Monday, 30 May 2016

Monday Moanings - May 30, 2016

Prescription: A Night out on the Town

Any morning that begins with sunshine and a frothy fragrant cappuccino is not worth moaning about.

Besides, a month that opened with much anxiety about upcoming major surgery, blossomed into one marked by a good footing on the somewhat winding road to recovery and healing.

It's been said that the twists and turns, on any journey are the most interesting parts. I don't think the adage applies to this particular kind of adventure. The setbacks have not been been appealing at all. I suppose though they have been and will continue to be somewhat instructive.

S L O W   D O W N

While I cannot fully embrace the concept all the time, I do try to surround my limited activities with large comforters of rest. So it was this past weekend when we had tickets to a Toronto Symphony Orchestra performance in the city. Back in frozen January when the tickets were booked my surgery was anticipated for mid April, so a big night out on the town at the end of May seemed like a safe bet. But at just 18 days post surgery, it was going to be a bit of a stretch.

Last week was tough on the recovery front, nevertheless I was bound and determined to make it to the symphony. I lounged through the days as best I could, right up until we had to leave for the city. Supper out was amazing and the concert was magnificent with pieces by Ives, Janáček and Elgar in the first half, followed by the blockbuster Alpine Symphony by Richard Strauss. 

The best digital recording coming through the best ear buds in the world cannot hold a candle to a live performance! I was moved to tears a few times and jumped (sort of) to my feet to join in the standing ovation at the end of Strauss symphony. Yesterday I was pretty much bagged, my body unwilling and unable to power up for almost anything.

Was it worth it? 
Oh you bet, every minute of it.  
A perfect reward for endurance and perseverance.

A toast to even better days ahead.

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - May 26, 2016

A Blue Day...

It's all part of the healing process I know, but still at two and bit weeks post surgery, cabin fever has me writhing as my mind makes dates and plans my body can't keep. I miss being able to get and go wherever I want, whenever I want.

I accept that my recovery will be slow but it would really help if it would be in a straight line!

None of this haphazard boogie - two steps forward, one back then three forward and two back followed by four forward and five back.

No setbacks!
No speedbumps!
No reversals!


So while I whine away to the music of the world's smallest violins playing at my so very "first world" pity party, how be you take in some of the better places I've been?


Mykonos, Greece
China - where the Great Wall meets the sea
Tortola, BVI
Curacao beneath the waves
Abu Dhabi
Muscat, Oman
Sydney, Australia
St. Petersburg, Russia

No worries - I'll be back soon enough and sunny side up!
Thank you all for your good wishes.

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 23 May 2016

Monday Moanings - May 23, 2016

Victoria Day Weekend - The 2016 Edition

Lady Spring has delivered up a cracker of a three day weekend to celebrate the kick off of the summer season. It's been a weekend complete with blossoms and birdsong, sunshine and sizzle.

I'm still recuperating from surgery, so a weekend that ordinarily is crammed full of yardwork, had to be very laid back. I've been a spectator on the sidelines as my love rolled the electric lawnmower out of the shed for the first time this season and took for a spin around both the front and side yards. I confess to a moment of envy as I watched someone else do a job I so love to do. Ah well ... my hiatus won't last forever!

Yet another glorious blue sky sits above me with the promise of a another lazy summer-like day. This long weekend of revelry has seen me be more of an event planner than worker bee. I menu planned, wrote lists, and gently offered direction when required. Others fetched, carried and cooked. Though I did make the coleslaw and sat careful watch over the BBQ.

Queen Victoria painted by Andrew Melville in 1845 
(public Domain)

Though originally a holiday set aside to celebrate the birthday of the late great Queen Victoria (born May 24, 1819), this celebration has more popularly become known  as the May "TWO-FOUR" weekend, with an obvious reference to what is known as a case of beer in Ontario. I wonder how the Old gal feels about her party being supplanted by hops and malt? Amused? Or not...

Today is also the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday in Canada. It's celebrated in June in England, even though ER II was actually born on April 21st. Go figure!

Nevertheless, it's #90 for Elizabeth, so banish the moaning, break out the cake and candles along with the gardening equipment, burgers, beer and wine. Light up the sky with shooting stars and roman candles.

Happy Birthday Lilibet!

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - May 19, 2016

And I'm back!

None of the envisioned "what ifs" came to pass, not even close. As with all scheduled major life events, it's been the unexpected, unplanned for, realities that have caused the most consternation.

I made a point last Tuesday before leaving for the hospital of weighing myself. I wanted the evidence based satisfaction of weight loss (things are being take out you know!) this surgery would surely bring. Friday morning I stepped on the scales again to get a measure of the good news. I nearly fainted. Eleven pounds - in the WRONG direction! Now if I had truly thought about it, the weight gain would have made sense – inflammation + IV infusions (of which I know of 5 litres) all add up! I’m happy to report that I’ve now lost all of those 11 pounds plus 2 more. Progress!

I packed my going home wardrobe into my backpack last Monday including a favourite t-shirt and the sloppy "Saturday morning" sweat pants, the ones that all but fall off me. I didn't want a snug waistband to put any pressure on the incisions. Well weight gain = size gain. In the hospital, I got the pants on but it was a struggle. I peeled them off the moment I got home and found one, just one, PJ pants that had a little more room. My husband and daughter, bless them, made a Walmart run to get some 3X (really??? – yes) PJ/lounging pants. As a friend quipped, "All I need now is really bad hair, some tattoos, a tube top and chipped mis-matched nail polish on every digit and I can join the ranks of Wal-Martians."  I'm still wearing the big loose PJ's, but not much longer. Progress!

In anticipation of post-op low energy and limited mobility, I planned suitable activities to keep me occupied: scanning cases of ancient slides to digital photos - a totally mindless, repetitive activity; editing the vast collection of travel images; and working on the memoir writing.

It seemed to me that all of these so called activities are more sedentary than energetic, yet each would yield a highly satisfactory sense of accomplishment. The only demand being my backside in a chair at the computer in my favourite room of the house, the kitchen, airy and bright with sunshine.

Except that until yesterday, my body would not bend to the required 90° angle. Not only that but my nether parts, where bruising and stitches abound, could not take the weight of sitting upright. Happily I can report that now I can sit upright in a chair - but only for about 20 minutes at a time. This blog post is going to take a while to keyboard, but it is happening. Progress!

These have been the worst of my problems – no issues with pain or bleeding or any other possible complications – so no true grounds for complaint. This is especially remarkable in light of the fact that the surgeons encountered a bigger job inside me than they thought or have ever seen before. Such was the degree of prolapse that none of my pelvic organs were where they were supposed to be! Nevertheless they got the job done and here I am 9 days post-op, home, carefully mobile and tapping out a blogpost. Progress!

And just what I been doing these days? I've been lounging on the sofa, napping, reading, napping, watching TV and napping, with an occasional "outing" for a stroll along the driveway and back, followed by napping. And because my camera weighs less than 5 pounds (2.2kg) I've increased the digital photo inventory.

From my perch in the living room I've watched the birds clamouring for seed at the feeders.

I've delighted in the bouquets of flowers, plants and fruit that have come my way.

But mostly I've been quietly grateful: for the skill and care of the medical team (primary surgeon - the secondary I only briefly saw just before going under, anaesthetist, and nurses) and most especially for the care, visits and thoughtfulness of my family and friends.

Thank you all.
Bless you all.

Slow and steady wins the race!

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 9 May 2016

Monday Moanings - May 9, 2016

T Minus 27 Hours and Counting

Sitting in my wagon at the top of this Monday in May, I'm feeling pretty energized. I'm anxious to get on with it. I'm also a little chilly - it dropped below zero last overnight and now it's all of 3°C outside. Good thing I brought the hanging baskets into the garage last night!

Ah well, I've got things to do and places to go today. Surgery is little more than a day away and I want to go for a hike in the forest, drink in the Spring (??) air and smile. It will be some weeks, perhaps months, before I'll be able to handle hiking again, so I'm going to make the most of it, winter coat and all! I want to see the trilliums.

There is also packing to be completed, some instructions to be written, vacuuming to be done and cookies to be baked. It's a big day and I'm up for it. The rest of the week? Well after 12 noon tomorrow, I'll be in and out, probably mostly out until sometime Wednesday. If all goes well, I'll be discharged from hospital on Thursday morning.

Still, don't expect to hear from me until a week from now at the very earliest. Rest assured, whenever I can get my eyes and brain to focus at the same time and for long enough to tap out a post, I will do so. In the mean time I will be under the care and watchful eyes of Sophie and the man. Both will be attentive and loving.

Thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.
I'll catch up with you all later.

©2016 April Hoeller