Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I had my visit with the physical therapist this morning. It was a good session. I asked for Connie, who I worked with before when my hip was separating from my sacrum. She is very insightful and an excellent trouble shooter, so I was very glad that she was available for my next round of sessions.
Connie went over my MRI with me with a model of a spine to show me what exactly was going on with my L-4, L-5 disc compression. The discs have lost some of their cushioning, and also have small tears in their outer sheaths and are protruding out a bit, compressing my nerves that go to my feet. Plus there is some arthritis that is creating some lack of flexibility and a little constriction. The good news is that Connie agrees with me - this does not mean that the nerve pain, numbness, damage in my foot is irreversible. It will take time, care, and healing, but I should regain the feeling in my foot and the strength in my hip and leg.
After testing the strength in my hip, leg, and foot, Connie believes that my fall was not just a trip caused by dehydration and low blood sugar (which was what I surmised to explain why I had no balance recovery.) She believes that my leg simply gave out from under me because it wasn't strong enough to correct my balance when I ran into Hannah's shoe. In retrospect, this makes sense... I have been puzzling how I could have fallen like a log without even beginning to recover my balance, especially after years of martial arts training where I learned to take flying falls. Also, I have great muscular strength in my legs under most circumstances, so this weakness was surprising to me.
I began the first of my traction therapies today and came home with some exercises to do. I'll be receiving traction therapy two days a week for a month, as well as other PT and daily exercises. The traction feels great, by the way.
I am hoping for positive and recognizable progress over the month of August. After looking at the spine model and seeing what I am dealing with, I feel very encouraged and empowered.
I am a little frustrated with a setback in my project of extricating things from closets, making Goodwill runs, etc. This was to be my summer of deep organization. Spending a little creative thinking time, I decided to hire someone to help me with the carrying and lifting while I organize so I can still get my project done before school starts. My poor house has become very disorganized and cluttered as I have spent the last 4 years taking care of my parents' house and this summer also taking care of my mother-in-law's house after she died, and my friend's house while she has chemo treatments. I know I will be a happier person during the school year if much of the clutter is removed from my closets and is no longer nagging me each time I open them.
Overall, it is feeling good being home after vacation. I miss my sister and niece, but I missed Stella while I was gone. She has been my velcro poodle since I got back and Tex, the kitty, is all purrs and snuggles. I have been enjoying my morning coffee outside and am looking forward to cooler evenings to ride my new bike.
Poodles and Kitties, and Coffee, Oh My!
Butterfly Enjoying the Echinacea
Eleanor Checks Out the Camera
Lucy Loves Watermelon
Monday, July 26, 2010
Our second day of the Changde Reunion was our first full day. It was HOT out! I am eternally grateful that the reunion was held at a resort that was right on the beach so we could cool off in the water.
I love the ocean, so it was a treat to spend several days getting to play in the waves and breathe the salt air. Moving from NY where the ocean was easily accessible, and spending summers on Cape Cod in MA, the thing I miss most about living in Ohio is getting my ocean fix. I have spent the year looking forward to this reunion 1) to spend time with our extended Changde family, and 2) to spend time at the sea shore. So I was not about to let HOT get in my way.
The day was spent with both unorganized and organized activities for the children. We brought our own boogie board, but there were loaners available to the children who did not bring one. The children spent hours with the boogie boards and just playing in the sand.
Playing in the Sand
The children could also participate in organized activities such as guessing how many shells in the jar, relay races, tug of war, etc.
Hoola Hoop Contest
Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest
Tug of War
Mike and Abby had a lot of fun together at the beach; they really do know how to have fun together.
We ended the day's activities going to eat at the Japanese Steakhouse with a couple of our old Changde friends, and some of our new Changde friends. Unfortunately, Mike began to feel ill right before dinner and drove back to the hotel; a good thing because we ended up with an hour wait to be seated. Fortunately, the children entertained themselves during the wait (we waited outside on the patio). They wanted to wait for a hibachi table, and wait we did!
They were thoroughly entertained by the chef, who put on a pyroclastic show for them and just watching their delight was worth the wait for the rest of us.
Japanese Steak House
Poor Mike, though. When we got back to the hotel, he was sick, sick, sick with a stomach virus. I called the front desk and had a cot delivered to the room so I could sleep separately from him, partly so (hopefully) I wouldn't get sick, and partly so he could have the freedom to make his rounds to the bathroom without worrying about disturbing me.
Happily, it was a 12 hour virus, so Mike felt quite a bit better, though weak, the following day. It is never fun to get sick, and worse to get sick on vacation.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The 5th biannual Changde Reunion was held in Myrtle Beach this year. We drove down in two days, stopping to visit Mike's brother and family in NC along the way. Hannah is an excellent traveler and a joy to take on any trip. She was very excited about seeing her Changde friends again this year.
This is the view from our room at the Springmaid Resort. In spite of being promoted as having WiFi, no one was able to get any connection there, so I was unable to post my reunion blogs in a timely manner. At first, I was a little annoyed about the lack of WiFI, then I decided that not having computer connections for a few days was actually a healthy thing - more time to spend with people, playing on the beach, and generally being active.
After settling into our room, we went to the reception for the children from the Changde Welfare Institute ( a combination orphanage/nursing home in Hunan Province, China) and their families.
We were served cake (and yes, I ate some... chocolate!) and punch, and there were games and activities for the children.
Some of the children already knew each other from previous reunions, but as always, there were new families there, children who were too young to remember who they met last year, and guests of children who came with their families. For the most part, they did not hesitate to jump right in and get involved in the activities.
Most of the children came with their mother, or mother and father, but a few, like Hannah, had an aunt or a cousin along. While the reunions have been organized around families who adopted their children from the Changde Welfare Institute, many families had children born to them, children from other orphanages in China, and this year, one of the families also had two delightful children from Ethiopia.
It was so much fun to reunite with the families we have gotten to know over the years and to meet the new families, but what was the ultimate pleasure was to watch the children reunite with their friends and make new friends.
This year and last, several families had been able to return to China and to visit the new rebuilt orphanage. One of the teenagers gave a video presentation about her trip back. It was wonderful to hear her perspective on her return trip and her experiences in China.
Hannah and Mike were the first of our little family to crash out at the end of the day. Mike had done all of the driving, and Hannah wore herself out playing at the reception.
Another post tomorrow.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm not much into matching clothes, but for my niece ..... I'll do anything! My sister ordered matching PJs for Hannah, Hello Kitty, her, and me, and here we are, resplendent in our sleeping regalia.
You can see the lovely colors of green and purple on my beat-up face, and the steri strips holding my glued head wound in place. It is still very tender, but I am doing much better than I was earlier in the week. The cut is healing, and my head and body aches have become background interference instead of a hammer presence.
Hannah and I spent our last evening camping out together, leaving Abby some quiet time before heading back to Alaska. Stella, of course, wanted to sleep with Hannah half the night and with me the other half. Little did we know it then, but we had a second 'last evening' camping out together when their plane was unable to take off yesterday. They were on the runway when their flight to Detroit got cancelled due to severe weather in Detroit, with no connections available to AK.
We had some lovely Ohio mornings after returning from SC, Stella was very happy to have us home, and Hannah and the Henhouse Gang hit it off very nicely. I was delighted to come home to having the Hen House Gang healthy and happy in my absence.
At the moment, I am experiencing Empty House Syndrome and Hannah Withdrawal. I love to spend time with my sister and niece - it is always hard to have them leave.
I am still planning to blog about our vacation in Myrtle Beach - the reunion of children from Hannah's orphanage in Changde, China. It is always wonderful to meet with the families, to meet new adoptive families, and to share vacation activities together. There are plans affot to celebrate in Changde, China in 2015. Exciting!
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