Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, February 21, 2020

My Alien Knee and My Aries Body

There are just some things that you have to accept about an aging body - things that can't be fixed by modern medicine or exercise or ... even magic I would guess.  And I hate these little "reminders" that parts of me are not working like they once did.

I should preface my post with the reality that my health generally is pretty good - my limitations are minimal and my mental abilities have not yet begun to decline.  Maintaining my mind is a major consideration when dementia runs in my family.  So I am blessed, blessed, blessed - over and over and over again to this point in life.

And, yet, I find little resentments creeping up because of a left knee problem that has dragged on for more than 8 years.  It's a nuisance really.  A torn meniscus that has had a surgical repair and a total of 4 long sessions of physical therapy, not to mention all the money spent on hot and cold packs, wraps and over the counter medications to support and sometimes mask the off-and-on symptoms over the years.  I was cautioned by a Ortho doc years ago that you might repair a torn meniscus, but it can tear again and again.

Well heck, there should be a 'recall notice' or something on such a weak piece of equipment.

It is silly for me to go on so, when I have friends and family who have had full knee replacements, debilitating arthritis, cancer treatments, and/or died early because of serious illness. It is embarrassing to admit that I have just this little nuisance issue and I can't seem to accept that.

So why is it I have so little patience with this little (sometimes big) knee.  I thought long and hard about this - my resistance to even one little medical limitation that can't seem to be fixed by anything medicine has to offer or by my own force of will.

My daughter would suggest that it is because I am an "Aries."  Sincerely, I place no validity in this astrologic stuff.  It is fun to read and try to compare it to personalities that you know, but is it true?  I just can't buy it.  And when I told my daughter that, her response ... "Oh mom, that is such an Aries answer."  Haha!!

So I looked up my sign on the internet for this post and found this stuff.


Strengths: Courageous, determined, confident, enthusiastic, optimistic, honest, passionate
Weaknesses: Impatient, moody, short-tempered, impulsive, aggressive
Aries likes: Comfortable clothes, taking on leadership roles, physical challenges, individual sports
Aries dislikes: Inactivity, delays, work that does not use one's talents
As the first sign in the zodiac, the presence of Aries always marks the beginning of something energetic and turbulent. They are continuously looking for dynamic, speed and competition, always being the first in everything - from work to social gatherings. It belongs to the element of Fire.  Aries is one of the most active zodiac signs. It is in their nature to take action, sometimes before they think about it well.

So ... crap!  That pretty much is me.   Ok, to be brutally "honest" (one of my qualities), that statement is ALL me!!  What to do ... what to do...

I have come to the passionate conclusion (a strength) that my left knee must belong to another sign!  Yes, that is it.  All of me is Aries except this stupid left knee and I am going to have to beat it into submission.  And I will do so by continuing my leg exercises (which I hate doing by the way ... but no matter).  My left knee is surrounded by Aries muscles and tendons.  I will aggressively (a failing) continue those exercises because there is a physical challenge (a strength) there. I need to resist inactivity (a dislike) and remain determined (a strength) to make this knee fit into my of my body - a body that is Aries 'proud.'

I still don't believe in that Zodiac stuff!  But if I have to be like any of those signs - I would have chosen Aries.  Ha.  I don't believe, I don't believe, I don't believe.

Photo Credit:
Aries sign is the Ram
I bet all the Ram's knees work just fine!

How's that for an Aries-attitude post!!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Finally Grown Up

It had to happen sometime. 
I am finally a responsible mature adult!
  Glad it happened at the grand old age of 72.
  I would hate to have gone through my whole life and never reached that state.

It took a Flu bug back in April 2019 to force this evolution upon me.  It was that illness that made me realize I wasn't made of steel - that a little tiny virus, randomly planted in my system, irresponsibly ignored and in the end, allowed to spread to its full potential in me, and then in my husband, and in who knows how many others when I was acting like I was indestructible ... that tiny virus could be very very distructive.  I was sent to the ER by a local minute clinic because my throat was so bad - and my eyes were blood red - that they feared I would have a respiratory obstruction if left untreated!  Of course, that immature person who is actually made of clay had to sleep with cold packs on her throat for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS before she thought of seeking help from that minute clinic.  Too stupid rather than immature ...  was the real problem.

And I can hear the question - did you get your flu shot last year?  Yes, I did.  The flu that I got was not part of the flu shot cocktail for season 2018-2019!  But as my daughter-in-law said (she has a doctorate in Biology and works in the Bio-tech industry) - the flu shot didn't protect me from Type A flu - but it did reduce the severity of my illness.  God help me if I hadn't had that flu shot.)

This winter season I have carried this newly matured me to the opposite end of the pendulum.  I went from "Oh well, oh hum, I am sick. No problem. Keep on going" ... to  ..."Listen up Stupid.  This is a warning shot over your bough.  It can be something serious if you ignore it."

It started with a runny nose and a killer sore throat on Monday morning.  My April 2019 flu began exactly the same way.  Out came the thermometer!  It wasn't working. So bought a new and improved one right away.  One of flu's hallmark symptoms is fever.  I began checking my temperature.  Was checking it every 30 minutes too much?  haha!  I looked in the mirror at my new adult self and said yes.  So I checked it every 60 minutes on Monday. (Probably still too much but I wasn't going to miss that 48 hour window when an anti-viral medication would give the best fighting chance of beating a flu bug.)  Twenty-four hours later - still no fever.  (And no, I didn't get up every hour over night to check my temperature.  I did think about setting an alarm, however.  Ha!! After another conversation with my reflected self in the mirror decided it would be counterproductive.)

I have the very best conversations with myself! 
Probably not mentally normal, but that is for another post. 

I did other things too.  I didn't take any cold or pain meds in the first 24 hours.  I wanted to watch that little bug's progression in real time through my body rather than trying to judge what was going on through a mask of medications.  That was a big change for me.  I really believe in medicinal fixes if there is a fix!  I love living in the 21st century when modern medicine can help reduce or cure many problems.  But I held off to let the possibility of a fever show its face.  I also pushed lots of ice water ... and, of course, I had my medicinal chocolate milk shake.  That felt so good on my painful throat.  If you are unsure what a medicinal chocolate milk shake is - check out this post.

Then I started canceling all my commitments for the next 2 or 3 days until I could figure out exactly what I was dealing with.  I was not going to spread this around even if it was just a cold on family and friends or even total strangers.  How's that for mature!!

Finally, and most importantly, I rested and rested and rested.  I actually listened to my body that said

"Stop moving, for God's Sake. 
I am sending you the 'fatigue' signal. 
You know fatigue is another flu symptom.
I can't get you well AND keep on going like I have done in the past."
That was probably the BIGGEST change of all.  The former steel-made me would have just kept going, and going, and going!!  After all - not giving in has always worked for me - until it didn't in April 2019.  But in the past I was never 72!  I didn't have a body that was 'less' due to age.

So the outcome??  
As of this writing four days out
my throat is still somewhat sore but improving,
my nose is still a little runny but improving
and no fever!
My energy is returning.
 This is not the Flu!

Hahaha!  How is that for a blow-by-blow of a simple cold!

I am treating this episode as a 'dress rehearsal' so when the real thing comes along - I am ready!  And the real thing can be darn scary.  As I was writing this post I had the radio on.  They reported that a 16 year old in my area had just died from the flu.  That 16 year old had been seen in the emergency room on a Sunday and died at home on a Wednesday.  Sixteen years old - folks - with a normal immune system, and bursting with health and youth, just her lost the battle against a small flu virus!  

I am finally grown up - better late than never.    

Listen to your body and take care of yourself!
It is a war out there and some of us are losing!
Get your flu shot!  
It is never too late.

Medical Disclaimer:
This post is not meant to be medical advice.  
Check with your doctor to see if the flu shot is right for you!  

But ME is telling you:
Checking with your doctor is just the right and mature thing to do.
  Don't assume you are made of steel.
  No one is - not even if you are only 16 years old.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Rescue Buttons

Yes, Rescue Buttons!

It took me awhile to find a child's sweater for my niece's baby due in March.  Searching took a lot of time.  I finally settled on Wee Envelope by Ysolda Teague.  It looked simple to do and speed to the finish line was an important consideration.  Then I hunted for the right yarn.  I hunted only in my stash because I just have so darn much!!  I like acrylic for small children's items.  I know the knitting community favors wool even for children ... but the reality is that working mothers already have their hands very full.  Acrylic is wash and dry.  Easy peasy!!  And Caron Simply Soft has a very nice acrylic and I have a bunch in various colors.  So I hunted and nothing seemed quite right ... until I saw this multicolor in shades of rose.  The yarn is called Ambre and the color is called Rosewood!  I bought this yarn probably 10 years ago on deep discount so it was deep deep stash yarn.  

I love the colors.

This yarn never found a project because although I love Caron Simply Soft and I love this color called Rosewood - the long runs of color seemed to be a challenge.  The sweater had to be simple enough to not detract from the color changes but not so simple as to be completely boring.

So I took a chance - with a short turn around time for finishing - and began the sweater in Rosewood. As I worked on it - I ran "hot" and "cold" on if it was turning out ok.  The sweater was worked from one cuff to the other cuff - and the body picked up at the bottom of the yoke and knitted down to the hem.  It had an interesting yoke construction.  And the designer had 'picture support' on her web site to help those who didn't understand the written directions for the yoke.  I was one of those who needed help.

But the big challenge were the colors and the way they switched.  I was worried that it was too busy, too much emphasis on the colors ... just too much of everything.  I stopped working on it several times.  I considered ripping it out and starting over in a solid color.  Something safer, where the pattern gets a chance to shine.

Then I decided to complete the sweater and give it to charity.  I would buy a gift for this new baby. To finish it I needed buttons.  The buttons I finally settled on I overlooked at first.  They weren't striking as they sat on a white card.  At some point I found these - but I kept looking.  I wasn't exactly what I wanted but it was something.  I took them to a bright light in the sewing section - and put them against the sweater.

It was magic!!

The color in the buttons seemed to pick up the colors of the sweater as you moved them.  They are sort of pearly so as you move the sweater, the button colors seem to slide between the dark and swirly colors in the sweater.  It is hard to catch that in still photography.  But take it from me ... they are perfect.

For a busy sweater with busy buttons,  it seemed to work.  I sewed them on before I finished the body.  Glad I did.  The more I worked with the sweater ... the more I loved it.  One of my knitting friends suggested that I get baby jeans to go with it.  Brilliant!!

All that self doubt, and starts and stops, all gone.  
Because of buttons.

They are 
"Rescue Buttons."

And, yes, the sweater is going to my niece's baby girl!!  Now I need to go get jeans for her!!