Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Catching up on December
(Can you find the Pookie Moose in the above photo?)
November ended as the wettest one ever in Orgeon's recorded weather history. Ernie just wasn't impressed at all.
Dec. 1 brought a new visitor to our yard: a gorgeous, huge red-tailed hawk, who took to sitting on the power lines and perusing our back-yard feeders as if they were an all-you-can-eat hawk smorgasbord. Now, I’m all about nature and food chain and all that…. I just don’t want to see carnage in my own back yard. He’s a beauty, though.
Early December kicked off with fall term Dead Week and Finals Week. Here I am (right) in a classic overworked grad student pose. The rest of the desk looks pretty much like the corner. Final exams went fine, thank Goddess. The gpa is intact. No pressure.
Dec. 7: Having turned in my last piece of finals work, I drove to Eagle Crest for the day. Took cookies and some other goodies to Mom and Joe. The drive over was a little scary, thanks to some ice and snow atop Mt. Hood. But I arrived at the Redmond Health Care Center to find out that Mom had just walked 30 feet by herself, using a walker-cane thingie. Wow! I then got to watch her PT, and was there to watch her move her fingers for the first time (!), curling them into a fist. Pretty amazing. Before leaving, I strung colored holiday lights around her room—a bit of holiday cheer.
Dec. 8: Visit with my orthopedist, Dr. Colorito. The MRI showed suspected bilateral tears--i.e., of both medial and lateral meniscus cartilages in the right knee. I was put on the surgery schedule for Dec. 15. (Dr. Colorito is a sports medicine specialist—did I mention that he also played for the Denver Broncos? It makes sense when you know that, because he is a huge man—probably 6’5” or 6’6” and massively built.)
Dec. 9: Valbo and I (right) had our annual Hoska-thon. Scroll down to the Dec. 17 entry for details.
Dec. 10: Party at Scott K’s in Vancouver. In attendance—the first and second year GAs and their families. Hildy, too. It was a lot of fun—a great post-finals kick-off to the holiday season.
Dec. 12: I went in to Emanuel Hospital to have preop bloodwork and an EKG, the latter mandated by the fact that I’m now in the over-50 group. All seemed well, until the EKG tech looked at me and said, “You’re a nurse, right?” I nodded. “Then you might want to know about this.” She showed me the instant computer reading of the EKG trace. “ABNORMAL EKG. CANNOT RULE OUT ANTERIOR WALL MI.”
For those who don’t know, an ‘MI’ (myocardial infarction) is another word for heart attack. Every so often, an EKG picks up a silent MI—an MI that occurred without symptoms.
I freaked, of course. Could I have had a silent MI? Could that, rather than the stresses inspired by school and Mom and never enough sleep, explain why I was always so tired? I drove home, my life passing before my eyes in steps, thinking, “This is what I’ll do if….”
Dec. 13: Saw Dr. Colorito again for a pre-op visit. I told him about the EKG and he chuckled. (Chuckled!) “Not to worry,” he said. Apparently the computer reading is often (make that 'usually') wrong. Twenty-four hours of worry for nothing. My heart was completely normal. While it was a HUGE relief, I can’t tell you how angry I was at the tech who dared give me that information. Shame on her.
Dec. 14: My first-born, Katie Marie Pesznecker, was born 30 years ago today. I can’t even believe that! We talked on the phone (I’d already sent my gifts to her in Alaska). I don’t have a birthday photo of her, but below is a 4-generation picture taken on her first birthday: Dec. 14, 1977. Katie was 1, I was 23, GG was 77, and Mom was 47. Isn’t Katie adorable? (*waves to Katie*)
Dec. 15: Knee surgery. Scroll down to Dec. 15 and 16 entries for a couple of photos.
Dec. 21: The Winter Solstice—“Yule,” in Pagan-dom—fell at 4:22 pm Pacific time. I watched the sun set and celebrated quietly with an in-house ritual of candles and light.
Dec. 22: Did the holiday grocery shopping. When I arrived back home, I found the galley proofs of my Gargoyles book waiting on the doorstep! The proofed galleys are due back to the publisher by Jan. 8. Publication is set for February. Go here to pre-order!
Dec. 24: Scott, Erin, and Rebecca arrived in the wee hours of the morning. While everyone else slept in, I got up in the early darkness to greet the day and to snag some good photos of the tree, the lights, and the little village.
Dec. 24 was our family Christmas/Yule. We had a late breakfast (featuring a massive loaf of hoska), opened gifts, and feasted on prime rib for dinner.
After dinner, the kids went out with friends, and Bill and I went to bed. I was exhausted and after two days of being “holiday Mom,” the knee was throbbing. But it was a good kind of pain.
Dec. 25: Bill left in the morning to take in holidays with his family members. The kids and I made cookies and hung out until around 3 pm, when they headed back to Seattle. I was sad to see them go, but unfortunately they had to work the next day. So much for a long, relaxed vacation.
Rock star photo:
Dec. 26: Bill and I drove to Eagle Crest (Redmond) to see Mom and Joe. Joe fetched Mom from “The Home,” and we had a lovely day opening gifts and enjoying yet another prime rib. For those who don’t know, this kind of major beef eating is a once-a-year occurrence, and having prime rib twice in two days was quite extraordinary! I cooked the roast really rare. Bill kept threatening to get a gun and put the roast out of its misery. Mom loved it, and scarfed a whole plateful of blood-rare meat. Bwahahaha….
Joe had their house fixed up really cute. And Mom really got into the Groucho glasses (thanks, Rebecca!).
Dec. 27: Today I went to my third PT appointment, plus I visited the doctor for my post-knee follow-up. The PT is going very well and the ortho was so happy with my progress, he said I didn’t need to see him again. Yowza!
He also gave me copies of the photos from my arthroscopy. In the upper left panel, the shreddy-looking stuff is debris and “bone tatters” from the underside of my kneecap, and the metal thing in the right of the photo is a little bone-shaver that they used to trim away all the debris. In the upper right photo is a really cool (I think it is, but I’m a nurse, so sue me…) picture of my torn lateral meniscus cartilage. While it’s icky to know that the cartilage was torn, it’s good to know that there was something wrong and that the surgery was worthwhile. Dr. Colorito said I wouldn’t have been able to manage without the operation. There would have been progressive pain and immobility. So, I guess it was worth it.
Still to come.... Dec. 28-31. More PT, housework, and hoped-for progress on my second book, Writing Down the Moon. Also a quiet New year's celebration here with Bill. On Jan. 1, Katie and John arrive! John will be here for almost a week, Katie for two weeks. Can't wait!