I Dream of Showering Standing Up and Driving Again

It’s the first week of March and I’ve only driven a car 3 times this year. This weekend I went into a store for the first time in 6 weeks and it wasn’t easy. When I started physical therapy a few weeks ago, they asked me what my goals were…what did I want to be able to accomplish. My response was brief – normal life.

When I had my appointment with the surgeon to review my MRI results and discuss options the second week of January, there were some open questions about how extensive the surgery would be. He said to plan for 2 weeks with no weight on my right leg, 4 weeks on crutches and 6 weeks until I would be able to drive. That was hard to hear, but I was in constant pain at the time and knew that I needed to have surgery so I planned for that schedule. I stocked up the house as much as possible the weekend prior to my surgery and every night I had to convince myself that the surgery was necessary and I would get through the next 6 weeks. I really didn’t want to do it.

We had to be at the hospital at 5:30 am that day and a little while later I was in pre-op talking to my anesthesiologist. I signed all of the paperwork and then he told me that if the surgery was as extensive as it might be that I should sign off on a nerve block at that point so I would be able to request it after my surgery (because you can’t authorize anything after general anesthesia). When I woke up from surgery, the post-op nurse was watching me closely and asked if I was in pain. My face was clearly giving it away and once I confirmed my pain level, she quickly paged anesthesiology, gave me a pain pill to swallow and gave me additional medication in my IV. The nerve block provided some relief and I was able breathe normally again. They kept me in post-op for a while longer and then my nurse personally wheeled me upstairs to make sure I was still ok. That’s when Scott told me that they had drilled a channel in my bone to reattach my meniscus and that explained the intense pain. The nurses upstairs gave instructions for my post-op wrap, dealt with my post-op nausea, and helped me get dressed. Then Scott brought me home. And just a few hours after surgery I had to get myself upstairs at home on crutches…I didn’t go back downstairs for 3 days.

The rest of that week was awful. I got lots of texts and emails from friends asking how I was and I didn’t reply to most of them because I was miserable and didn’t want to reply – everything sucks – to people so I said nothing. Thank you to those of you who sent good wishes, I did appreciate them.

One week after surgery I had a post-op appointment, and I got the realistic version of my recovery timeline. 4 weeks no weight on my right leg and then we would determine the timeline for crutches and the brace and driving. 4 weeks is a really long time to rely on one leg and crutches and with my right leg locked straight in a brace.

Fortunately I am able to do my job remotely and my boss has been very supportive of my recovery and the need to work from home. I have heard that others in the office are questioning my need to work from home, I guess they think I am taking advantage the situation. If they had ever experienced something similar they would understand, but I wouldn’t wish this challenging time on anyone.

Scott and the kids have been more helpful than usual and it has been really hard for me to ask for help. Realizing that I was going to get hurt if I tried to manage normal things myself was extremely difficult. The first day I was home alone I made a cup of tea and then realized I couldn’t carry it to a chair so I had to lean on the counter while I drank it – not quite the relaxing cup of tea I had planned. Two weeks after surgery I decided that I wanted to cook a real dinner. I selected one of my favorite one pot meals that is usually prepped in 20 minutes. It took me almost an hour and I nearly fell 3 times.

There have been lots of logistics to work out – transporting me to Dr appointments and physical therapy, picking up kids, and making sure that we have food in the house. My parents have been invaluable. My dad retired at the end of 2017 and has spent a lot of 2018 so far running errands and helping with the kids. My mom has helped with too many things to list.

Physical therapy has been terrible and good at the same time. I am always happy to see the progress each session and disappointed with each new challenge. And then there was the night that I fell flat on my back in the middle on the night on the marble bathroom floor. I was on the floor for a few minutes before I started the process of getting up; I was the only adult in the house that night. Then I had to deal with putting my weight on a leg that was sore from a fall.

I am almost 6 weeks post-surgery now. At 4 weeks I was allowed to start using one crutch at home and those first few days were scary and great and every step felt so odd. After 4 weeks without a free hand, having a hand available is life changing – any mother knows how much you can accomplish one-handed. Now my brace is unlocked so I can bend it to a set point. I am slowly learning to put more weight on that leg and I walk slowly (if you know me, you understand that walking slowly is not my style).

Eventually I will get to pack away the shower chair and I will be able to get dressed without sitting down. There are many more weeks of physical therapy in my future and I won’t be able to attempt even a simple jog until mid-summer. In a few weeks I might even be able to drive myself to PT so I don’t need to wait outside for my ride to pick me up – at least I was able to enjoy some sunshine while I waited on this day.



Knee Surgery

A few weeks before Christmas my right knee started to hurt. I ignored it and when the pain increased I started to baby it. I thought I had strained something and if I rested it, my knee would start to feel better. Three weeks ago I was walking to the bus stop after work and as I turned the corner I saw that my bus was at the stop. So I took a quick step to run to the bus and something in my knee popped. I struggled to make it the final steps to my bus and the drive home from the parking lot was awful. I went to the ER that night and saw an orthopedic specialist the next day. I spent the next week wearing this ridiculous brace and staying off my feet as much as possible.

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I had an MRI a week later and had an appointment with a knee surgeon the next day. I have a torn meniscus in my right knee with root detachment. The next week was filled with pre-op appointments and tests, and tomorrow morning I will have surgery to repair my knee. And then I will begin the recovery process with my constant companion my brace, and crutches, and lots of rehab.


If only my Apple Watch had a knee injury setting so it would stop making me feel bad for missing my activity targets. Soon Apple Watch we will start that long move streak again. By that time it will be spring and maybe these goofballs will go on walks with me.


My Summer Working at the Log Jammer

I spent two summers during college working at Kennywood Park – the first was spent in Kiddie Land and the second at the Log Jammer. It was the summer of 1993. The Log Jammer was classified as a major ride which means that the staff stays at that ride all day instead of rotating between a group of rides. So the crew that worked at the Log Jammer spent a lot of time together – 12 hours a day at the park and we also partied together after hours. Juliana once told me that working at the Log Jammer was the coolest job ever.

Today is the final day of operation of the Log Jammer so here are some of my memories of that summer (or at least as best as I remember that summer from 24 years ago).

1 – There were several different work areas at this ride. At the ride entrance for checking height and collecting tickets (yes, I worked there so long ago you could still pay general admission and buy tickets for rides) and in the station there were two sides and each had staff at the loading brake and the exit brake. My favorite assignments were out on the ride itself: at the top of the spillway and at the top of the big hill. Top of the spillway was the easiest job – sit in a chair and make sure no one was getting into trouble and if the ride broke down, it was a key evacuation point. The first place I always volunteered for was the tower. The person in the tower controlled the ride – dispatching each log from the station. It is probably one of the quietest places in the park and I spent a lot of hours in that tower pushing buttons and watching riders splash down the hill. On slow nights the two people working out on the ride could talk to each other via the  phone that connected the two spaces, otherwise it was a solitary place.

2 – There were not many firework nights back in the early 90’s but the Log Jammer was the best place to work on those nights. The ride closed early but the staff had to stay to prepare the ride for fireworks. They were shot off over the Jog Jammer pavilion area so that entire section of the park was closed for fireworks. We had to hose down the wooden railings and roof of the ride and remove some of the logs from the flume. Since we were the only people allowed in the closed off space we had prime viewing of the fireworks. We would choose a picnic table and lie on it and watch the fireworks straight over head; the paper for the fireworks would land around us.

3 – One day in the middle of the summer, the ride was closed for clean-up. The entire crew worked and we removed each log from the ride and washed it – they were some disgusting ride vehicles – and removed a lot of lost change. We were able to go to lunch as a group that day. We walked out of the back entrance and crossed the road and ate at Ponderosa (another thing that isn’t there anymore).

4 – We swam in the log flume on at least once of those occasions that the ride was closed. I’m quite sure this was unauthorized activity and that water was not cleanest.

The landscape of Kennywood will be different next summer and it will be odd to walk past the Racer and see something other than the Log Jammer.



The Pose

It’s one of those things that I just hadn’t noticed until I did and now I see it everywhere. On the way to the beach this summer I posted a picture of the three kids in front of a BBQ restaurant that we discovered on our trip last year. And then I posted a picture from the same spot from the previous year and someone mentioned that Juliana was posed the same – with her left arm across her body holding her right arm. She poses like that all of the time and I had never noticed – sometimes her arm is just above her wrist and other times it is at her elbow, but it’s always the same arm. Here are the year/year pictures and some other examples.

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So it’s a regular thing even on the first day of school. Of course once we discovered it, this picture had to happen. And there is no need to mention how grown-up she is…

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The First Concert That Was Just For Her

I love concerts and I have taken Juliana along to several over the past few years, but this was the first concert we went to that was purely for her – 19-yr old singers are a little young for me. The Shawn Mendes tickets were a complete surprise – I purchased them last fall and wrapped them for Christmas.

Juliana is difficult to surprise for Christmas and most of the things that she asked for were small – earrings, books, art supplies, headphones, and a wax warmer. I wrapped the concert tickets with the wax for the wax warmer and tucked that box behind everything else. It was the last present that she opened and she expected it to be the wax. She slowly looked at the wax and then noticed the envelope – her reaction is priceless.

The concert was last week and I had not mentally prepared myself for the volume of tweens and teens as well as the continual high pitched screaming. The screaming was so loud and you will be shocked to know that Juliana had no voice the next morning. This was the first concert we’ve attended that there was a crowd of parents waiting outside the arena after the show to pick-up their children.

It may not have been my favorite concert, but I’m still glad I got to watch her enjoy the show!

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Continually Shifting and Always There


I wrote this a few weeks ago. I was out for a jog on a Sunday morning and all of these thoughts filled my head and I couldn’t stop crying. Generally when I write something emotional I sit on it for a bit before I hit publish to make sure it wasn’t a momentary . . . → Read More: Continually Shifting and Always There

Happy Father’s Day


This is the 7th year of pictures with the DAD letters. All of the previous pictures were taken in the front yard of our house – the first year’s pictures were taken right after we moved in to this house. This year we changed things up and took the letters on the road with . . . → Read More: Happy Father’s Day

The Big Scary Monster

The house was quiet and everyone was in bed for the night. I went back downstairs to fill my water bottle and Juliana suddenly appeared in the kitchen doorway (no idea how the kids manage to be so quiet late at night).

She was huddled in a blanket and it was wrapped all the . . . → Read More: The Big Scary Monster

Why We Marched

I didn’t intend to write about the Women’s March – the March wasn’t about me. But then someone questioned my integrity and parenting so maybe I do need to talk about why we participated because apparently not everyone takes the opportunity to educate themselves before making judgements.

I posted a picture of Juliana at . . . → Read More: Why We Marched

Christmas Goodies 2016 Version

After several years of making some of the same treats for Christmas (some of the favorites are posted here), I decided to make some new random treats along with some tried and true recipes.

I made Snickerdoodles from the classic Betty Crocker Cooky Book – these are a well loved family favorite with green . . . → Read More: Christmas Goodies 2016 Version