Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's been 6 weeks since my knee injury and just about 4 weeks since my surgery. Tomorrow, I have an early morning Doctor's appointment and I have a feeling he'll say,
"See you in two weeks" yet again, before I get the go ahead to start therapy.
Yesterday, LH and I boxed up my things at the church office and loaded up my van. I turned in my keys and am officially between positions once more. Only this time, I don't know when something new will come along.
I am grieving leaving this church - although it was a tough place to serve. They have no money in reserves and I was so part-time there was little I could do as an
interim to be really effective. Even so, I came to care deeply for the congregation and brought some stability and a non-anxious presence in the midst of their chaos and confusion. They will be moving forward into a transformational ministry process and I...well, I suppose my work, my ministry is one of self-healing so that I will be able bodied enough to serve in a new place.
Still, I try hard not to feel utterly useless, to do my exercises 3 times a day, and catch up on my reading. I want to serve and we need the income. This knee injury has been totally frustrating and aggravating, but I know I must surrender those feelings and let them go, so that I can heal well. I am feeling somewhat depressed by being side-lined but I will do something each day - laundry, ironing, cooking, reading, and weeding.
I have lost some weight and there has been some delight in fitting into a some things I haven't been able to wear in a couple of years. However, some of my great stuff has had to be taken in and I know that eventually, I will have to let them go. I have built up a decent wardrobe of some wonderful linen pieces that I will hate to part with. So much nicer than all the bohemian and weird patterned polyester dresses that are in the stores now. Some of my wardrobe may be a few years old, but they are fairly timeless. There are some dated pieces which I hung onto thinking that one day I would fit into them again. I think a couple of them are a bit too dated.
I will have to replace my dress pants for fall as all of them are too big. Hope that I have a position so that I can afford to replace them.
It's been six weeks since I have been to a store of any kind! I've only been to the
doctor's office, hospital and the church. Driving is still a challenge - getting my leg in and sitting for more than 20 minutes. Getting out of the van is much easier than getting in. I probably attempted driving a bit too soon, but I really wanted to serve my last two weekends. No one will ever know what a difficult, agonizingly painful sacrifice it was on my part. I just did what I knew I had to do and bore it. I
just about collapsed when I returned home Sat. evening and Sun. noon.
The days stretch so long before me and being in the house, even with the dogs, is growing old.
At least when I knew I had weekend worship services, I had sermons to work up and type. That helped to fill my week. Now, there is only the emptiness of time with
little to do. At least until I start therapy. Then I will be busy and tired and hurting!!!!
My laundry calls and I must tend to that and keep tending to myself, for now.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

LH seems to think that I am at about 30-35 degrees. Hope he's right!!! It just doesn't seem like it's that much, but perhaps, I am hoping for more and being prone makes it
harder to judge.
I have one more weekend of preaching in this current position. I am praying that the drive won't be as much of a torture as last weekend. On Monday, LH and I will book up and load up the van with my books, office items, manger and bale of straw and my robe and stoles.
It will be difficult to celebrate communion one last time with the good folks I have come to care about deeply and this community of faith that have struggled so hard to stabilize after some poor behavior from their last pastor. He did not help matters by running through their money, not wanting to look bad, and not being honest about their financial position - to the point of taking over the budget and the church's fault for not maintaining a working financial committee and letting the pastor get away with far too much. What pastor can max out the church credit card every month on Starbucks and dinners that were not always with the staff or people he claimed, or used his expenses for which he was reimbursed and claiming for taxes? It infuriates me. He also hid unpaid church bills in his desk which the church has just now discovered and it is several thousand dollars that they simply don't have.
Yes, my coming in as interim felt like walking into the lion's den this time. And although, it seemed that in the ensuing months the church was operating just barely in the black - the stash of unpaid bills was both a surprise and a major let-down.
Now they will have a retired pastor being supply pastor.
The church leadership has really stepped up and taken responsibility which they should have done a few years ago.
But now, I must let go and move on and they must continue to discern if they are able to go on or close their doors. I have done what I could in an extremely part-time
position. They will have a special place in my heart.
I pray that God will provide me another opportunity to serve that may be not as challenging as this one - where I felt that there was little I could offer or do. I know that at the moment, I am not mobile enough to serve, but we sure could use the income.
I will trust that God will provide in God's time when God knows I am well and able.
In the meanwhile, I keep exercising and doing what I can.
Yesterday, I picked three ripe tomatoes off the vine and even managed to pull a few weeds!!!
It is good to be able to do a few things. And I will be content with what I can do today that I could not do last week.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Working hard on my exercise and am perhaps at about 20 degrees after a few knee slides. Have a week and a half to be at 40 degrees.
Trying to make peace with my leg brace since it will be my uninvited companion for
the next several weeks. I have to keep adjusting it throughout the day as gravity
keeps pulling it down. It seems to weigh 10 pounds and makes for awkward movement.
However, it gives my knee and leg support which s good.
It has been so dry in these parts that our river clump birch has lost 1/3 of its leaves and our little gingko looks like a Charlie Brown gingko tree - small leaves, not much foliage. Last summer it was so very full which gorgeous fan-shaped leaves.
We did get an inch of rain yesterday and were supposed to get more rain today, but that has not yet happened. We are about 6 inches of rain behind where we should be.
At least the temps have cooled down into the 80's, which is always welcome.
Being home bound with a computer, TV and credit card can be dangerous thing. I ordered some workout clothes for therapy and a pair of slip-on Ryka canvas shoes for working out as well. The leather ones I have would be way too hot in the summer. My canvas Keds are so old and stained that I use them only for when I clean house. The sweater I ordered from JJill was on sale and I just couldn't resist. A gift to myself for all the pain I've endured. A treat to look forward to wearing when I am more mobile and the temps are cooler. Can't wait for all to come to my door in the mail.
I'm thinking I should hide my credit card!!!!
The progress is so abysmally slow. I have to fight discouragement and keep looking ahead to what I'll be able to do eventually. Hard to be patient with myself and the healking process. I know what it will take and how long it takes. But still, I want to be much further along than I am. One day, one week at a time. And I will keep
exercising even when it seems that I'm not making any headway.

The summer is whizzing by and soon it will be August! That means that there are five months left in this year 2012. What do you look forward to in the next five months; or what is scheduled? What is meaningful for you in each of these months? Or memories you have of these months? You decide what to write about for each month!

1. August
Starting physical therapy, three times a week, relearning to ride a bike, having
my knee bent - ouch, and working hard on getting the knee healed and moving.
2. September
This month will be more of the same. Hoping that I can actually sit at the
dinner table more comfortably by then and making good progress.
3. October
Hoping I will have finished my therapy and rehab. Praying I would have a new
position. Would be nice to travel to the Lake House and see my sister and BIL
this year.
4. November
Hosting Thanksgiving Day turkey dinner and having my SILs over for the day.
5. December
Going on a Carribean Cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. So
my knee has to be in good order by then!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The surgeon seemed pleased with the healing of the incision. I asked about removing staples and he used none. My knee has been superglued!!!
Today, I had my first shower in 11 days. Nothing compares to the deliciousness of that wonderfully warm shower. Finally, I feel cleaner than ever.
Have begun a new exercise - knee slides. I bend the knee and let gravity pull it back down. I'm supposed to be up to 40 degrees by August 1st. I think I'm at 10!! Nevertheless, I press on, everyday doing 3 to 5 sets of 15, as much as I can stand.
The knee is so tight when I bend it, it feels like it is bound. I have also been doing some slight tip toe to heel rocking while holding onto the porch railing, and pressing my knee down while lying down, doing about 20. I'm also to begin tightening the quad muscle, which I can do a little even as it quivers.
It's a gentle start to rehabing the muscle and knee.
Sitting is the most uncomfortable position of all. I can stand and lie down, but the sitting is the worst.
I did manage to dig out my garlic which was smaller this year and already ripe. I also pulled some weeds while I was at it. LH was with me the whole time in case the
uneven ground around the herb garden would be a problem. I was glad for his presence and help.
I am using the walker less and the cane more which makes getting around a bit easier.
Of course, I am hauling 10 pounds extra on my left leg. (The hinged brace is not 10 lbs, but it sure feels like it on your leg!)
So, I am slowly coming along. Slowly. I have to relearn slow and patient. I am much better now than I was last week. I have to look back a week to keep me from being discouraged at how long this will take and when I cannot yet master the exercises I've been given. Practice, practice, practice. Patience. Patience. Patience.
Aye, it's gonna be a long, long summer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

It's been a week since my most painful surgery. I am ashamed to admit that I was writhing and yelling in pain in the recovery room. Until they pumped me up with pain medication. It was agonizing. Once in the hospital room, it didn't help that the first three times they helped me out of bed to use the rest room, the nurses and aids took me out on the wrong side of the bed. More agony. The night nurses shifted things around and got me out on the proper side and that helped, alot. There were two of us in the room - an elderly woman who had hip replacement. She did not have near the pain I had. I felt bad that she had to listen me. The nursing staff was pretty responsive, caring and helpful. They kept up with my pain medication. Although, I must say, that sharing a room on the orthopaedic floor with wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and chairs for visitors made for very crowded conditions and not much room to move around and get
out of bed.
I am doing better, slowly. I am down to three pain pills a day. Learning how to position myself to sit and stand up, using a walker, and having the knee brace fall down to my ankle since the swelling has gone down. I make my breakfast, lunch and part of dinner, feed the dogs, but the water is too hard with the walker, and do the dishes.
Everything takes such effort and much longer to do. It is hard to adjust to this different pace and I have to allow time for a trip to the bathroom. I will be so happy to take a real shower. I am living on the pulled-out sleeper sofa, easier to get in and out of as I lift leg onto it and off of it. It is not uncomfortable. LH has to bring down fresh undies and clothes and items needed from upstairs. I hope that after my doctor's appt on Friday, I will get the go ahead to shower. Then I can start doing the stairs.
I haven't started reading my novel yet, although I've journaled and done word searches and read the newspaper.
I pray that I will be able to preach the last two Sundays in July and then I am back to searching for a new position and starting rehab.
I am thankful the surgery went well. The doc had to drill three holes in my kneecap and sew down the quad muscle. I pray that none of you will ever have to endure such an injury or surgery. The pain is unequaled to anything else.
LH has been a real help and comfort. Sometimes at the end of the day when I am so weary, he will lift my leg onto the bed, rather than my looping an old sheet around my foot and hoisting up myself. He's even rubbed some lotion on the sole of my foot to help the dry skin. What a dear. I would do the same for him.
So, I am coming along, trying not to get cabin fever and praying I will be able to drive a week from Sat. Each day gets a bit better, but it will take 3 months of healing and rehab, lots of work, sweat and yes, more pain. I have done this before. I will get through it again.
And, I will have full use of my knee again! Thanks be to God!

Monday, July 02, 2012

this may be my last post for awhile. My surgery is scheduled for late tomorrow
morning. Then my left leg will be encased in a "two ton" hinged but locked leg brace for the next 3 months. It will be like lifting the Titanic with every step and the first two weeks will be riddled with a pain none can imagine and the fog of pain medication.
I dread this. But I also want it to be over with. I have to relearn patience. Everything takes so much longer to do and I have to move slower and more carefully and deliberately. I will have to relearn how to ride a bike. But that will come much later.
So, while my voice may be quiet for a time (until I get totally bored and rejoin the land of the living), I will be thinking of all of you and the busy and meaningful work of you ministry.
I am feeling pretty useless at the moment, especially, since a parishioner lost her husband in a tragic auto accident and I was unable to go and be with her. We have spoken on the phone, prayed, and I know the church family will be doing all they can for her and to provide a pastor for the memorial service.
What humbled me most, was in the thick of her grief, she thanked me for coming to the church, for being their pastor in this time of transition, and for my calls and prayers. I continue to pray for her and feel so very bad that I can't be with her and the family. I am amazed that in the midst of the rawness of her grief and shock, she would even make a point of thanking me. It astounds me and brings me to my knees. (at least figuratively since I cannot kneel anymore physically, but certainly my spirit does.)
I pray that the surgery goes well, without complications or infection and I will be blogging again during my healing process.
Peace be with you all.