The first signs of Spring, broken bones

Wow, what a long winter…..and yes, it is not officially Spring but one step out into the world and the first thing you notice in addition to huge piles of melting parking lot snow, is every other person seems to be wearing a cast or a sling from their time in the non Olympic events of snow and ice walking!

These are just a few of the first signs that we are headed out of our caves, looking for any sign of crocus and daffodils, birds chirping, dented car fenders, clogged gutters, dirty cars, crater pot holes, anything that can tell us we are headed in the right direction, we survived, we have made it thru. It felt like an endurance race this year, it felt like it took the discipline of doing traction to keep the winter blues at bay. Every few days another storm, another arctic blast, another blow to the idea that next week will be short sleeve weather. Heck, at some point you found your self giddy only wearing three layers and wondering what your reflection would look like without ice stuck to your scarf. Dark, cold days, traction had prepared you for non fun events, preparing for tomorrow when today wasn’t a bowl full of cherries.

Who knew looking out at the icicles hanging from the roof would be entertaining when you sat in traction. Or watching the fir trees sway in the snow and wind would remind you of sitting in the same place watching the same trees sway on gloriously warm, blue sky days.

Come snow, sleet, rain or heat, traction always has a story to tell.

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The perfect gift for cervical spondylosis

Three years later with this little blog and four years later with sticking to traction altogether and my neck is still attached to my head and my hands and arms still move! Truly time to celebrate……what do you get for a fourth anniversary for traction…..it seems like there’s a good joke there that is currently escaping me!

It’s just a brief stopping point to remember where I’ve been and where I’m going with this thing around my neck and my ten pounds of water. Who knew such a simple, silly contraption could save me from not being able to use my hands….I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. I’d wake up every morning with my arms completely numb, so heavy and hurting like crazy, gratefully I rarely wake up now with some tingling in the hands and immediately know it’s a sign to put in some more time in traction. I was told my neck was that of an 80-year-old person, only thing was, I wasn’t 80! I’ve listened to music, read, prayed and complained here but the time has passed and I’m still hanging. Happy Anniversary, here’s a toast to traction……100 year old neck here I come!

Durante and Adele make it better

It’s not such a bad day sitting in traction when you get to start out listening to Jimmy Durante’s, Make Someone Happy and end up with Adele’s, Someone Like You, with a bit of everything else in between.
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I’ve mentioned before how I have a string of songs on my playlist that are timed just perfectly to coincide how long I have to sit here. Some days life is as easy as pressing a button, closing my eyes and listening, other days not so much. Don’t ever underestimate the power of music and what it can do for you. Here’s hoping you can just hit play today and make it all go a lot easier.

Summer skiing

As I was sitting in traction this morning pulling my neck with a ten pound bag of water I was watching a video on YouTube. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I’ve done a lot of things to distract myself while I’m sitting there passing the time. My neck hurts today, my fingers are numb and when I finished traction my back wanted to punish me. As far as life goes I had a good weekend, as far as my spine is concerned just seeing a snow less ski slope invokes a feeling of cruel and unusual treatment. Although I enjoyed time with family and watching my niece graduate surrounded by the Green Mountains of Vermont I also knew what was ahead for the week, recuperation from the travel, i.e., many hours lying flat on my back.

For me the ordinary things require a lot of me, I’m not feeling sorry for myself, it’s just the way it is. From walking across the room to pulling laundry out of the washer, any activity that requires standing, holding a pen or even the telephone these days for more than a few minutes leads to my arm feeling numb and painful. Things aren’t going in the right direction for me in terms of my cervical and spinal conditions, but I’m trying, I’m not giving up. I’ve written before about the importance of that, how in moments that seems like victory enough. I’m ready for things to get better for me physically but unless I experience a miracle they probably won’t. I’m losing ground and sometimes that feels frightening, sad and frustrating but after watching a video of others experiencing their own challenges, surviving to tell their stories, I feel better. We aren’t alone in this fight, that gives us courage, it gives us the freedom to tell the truth. I’ve said this before and it’s worth stating again, life stinks, more than stinks and pushing forward a second at a time is a freaking victory.

Let’s do this thing people.

Forcing Spring

I feel cool. I’ve watched many a gardening show and dreamt of having the skill and know how to take care of a little patch of beauty. I’ve tried here and there and have had moments of glory but Mother Nature and her elements have not always been my friend. All of my gardening mishaps have led me to appreciating the first signs of Spring in potted tulips and hyacinths growing in gardening centers. Rarely have these beauties made it to my table if they were growing in my yard. They’ve either been snacks for chipmunks or killed by late frost. I’ve just not had a lot of luck with growing bulbs. I know, every other yard displays them, looks easy to accomplish, but if I want to see blooming early spring bulb plants I need to buy them at the garden store or walk to the neighbor’s house.

But this year is a new year and I’m growing things indoors! Paperwhites adorn my desk and fill the room with a lovely fragrance that has me wondering where I am! I’m waiting any day now for the daffodils to pop. Who knew you could grow such beauty in the tiniest of spaces indoors? Here’s all I did: I placed the bulbs in a brown bag for a couple of days or maybe a week, at the first sign of root growth I set them in shallow wide container and surrounded them with a few pebbles or small decorative rocks. I then covered the rocks with water, I’ve consistently keep the water over the roots but have been careful not to ever completely cover the bulbs, add water as needed. Voila, then the most amazing third grade science project happens right in your tired winter home! Forcing bulbs indoors is easy and fun and if it works you look like a master gardener and if it doesn’t I’m not telling.

Spring is coming, hope grows right before my eyes. Old dreary traction is surrounded by a lovely scent and pushing toward a new day.

(Bonus, if you bought that bag of bulbs in the Fall and never got around to planting them here’s your answer, it will look like you planned it that way all along) Good Luck and a special thank you to Mary M. for her introduction of the idea into my life!

Appliances with attitude!

Did you ever think about your appliances, large and small, having personalities of their own? I think my washing machine is lazy, the dryer is maniacal, toaster is short-tempered, the refrigerator is loud and never cleans up after itself and please, don’t even ask about the garbage disposal! As far as I know they have not come alive, I’m not Dwight K. Shrute, I don’t believe in robots and zombies taking over the world.

I’m just sitting here in cervical traction and thinking about how each of these household appliances takes an explanation for operating instructions, beyond the manufacturers’ recommendations. The washer seems to have a favorite cycle and if you ask for more than that you risk a Zumba dance recital in the laundry room. The dryer works over time, you have a heck of a time shutting it off, the toaster is feisty, cinnamon toast is beyond its job description, it seems everything has issues.

If I tried a house swap like in the movie, The Holiday between Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet characters I’d have to leave a dozen special directions. (I was always taken out of the moment with that movie because I couldn’t imagine being organized enough to turn my place over to a stranger in 24 hours!) I’ve often thought about renting out my place or letting a friend stay here while I stay with family; come to think about it I’m not sure how much of a headache I’d be leaving them. Maybe I’ve created these problems by not being more pro active with these silly machines. Calling in repair folks or just replacing them at the tenth sign of trouble. Yet somehow I’ve slowly accepted their faults, maybe I like knowing that in order for something to work you have to really “know it” or as my Mother would say, “sweet talk it.” There are people in our lives we have to “sweet talk” every so often and sometimes I have to “sweet talk” my own body to get it to do what I need it to do. In the morning I have to give myself a pep talk, to get these bones moving. I get tired of my body hurting and on a cold morning like this I am very tired of “managing pain” but maybe as a result I give more allowances when it comes to dealing with everything else in life. I realize nothing is perfect and I’ve not seen anything in a long time that even comes close, we all have weaknesses, we all could do a better job, some one is always there to point out another’s faults. Maybe not operating smoothly builds creativity, patience and cooperation in ways we’d never have guessed.

Trying to find the bright side today of waking up with swollen, stiff fingers, this after traction, traction, traction, oh, but I really like my stove!