Millie and I are taking Sydney and Gracie to the dress rehearsal for the Nutcracker.  It's free for the little kids and only ten dollars for the adults.  This is the Montana Ballet-a very good ballet company.  It's probably one of the best companies in the state.  I am glad they do this rehearsal thing because I'd hate to pay full price just to have the kids get bored, which is what Sam did last year.  Consequently he's not going with us this year!  Sydney is a ham and loves to sing and dance so he'll be just fine.  Well, time to go warm up a leftover for supper.