Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Beach Day

(walking towards the Med in Tel Aviv)

My dear friend R came to pick me. "I'll take you anywhere you want to go, other than a museum!"  We learned that lesson the hard way!

But really the only thing I wanted to do was see the sea. 

My office is just one block from the beach. I try to make a point of seeing the sea at least once a day, even if it's only a glimpse. The sea looks different every day. It has a different character depending upon the weather, the season, the light. But it's always uplifting. I don't know why, but I love looking out at the endless blue on blue horizon.  Forgive my romanticism. I could look at it forever.  *Sigh*

So being cooped up in RG for 3 months without seeing even a sliver of blue has been making me blue. I've been to the city several times already but I haven't been close enough to see the beach. R took me for lunch at a favorite seaside restaurant, right on the water's edge.  How delightful.  Watching the waves crash on the beach, the white foam dancing on the turquoise water, the sparkling glint of the sunlight playing on sea, a cool breeze drifting across the afternoon sky.

What I love about not working this last month is that time feels as though it has expanded. My days are full and yet I never feel rushed. I never have to look at my watch while I am at the gym or sitting in a cafe. That dark cloud hanging over my head, that niggly feeling that I've got somewhere else to get to, has evaporated. My days are no longer my own personal version of Beat-The-Clock.  And in the evenings, I am infused with a sense of satisfaction, of having accompished something, of having throughly enjoyed myself. I find I have the time, no, the presence, to appreciate what I've done. It's no wonder I don't want to go back to the daily, hectic grind of work.

With R, we strolled through "HaTachana" before lunch and then went to the souk afterwards. Beautiful weather, good food, interesting conversation and the sea. It was a luxuriously long afternoon.  The most perfect afternoon.

(View of Old Jaffa from Tel Aviv)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Finished projects

As my medical leave draws to a close, and my "hip" project is nearly complete, I know you are all curious to see my other "project". The knitting project I keep writing about.  Well I finished knitting quite a while ago.  I even blocked it and stitched it up. But I've been reluctant to show it to you.  Not because I'm not proud of my handiwork.  It looks good as you can see from the detail here.

To refresh your memory, I was making this item for my precious niece. My precious, 4 year old niece.  Sadly... it fits my favorite 12 year old!

I have no idea how that happened.  Oh well - she'll grow into it I guess. Thanks sweet S for giving me something to while away the hours.  Hope you like it!

p.s. here is my current project:  baby blanket.  Which will hopefully end up the right size!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just another day in paradise

(The Givatayim Spa aka Paradise)

The last 2 weeks have been really wonderful.  I've been feeling great.  Although I haven't had another blood test, my intuition tells me that my hemoglobin levels & red blood count are back to normal.  And my hip is also feeling good.  For the most part, the pain in my groin has disappeared.  Sometimes I almost forget; then a quick movement, running up the stairs or standing up from squatting down to retrieve something from a low cabinet reminds me that my muscles are still not quite up to full strength yet.  Having said that though, the PT Angel told me that I can probably stop coming to see her weekly.  This week, she taught me how to sit on the floor and get myself back up.  Quite an accomplishment at not even 3 months post-op. 

Also I've been doing a great deal of walking.  Walking to PT, walking to the gym at the mall, walking in the park.  I've spent the past week walking back and forth across Givatayim.  It's amazing really and I find myself awestruck during my "treks" that I am actually able to walk so far without any pain.  I can't remember when I could do that.  It must be years.  My only regret is that all the people I love who lived in Givatayim are no longer there.  (I think of you guys when I'm walking.)

The other regret, well no, it's not really a regret.  Before I decided to have the surgery, so many people said to me "I don't know why I waited so long to do it."  This is very true.  For a long time, it was not clear what my problem was, only that I had intense pain which prohibited me from walking.  When I was finally diagnosed nearly 2 years ago, all the doctors said I should wait because I was so young.  So I waited 18 months. But who knows what the future holds?  I decided it was silly to wait, when I wanted to be back where I should be now. (By the way, thanks to all of you reading who encouraged me to take the leap! You know who you are...).  Now I am. 

The other wonderful thing I've done this week is to hit the jacuzzi at the gym after my workout.  I know, I know. Prof. Palmtree warned against going to the pool for fear of slipping but I decided that I could risk it. (Only one more week to go anyway.)  I've always loved the jacuzzi in Givatayim.  It's very large with powerful jets.  Best of all, in the time that I've been away, it's been renovated.  Now the room is done up in bamboo, wood and stone. So tranquil.  You could almost pretend you are in Bali or some other tropical island.  Plus every time I've been there, I've had the place all to myself.

It's like my own private paradise.  Life's good.

(Entrance to the jacuzzi)


Monday, May 21, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words

Yes!   It's amazing. I have not done this in over a year.

So I can actually sit in this position (albeit still on the bed and not the floor yet).  It was the PT Angel's idea to try it on the bed.  It took a couple of days of practice but now I can sit with my legs crossed like that indefinitely.  Yoga/Pilates - here I come.....

Friday, May 18, 2012

I don't want to go back to work

Before I had my surgery, when I envisioned what the coming months would entail, I did, of course, imagine taking daily walks and doing my PT exercises but I also was flooded with childhood memories of being sick and watching The Price is Right, $10,000 Pyramid and I Love Lucy re-runs.  That was the best part of staying home sick:  daytime TV.

So it was surprising to me, as I've written before, that other than the odd afternoon movie or episode of Oprah, I've not really watched any daytime TV at all. It just isn't all that interesting. I have spent a lot of time reading (other people's) and writing (my own)  blogs and generally trolling around on the Internet.  In the beginning, when I didn't have much energy, I spent a lot of time knitting but less so as I've felt better. I have an art project/baby gift that I'm working on.  I tend to my little garden most mornings. I try to be diligent about exercising and I walk quite a lot every day.  And of course, I spend a lot of time drinking coffee.

The other day, I was sitting in the local coffee shop and I noticed that I was the only person under 65 sitting there.  To be fair, it was late morning and I am sure that the lunch rush would bring a younger patronage.  But at that particular moment, I wondered if it wasn't time for me to be getting back to work.  And by time, I didn't mean 11am, rather that I should return to a more productive lifestyle. 

Many people have asked if I'm not bored and looking forward to getting back to work already.  However the answer to that is: not yet.  Although physically I think I'm capable of it.  I simply don't want to. ( I have been working from home one day a week this month.  I sit on a pillow on a dining room chair.  It isn't that comfortable and I try to get up once an hour to walk around and stretch.) I have always liked working, I never saw myself as someone who would want to stay home but as my Dad always says "Only fools get bored" and there is always something to occupy my attention.  So far, having lunch at a sidewalk cafe in the middle of the day, watching the parade of humanity streaming past, hasn't grown tired. Nor has reading and writing what I want to, which trumps reading and answering irritating work-related emails. 

Perhaps it's due to the fact that, over the last couple of years, the company I work for has morphed into one of those faceless, bureaucratic, corporate behemoths.  The kind where complicated processes take precedence over the end result. The kind where everything is so fragmented that no one can see the whole picture any more.  The kind where selling the company to new owners is more important than selling the product to customers.  It's just not fun any more.  More than that, it's downright frustrating.  I don't envy my replacement, who calls me daily to remind me that she loves me but hates my job.  I don't blame her one bit. 

I've got 2 more weeks before I return to the office full time.  I intend to enjoy that time completely, mainly drinking coffee and playing the lottery.

(never grows old!)

Monday, May 14, 2012


I know I was supposed to wait another two weeks or so, but I just could not wait a moment longer.  When I returned home from PT yesterday I felt so achy. And sweaty.  I told the Bear that I was getting in the bath. Yes, the bathtub.

I then proceeded to take a long, glorious soak in a lavender bubble bath.  Ahhh. That felt nice.  Very relaxing and much longed for during these last few months especially when my poor muscles were so sore.

Of course, the Bear had to lift me out with a crane but it was well worth it!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lucky Me

Does my blog seem a bit whiny and self-deprecating to you?  Sometimes I think that I'm not being positive enough in my writing.  Because relatively, I don't have much to complain about.  How do I know? 

When my aches and pains and sometimes my self-confidence are acting up, I look in on various recovery forum for hip-replacement patients.  If you are interested, you can have a look yourself here.  Some of those "hipsters" have complications or are just plain slow.  Maybe they're all simply older than me. I don't know, but whenever I read these, I inevitably wind up feeling good about myself and my progress.  

This week marks my 10 week anniversary and while I may not be bounding down the 4 flights of stairs, I am doing it without the cane.  In fact, I have pretty much stopped using the cane entirely.  I'm driving too. OK - so our mattress is still elevated as is the toilet seat, but I sort of like them that way.  Otherwise, life is nearly back to normal.

My muscles are still not anywhere near as strong as they were before (I'm working on that) and I still have the odd day when I feel weak or have over-done the exercises and feel achy.  But in general, I try not to let it keep me down.  Since last week, I've felt more like my old self again.  I've been going out and meeting friends, going to the gym and working one day a week from home.

I feel badly for the people writing on those forums.  Or is just that the kvetchy people write on forums & all the normal recovery patients are lurking quietly keeping to themselves?  Maybe that is human nature and why I tend to complain here on my own blog.  We tend to vent about the bad things in our lives while blithely ignoring the good. 

So here are my reasons to be thankful today:
  • I went two cane-less rounds around the track in the park with the Bear (that's 3 kilometers) earlier this week and twice to the gym to ride the stationery bike. 
  • I managed to sit in the lotus position on my bed for a minute or two. (I couldn't hold it any longer than that but I haven't been able to do even that for over a year). 
  • The top third of my incision site is feeling softer and almost normal again (the bottom is still hard and discoloured) and sensation is beginning to return. 
  • I haven't taken any sleeping pills or pain killers, not even Advil, and I've slept well all week this week.
  • I went out to dinner with family friends on Wednesday and to the movies with my gal-pals on Thursday.  My energy levels have definitely improved.

I can't wait to go to the pool, sit on the floor, take a bath in two more weeks!

  so soon.......


Monday, May 7, 2012

White Nights

The biggest problem with having lazy days is that I wind up not not being very tired when bedtime rolls around, sometimes blogging late into the wee hours of the night.  Then my mind is so wound up that it's nearly impossible to sleep.  Monkey mind is what this is called in Yoga.  Irritating is what I call it.

The other night, after furiously writing and posting, I finally fell asleep at 5am to the unbelievably loud chirping of the morning songbirds and a detailed analysis of every major earthquake since 1906 on the Discovery Channel.

But it's not only the lazy days that are problematic.  Often I'll return from my daily walk, hot and sweaty, and fall asleep for an unintended afternoon Shlaffstunde. That's blogspeak for feeling like someone has knocked me on the head and re-gaining consciousness waking up 3 hours later, making it difficult to fall asleep by midnight.

Also it still is not terribly comfortable sleeping.  On my back, my heels and back start to ache.  While on the non-operative side, my right shoulder has been taking the brunt of my weight for a while now and is beginning to rebel. Finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be a long and contentious battle with my body, sometimes waking me in the middle of the night just to try to readjust.

Needless to say, these White Nights put me off the following day. It is a bit of a vicious cycle.  So I've decided that I need to be more more disciplined about my sleep routine and I am trying to stay away from the sleeping pills.  Instead, I'm trying some less conventional sleep aids:  lavender and hypnotherapy/white noise apps on my phone.  I'll let you know how those work...

Today I have nothing scheduled which is a good reason to blog now as opposed to the middle of the night tonight.  Also I'm hoping that the Bear will come home early-ish from work and go walking in the park with me.  Because I can tell already that I haven't expended enough energy today.  Doing the dishes, folding laundry and trolling around on Facebook aren't strenuous enough activities to ensure a good night's sleep. 

Having said all that, I am definitely feeling more energetic and less worn out lately as I move into Week 9 post-op and that feels good!  I've got activities scheduled for the next 3 days and I am still trying to attain that elusive balance of doing just the right amount.  Hopefully I'll know my limits and adhere to my strict sleeping schedule. 

And if I have sleep issues, there's always this bear to help relax and put me to sleep.

(Yes, this sorry thing is my childhood Teddy bear.
No, I no longer sleep with it, although I will admit to the occasional hug!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On Balance

Earlier last week I went back to the PT clinic. And by "went", I mean "walked".  In hindsight, this wasn't one of my brighter ideas, but it was a beautiful day, I was feeling good and I had such a frustrating experience parking the last time I was there. Plus the Bear needed the car to get to work.  I googled mapped it and saw that it was only 2 km from our house.  2 km?!  That's nothing for me these days; however, what I hadn't count on was getting to the clinic tired and then having to do the exercises. Worse, I hadn't even considered the walk home.

When I arrived, sweaty and slightly breathless (the clinic is up a very steep hill in Givatayim), the PT Angel very calmly said "Today we will work on balance".  Great, I thought, piece of cake, maybe it's not so bad that I walked all the way here after all. In principle, I do have a good sense of balance. As a girl, I spent an inordinate amount of time on the balance beam. 

She put me on one of those large medicine balls that have been sliced in half and affixed to a base and told me to stand with one foot in front of the other. And then switch feet.  Believe me, this is harder than it sounds.  Way, way harder.  Also I had assumed that maintaining one's balance came from the core muscles, specifically the abdomen, so I was really surprised to feel it in my groin and inner thigh muscles.  Exactly the ones that need strengthening.  Huh!  Who knew?

So it's clear that she's pretty clever, that PT Angel.  Afterwards she gave me several exercises  using a little stool, lifting my foot, tapping the stool and then putting my foot back on the floor.  Nothing strenuous or painful, so it was again surprising that after a couple of reps of this simple exercise, my inner thigh muscles started to shake with exertion. 

After 45 minutes of this, it was time to start my trek home.  I walked a kilometer in the other direction and hopped on the 61 bus for 2 stops.  I had to take care of a couple of errands, then walked on to my regular Kupat Holim clinic to arrange some more appointments, stopping off for coffee at my favorite local cafe.  You know, my usual routine.

By the time I'd got home 3 hours later, I'd walked a whopping (well for me anyway) 4.5 km.  A new record.  But I was wiped and had to lay down for the rest of the day.  Notice a pattern here? Those of you who follow me religiously know that I wrote about this recently here.  When I feel good, I think I can handle anything, then overdo it and pay the price the following day. 

I think my PT Angel is right, I need to work on my balance... 

Such a lovely garden that I pass on my way home from PT.
I always stopped to smell the flowers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Forgive me.  I am a bad blogger.  I have a post all ready to go since last week, it just needs some finishing touches. But then I got carried away by all the holidays and the long weekend.  So by yesterday, I should have been back in the saddle and posting away.  But instead I realized it was month end and that I needed to work. 

I went to PT in the morning, came home and sat down in the chair and did not get up for the next 14 hours.  Don't ask.  I am not exaggerating.  Little Man & L left in the late afternoon and when they returned at 1:00am, I was sitting in the same spot.  They thought it was hilarious, my butt & groin less so.

So when I woke up today, I thought I deserved a break.  Even though I had a break last Thursday-Saturday... You'd think with all this time on my hands, that I'd get a lot done, but you'd be wrong.  I can't even figure out how these days flew by.  It's embarrassing to admit but I literally have done nothing.  All. Day. Long.  I haven't blogged.  I haven't knitted. I haven't read the book-club book. I haven't even watched any tv (ok -so there was that one tiny episode of Oprah...).  Today I didn't even go walking.  What on earth have I been doing with my time?!

Well I spoke to Shvester a couple hundred times.  I read a lot of other people's blogs (hmmm, that is starting to seem like a life spent watching "Big Brother".)  I puttered around the apartment a lot. I thought about doing my PT exercises.  Thinking counts, right?  Oh and Little Man & L and I ordered a pizza this afternoon....

Consensus:  I am lazy.

Well maybe not exactly lazy but I seem to vacillate between doing a lot of things (like taking too long a walk, going to various doctors appts, physical therapy, meeting people at the local cafe, or working 14 hours) all at once and then doing absolutely nothing at all.

I know I keep saying this all along, but I really do think I need to take things slowly.  It's just that I don't really know how to.  You never know you've over-done it, until you have.  And then it's too late.  I wish I had an internal bell that dinged whenever I'd done just the right amount of walking or exercising or working or going out with friends.  Or maybe an app.  Yes, an app called "That's enough now dear".  Maybe then I wouldn't be so lazy the rest of the time?

I'll have to ponder that tomorrow, right after I drive the Bear to work, meet V for coffee, go to the dietitian and then the book club.  Oh my, it looks like you all might have to wait just a little longer for that post...


(p.s. I will leave you with an imagine of the sky which I photographed this evening whilst sitting in my recliner doing absolutely nothing!)