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PT, Organizing, and Gee, It's Good to Be Home

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

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DJS-DEBBIE 7/31/2010 6:16AM

    You look so happy in your chair. Your PT sounds like a very wise person. Glad to hear the prognosis is good.

Good luck with your organizing project. I wish I could take a week off from work and just tackle all that stuff but it looks like it will be Thanksgiving before that happens.

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    My chicks love watermelon too!
Glad to hear you started your therapy. Traction therapy for a few months worked wonders on my L-4 and L5. I hope your results will be as good as mine. Take care!

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OLDERDANDRT 7/29/2010 12:26PM

    Glad your probs are basically tempoary as it can be reversed! You look sooooo relaxed and peaceful in your chair with your critters and your coffee! It looks so inviting, I wish I could join you in your little paradise with those wonderful critters to soothe your mind.
Glad you can still get you summer project done, even if you do need to get a helper. I hate disorganization. My house is slowly getting there, and is better now than ever, but tons more to do.
Hugs and hugs and hugs!


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GRACEC29 7/29/2010 8:56AM

    Welcome home! You look very content in your chair with your two furry friends. I love the velcro poodle. As I'm typing right now I've got my "velcro Min Pin" lodged between my neck and the back of the top of my couch. Bob loves to stick himself here which feels like having a hot water bottle across my neck and shoulders. Unless I'm having a hot flash it feels wonderful! emoticon

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MCGS62 7/28/2010 11:42PM

    Glad to hear that your foot and leg problems should be reversible.
Hey! Are any of those chickens named stewart!
Yep, still asking for it!

Comment edited on: 7/28/2010 11:44:40 PM

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MARY1313 7/28/2010 11:16PM

    I am encouraged that you are encouraged! I knew you would be because you are a positive thinker. I am too and I just like being that way!

April has been a velcro Poodle all her life LOL

Glad you are home and I think it's a really smart idea to get help right now.

Hugs to you!


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DREMARGRL 7/28/2010 9:49PM

    Wonderful! So happy to hear that you can recover from the nerve pain and numbness!!! Fabulous news! I love the relaxing picture with your "babies".

Are those little banty chickens? I had some when I was a kid. I remember the little eggs and how much fun it was to gather them.

Thanks for the update. The encouragement you got is immeasurable. Have a lovely night........a beautiful tomorrow! XO MaryAnn emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/28/2010 9:34PM

    LOVE "velcro poodle"!! And wish you could transmit the organization virus in my direction: I am the world's worst housekeeper without a doubt.

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SCOOTER4263 7/28/2010 9:13PM

    Loved the photos. Welcome home! Cleaning out closets and the like is a huge job, but so freeing when it's done, I'm learning.

I forget whether I ever suggested this, but my husband, who has a back so bad it actually went in one doctor's textbook, found some relief from disc compression by using one of those things where you hang by your feet - believe it was called a Hang-up... yes, here it is:

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CLEVAGAL 7/28/2010 8:33PM

    Thank you for the update on your back etc and its interesting to think that it wasnt dehydration aye. I absoluetly adore the pic of the echinacea! Im growing cosmos at the moment-Im waiting for the seeds to come up. I used organic non hybrid variety that are yellow.

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SUNNY332 7/28/2010 7:38PM

    Glad to hear your physical therapist knows what she is doing. Good for her and doubly good for you. Enjoy your bike ride.

Love the velcro poodle and the lap cat.


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LMB-ESQ 7/28/2010 5:19PM

    Welcome home! I'm glad to see you're recovering so well from your little tumble. (Very pretty, BTW, that eye)

Good luck getting organized... I'm attempting to do the same thing! emoticon

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SOFT_VAL67 7/28/2010 4:17PM

    sounds like we have alot in common, i have been going to pt as well, since having arthroscopic knee surgery on july 2 for a torn meniscus....i have about 3 weeks to go unless my pt thinks i need more, and i am sooooo hoping i do, cuz for me its been the best thing in ages, i am using the exercise bike and leg press....
and another thing, cleaning out closets and drawers and cabinets have made up the rest of my time the last few days, i joked with a friend that after cleaning my bedroom out, i found jimmy hoffa...but good luck to u and have a nice day

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My Eye - Week 2

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

YeeHah! The amazing technicolor eye. I cannot remember when I've had such a doozie.

I got an adjustment from the chiropractor yesterday and today I had more cranial sacral work done. There are still layers of healing that need time and TLC.

Out in public, I pull my movie star look. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUST_TRI_IT 7/31/2010 2:10PM

    Do you really have two black belts??? Geez! Remind me never to mess with you!

BTw.. How is the biking these days?

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SCOOTER4263 7/28/2010 9:15PM

    I had a similar eye when I got hit with a bungee cord that let go. The ER doctor said they see hundreds of bungee accidents every year. It was my first (took 14 stitches) and it was a pip! Hope it heals quickly.

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CLEVAGAL 7/28/2010 4:24AM

    I hope you are mending well. My back is stuffed so off to the chiropractor for me!

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    Definitely on the mend when you start seeing yellow/green color. Bet it is still tender though.

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WATERMELLEN 7/27/2010 9:57PM

    Thas it pretty colourful -- but really, I think it's healing. Getting itchy yet??

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MCGS62 7/27/2010 6:42PM

    Two black belts and a eye to match !!! emoticon

OK! Should we ever meet you can kick my but for that one!

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SUNNY332 7/27/2010 6:37PM

    Hello - Hollywood. Love the photo - especially you in the dark glasses.

The photo of your eye is definitely technicolor.

Glad you are on the mend (green is a good sign).


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FT4EVR 7/27/2010 6:03PM

    OUCH! Glad you are on the mend!

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PUDLECRAZY 7/27/2010 5:23PM

    LOL! I have two black belts in aikido.... the other guy would look much worse. Too bad my opponent was the pavement!

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KASEYCOFF 7/27/2010 5:20PM

    I hope if anyone comments on it you have the presence of mind to say 'Ah, it's nothing. You should see the other guy!' :-D

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Myrtle Beach Reunion Installment 2

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.

Boogie Board

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.

Guessing Game

WaternBottle Relay

Hoola Hoop Contest

Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest

Tug of War

Chopstick Relay

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 7/27/2010 2:10PM

    Awww I love these pictures of the children and all of you having fun!

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SUNNY332 7/27/2010 1:52PM

    Looks like fun was had by all. We have a local Japanese Steak House - The Fugi and I love it.
I am crazy about sushi and they make great sushi there. They are going to start classes soon and I hope to take a class.

Have a GREAT week.


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CATHYGETSFIT 7/26/2010 8:13PM

    It sounds like everyone had a lot of fun! Glad you were able to get your ocean fix! emoticon emoticon Sorry to hear about your husband though. Glad to hear it was only a 12 hour virus. You're right, it is never fun to get sick especially on vacation.


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Changde Reunion Day 1

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Great pictures of the kids!

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MEOWMAMA3 7/26/2010 12:23PM

    What a special reunion! A really lovely idea. Looks like you all really enjoyed yourselves!

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SUNNY332 7/26/2010 7:41AM

    Looks like you all are having so much fun.

What a beautiful place.


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KATIEGLEN012 7/26/2010 7:08AM

    Sounds like so much fun!

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KASEYCOFF 7/26/2010 3:32AM

    The whole reunion, from start to finish, is an absolutely brilliant idea - what wonderful memories these children will have, as well as moms, dads, siblings - and even aunts! :-)

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MARY1313 7/26/2010 12:08AM

    I just love pictures of kids playing together! thanks for sharing this Chris!

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ELLENS2525 7/25/2010 9:02PM

    I think the reunion is an awesome idea! So nice that the kids have someone just like them to relate to.

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OLDERDANDRT 7/25/2010 8:55PM

    Looks like the kids had a really great time! Thanks so much for sharing all these great photos.


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HOPERISING 7/25/2010 7:56PM

    that is really special... as an adoptive mother, I am almost moved to tears by the idea.

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IUHRYTR 7/25/2010 7:43PM

    Good looking fun loving kids. Thanks for he pictures. Glad you enjoyed yourself -- Lou

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Family Withdrawal

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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Love the pajamas!

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MARY1313 7/26/2010 12:02AM

    I love the Jammies! they are just right. WOW You and your Sister look soooo much alike! very pretty ladies!

Of course Stella had to sleep part of the time with Hannah!

Love that Stella or your kitty doesn't bother the chickadees!

Hope you are feeling better Chris!


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DREMARGRL 7/25/2010 4:27PM

    Wow....What an exciting vacay....IN A GOOD WAY & BAD emoticon....SORRY ABOUT YOUR FALL! I've had a few of my own accidents the past couple of years to know that it hurts, but the ego hurts worse, right?
You guys look so happy in your matching jammies emoticon. I love that picture! Well....If you're like me, you will remember all the good times and forget the negative in no time. Myrtle Beach sounds wonderful to me about now......Enjoyed your blog! XO MaryAnn

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MARYMAC45 7/25/2010 4:14PM

    Chris, you still look beat up! Take care of yourself. Rest & recuperate this week. Your niece is so cute and you all look swell in your jammies. Your sister looks just like you. I could have picked her out without you telling us. What a great time you had, it is one to remember in more ways that one.

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OLDERDANDRT 7/25/2010 3:27PM

    Nice matching jammies! Love Hello Kitty, too!!
Sorry about the fall that decorated your face so nicely ...hehe... but I'm glad your discomfort is lessening!
Glad you had a nice time and Stella, well....always the diva, huh?!
Please convey a peep peep to the poultry members of the family, too. I'm sure they're glad to have their mommy home.

Hugs, Jayne

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BIRDBRAIN222 7/25/2010 3:07PM

    Hey, your jammies match your face! LOL. Sorry, couldn't resist!

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MEOWMAMA3 7/25/2010 1:04PM

    Great pix! I spotted a kitty!!! I didn't know you had a kitty! The matching PJs pic is priceless and needs framing or scrapbooking (I'm on a scrapbooking kick this summer, forgive me). You're healing up and had a wonderful visit. That letdown feeling will pass! You'll soon be on the road on your foldy bike and banging on melons at the market! Enjoy your rain, we're just sizzling, but I don't care...5 more weeks away from school!!!!!!! YeeHaw!!! (Everyone except teachers says summer's almost over.....HA!)

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WATERMELLEN 7/25/2010 10:23AM

    You are healing a little: yay!! And gotta say, love those matching jammies! And Stella with the chickens, so calm and gracious!!

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SUNNY332 7/25/2010 7:40AM

    My daughter in law would do something like this for all of us. I think it is GREAT.
What memories your neice is going to have.

Your eye is looking a little better.


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MCGS62 7/24/2010 9:31PM

    the PJ's are cute but that is one heck of a bang job on your noggin. Missing your niece is understandable but rest up for next time
---- and wear your helmet-----
my new favorite saying!!!

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2010 9:22PM

    Awwwwwwww... so sweet to see you all together. Your eye seems to be improving, but wow you got a big bump!


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0309COOKIE 7/24/2010 7:12PM

    Aaawww, that picture of you all dressed alike is adorable. The only one missing is Stella, lol. It kills me how the chickens just hang out with Stella and the cat on your lap. Everybody just all gets along. That is so cute!

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IUHRYTR 7/24/2010 7:06PM

    Glad to read that you're healing but that really is some shiner, isn't it? You all look so cute in your matching outfits emoticon. And Stella is always a cutie. Thanks for the pictures. Feel better. -- Lou

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DALLASROO 7/24/2010 7:02PM

    I LOVE this! I especially love the Hello Kitty decked out like you all. Too cute. I am a huge fan of the fiesty feline and clearly your niece feels the same way. I am over 40 and still have my Hello Kitty things up on a spare bedroom. It's sad but true...

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