preoccupations . . .
When you’re limited to how much you can move around, life changes. It’s going on five weeks now since I fell and broke my ankle. Ten days ago from actual surgery. Five days since I stopped taking painkillers that were responsible for insomnia. Still not sleeping through the night. With the inactivity, I’ve discovered that my mood is better when I take short breaks to do light housework, cooking or playing the piano. The operative word in the last sentence is “short.” Right now at 4:10 in the afternoon, there’s a peach cobbler baking in the oven; poached chicken tenders in a dashi broth, ginger root and green scallion cooling on the stove; and sticky rice starting to bubble in the rice cooker. The cooled chicken will be dipped in a light oyster sauce. Along with it, I’ll quickly saute fresh spinach with some garlic and a splash of chicken broth. Some pickled cucumbers on the side.
This morning, I started re-reading one of my favorite books that I spied in the bookcase, “Philosophy Made Simple” by Richard Hellenga. It’s a story about a man whose three daughters are grown, one of them planning to be married, a widower who looks to make a move from the Midwest to Texas to buy and run an avocado farm. That’s right. He meets up with a Russian emigre who owns an elephant named Norma Jean who makes paintings holding a brush with her trunk. He sells the paintings for a hundred dollars apiece as tourist souvenirs. It’s a great little story but I already know what happens in the end. His wife died after having an affair in Italy and returned to him afterwards. In spite of it, he looks for meaning in life by listening to tapes his wife made after she left him. This kind of plot line is why I’ve decided I can’t write a novel myself. Maybe short stories or posts on a blog are all I can handle. My imagination doesn’t spin long enough if you know what I mean.
I’m also not embarrassed to report that I’ve been watching TV crime shows such as “Bones” and “Castle” while lying on the couch most of the day with my ankle elevated “higher than my heart.” I used to brush right past those shows, thinking they were rather diluted and sappy. Well, they are sometimes sappy but surprisingly, some of the plots are engaging and there’s a lot of humor found in both casts. There also seems to be some good chemistry among the actors and what can I say, it’s not the worst thing to do while recuperating. So you see, my life and routine has scaled down quite a bit. If I were sleeping and waking up rested in the morning, I’d be a lot happier. I’ve weaned myself off of Vicodin and Tylenol, each of which contained acetaminophen which can harm your liver. Just an aspirin a day is all I’d like to take for inflammation and pain.
One idea I came up with the other day was to use some brown and dark blue Marimekko remnant material that resembles piano keys to hand sew covers for the bolster cushions I use to prop up my knees when elevating my ankle. Why stop there, I thought to myself? Two more Marimekko remnant pieces won on eBay later (loden green, brown, cranberry stripes) I’m thinking about covering the large cushions and making a dropcloth for the bamboo telephone bookcase. Maybe our home will be wall-papered in Marimekko patterns by the time I’m on my feet again!
Although there’s plenty of visual stimulation in this great room that combines our kitchen and living area, I’m hoping that the Marimekko graphics will tie things together visually. At least, it’ll give me some hand sewing to do during the weeks between casts. The sutures are to be removed a week from now and a new cast put on for an additional three weeks. By the beginning of May, I’ll have a better idea of whether/when I’ll be able to put weight on my right ankle.
Meanwhile, G. continues to carry the household load by going to the store with my annotated shopping lists, helping me up and down from room to room, washing dishes after all our meals. We’re more than grateful and happy to get through this together.
And so it goes today.
I can’t help but smile, and of course, empathize. I developed my routines as well to get me through the ups and downs of recovery. I know I am much more aware of everything in my surroundings due to spending a lot of time looking at it. Do carry on!
Nice to hear from you, Suz! How is your recovery from hip surgery going? Sounds like you’re up and about to get some movement going which is the opposite for me, having to keep my ankle elevated in a cast for at least four more weeks! How are painkillers treating you? best wishes!
I am totally mobile now (wonderful new procedure) though still have to honor “hip precautions” for the next two months–meaning no gymnastic contortions. I actually had minimal to no pain and have needed only low doses and only on occasion. The less invasive procedure (no cutting of tendons or muscles) results in far less recovery time, and at least for me, far less pain!
Yes, knees and ankles are a different thing altogether, apparently due to being located on the lower extremities and the kind of work they have to do for us. Plus, there is the difference in trauma associated with breaking, as opposed to intentional replacement.
Meanwhile, good to see you are up and cooking. While I have managed to fix myself soup or oatmeal, last night I actually prepared dinner, and it was wonderful! (Real food! Not take out!)
Thanks for the update on your hip replacement! Glad you have had so little pain. As I have noted, the “cure” for pain (in narcotic painkillers) is worse than the pain! In any case, I’m off Vicodin and Tylenol now; just an aspirin a day with multi-vitamin and calcium supplement. Restless, insomniac nights for the past week have been frustrating. Hope that whatever causes it will wear off soon. Isn’t it great to be cooking again? Cleared off the kitchen counter and table of accumulated mish-mash. Looks so much better now. Thanks for being in touch and wonderful to hear you’re doing so well!