Thursday, March 19, 2015

Post Christmas - 2014 Christmas Post ...Written on Valentine's Day 2015 ...Posted After St Patrick's Day :)

While laced with my usual Christmas humor (says me,) etc., in rereading this I can appreciate all the more how the aftershocks of such a health event can take some time to settle.  And then there have been other challenges.  Anyway, since there is still snow on the ground, I will put this Christmas/winter post up.  There was a time when I couldn't wait to write a blog post.  As a matter of fact blogging truly got me through the urology challenges - emotionally speaking, as well as the loss of loved ones and other difficult times.  And of course it was fun too.  I don't know why I've stopped.  Actually ...I have really been wanting to write.  My next post will be about a snowman that I made in front of our house, that I have a feeling was the talk of the neighborhood.  :)  Also, I added some pics of W&M at the end of this post.  :)

And most important:  Despite my whining in parts of this post ..I do believe we got a huge miracle with Mr SeaSpray being as protected as he was.  The doctors and staff were astounded.  Since it is not my story to tell ...I don't know what ...if anything I can share about it.  I'll see.  I do know that we are very blessed for all kinds of reasons ...but things happen  ...and I am oh so human ...hence I felt overwhelmed at times.  But ...ALWAYS grateful.  That is a given with me.  :)
This one is prolific, but also cathartic for me and I am getting it out of my system.  I guess I am putting closure on what feels like the lost Christmas.  Even though it was fun in many ways and blessings abounded with what was most important ...this was my worst Christmas since I was 13.  And what I share at the end of this post is proportionate to how strongly I feel about it all.  We'll see if I stay on track with my most nontraditional plans for next Christmas.  :)

Part of  me is hearing the theme song, "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen as I contemplate writing a 2014 Christmas post.  Let it g-o-o-o ...let it g-o-o-o-o ...  Ha!  After all, it is Valentine's Day today.  But hey ...why not finally blog my heart out on this wonderful snowy day?

So previously stated in a past post, I was pleased that the outdoor Christmas lights were put up the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Although that was only because we were expecting snow the day before Thanksgiving.  Still ...I think I will do that again this year - Christmas 2015.  Oh and my knees felt so good because of the Cortisone shots and it was the first time in years that I wasn't feeling knee pain while decorating.  I was even thinking that I would offer to help my neighbor put her Christmas lights up because I know she has lamented about them not going up as soon as she would like.  I don't even know the last time I had the thought to help a neighbor outside with their physical work because with said knee pain I have all I can handle with our own stuff.  And it was such a good feeling.  I mean to be thinking of someone else and actually think I could go over and help them.  Usually the ruts in the yard get me with every step into them.  If you have knee pain you know exactly what I mean.  And I am not saying this to complain ...just stating the facts.

And then I ended up walking over to her house to borrow a rake and I remained standing the entire time we spoke and trust me ...when we begin talking it is almost always a long conversation.  :)  Then I even walked home uneventfully and continued decorating.  It was like I had a miracle healing of my knees.  I was sooooo GRATEFUL!  And in awe.  I am telling you that I just have not had that kind of pain relief in years.  Not with cortisone injections in 2009, not with Synvisk injections in 2010 and not with multiple Orthovisk injections since then.  And also not with pain medication.  I'm not saying I walked like I used to or that it didn't hurt at all, but that it was remarkably less pain then what I had been dealing with on a daily basis ...even if I took pain medication.  I didn't even need pain medication.  It was wonderful

Then I was slowed down with an upper respiratory infection, but I finally caved, went to the doctor and a Z-pak saved the day and I began to turn around.  No one wants to be down for the count during the busy Christmas season. I know better than to take antibiotics unnecessarily thanks to Dr. WhiteCoat, but this time I just knew I had better go to the doctor.  And thank God I did because not only was it Christmas time but I would not have wanted to be ill with all the unexpected stuff we had to deal with by mid month.

Anyway ....Mr SeaSpray and I went to pick out a Christmas tree on December 8th.  It was bitter cold outside and getting dark because we had to wait until he got out of work.  With the Christmas music playing, the smell of all that pine and snow flurries falling I was feeling quite festive.  I know Mr SeaSpray gets a bit testy when we go tree shopping and he is not fond of dancing the tree around for me so that I can see all sides.  But no respectable Christmas tree shopper would ever buy a tree without first viewing all sides.  It's just the way it is a Christmas tree law of the universe ...or something like that.

And so after looking at about 5 Frazier Fir trees, we picked out a most beautiful Christmas tree.  It was the second one we had looked at. It was truly the PRETTIEST, tallest and heaviest Christmas tree we've ever had.  The tree was so heavy that Mr SeaSpray fell back but caught himself as he pulled it from the rack.  That never happened before.  And for the first time in 39 years of getting fresh Christmas trees, even he commented on what a pretty tree it was.  That just doesn't happen with him.  His comment was downright amazing, I tell you.  And I hadn't even tempted him with the aroma of a roast wafting through the house before we left.   I'm pretty certain that meat is the carnivore's opiate and admittedly ...this SeaSpray is not above using it.  ;)  Anyway, he and another guy carried the huge tree off to the truck.   I asked the owner if I could take a few extra greens and I was thrilled when the he said I could take as many cut greens as I wanted.  So I did.  My plan was to make four different outdoor planter arrangements to last for the winter.  But then everything hit the fan by the end of the week and they are still in a pile behind our house.  Oh well ...2015 Christmas holiday decorating is only 9 months or so away.  Ummm of this review for posting, ...make that 8 months away.  :)

We had to leave the tree in the truck until our younger son came home at 10pm.  Thankfully they got it set up that night.  It wasn't easy with the weight of it.  Oh gosh ...with the widow maker lurking in Mr SeaSpray's body ...we really could've had a very different outcome.  But it all worked out.  Thank God!    We've had large trees before but the weight and fullness of this one was because it was so dense.  As a matter of fact it was so dense and so perfect that I didn't even have them turn it around at all  ...looking for the best side.  Ha!  It was so dense that I half expected to see a family of raccoons and/or squirrels pop their heads out at me while I decorated.  Really.  Actually, I expected to see their little heads pop out at us every time someone walked by the entire time.  We also put 1000 white lights on it and because it was so dense we didn't even have to run them around the back except up at the top.  But the decorating got delayed because of other things we ended up doing and also because I had to wait for our son to do the top before I could decorate the rest.  Younger son is 6' 2" and even he had to reach far from where he was standing on the ladder to get at the top because the lower portions jutted out so far.  It was ridiculously big for the area.

I don't know why we misjudged it's size, but think Chevy Chase's Christmas tree in width and that ws with our pushing it into the corner.  This tree was so pretty that it almost didn't need decorating.  Then as if it wasn't already wide enough, as the weeks moved forward the branches straightened out even more (as Christmas trees always do,) and we just had a narrow path to walk past it.  The only other time we misjudged was the one time we cut down a fresh one out in the field for Christmas - 1992.  And that tree wasn't as large as this one.  Although we could only sit on the first two cushions of our sofa and that was a long sofa.  :)  Seriously I don't know how we both missed this but I think the density of it in conjunction with night falling caused it to look smaller than it was.

Ha ha!  The next day after the tree had been put up ...with a big smile and pleased with myself, I commented to Mr SeaSpray, "You must be happy that I didn't get all obsessive over the Christmas tree."  "YES you did!"  "But I didn't even insist the tree had to go right into the stand when we got home ...and I didn't even have you guys turn it around once it was set up? That never happens."  

Then I later recalled that I was insisting they straighten the tree because it was leaning forward a bit and it really was and if that came down it could've really hurt someone with the weight of it.  Okay ...I did have to resort to getting a lamp closely behind it to show them the silhouette of the leaning trunk.  Thankfully the 150 watt bulb was able to shine through the dense branches.  I don't call that obsessive but rather thinking ahead and embracing reality to avert a potential disaster.  Apparently men unite in resisting having to adjust the tree in the stand once it's been done.

Ha!  Younger son used to agree with me but once he grew a beard and became more involved in setting said tree up ...he predictably crossed over to the manly, back slapping, authoritative proclamation in unison with his father, "The tree is STRAIGHT!"  I just know that when I leave the room without even a hint of protest ...they know they've lost because I will be returning with...the light.  And it does work every time.  If there is any doubt your Christmas tree is crooked just get a bright light to shine behind it and you will know for sure.

But we really did pick it out and set it up uneventfully least as compared to previous years. It's both funny and frustrating how we humans can view something so differently.

After breaking an angel we had since the early 90s, this angel became one of my 2014 Amazon purchases.  She's much prettier in person and I was pleasantly surprised at how large she is.

Thank God a friend had told me about Amazon shopping and also for our older son putting me on his Amazon Prime or else there would not have been many presents from us to open, although I did do some shopping in stores too.

Anyway ....the nuclear department always seems to be in the bowels of a hospital and so we had a long walk down.  But I have to say that my knees were feeling so good that I gladly went back up to the gift shop, actually not even minding the walk or standing while shopping and then back down, or even going back up to leave.  I was beginning to hurt but still wasn't bad.  However ...I did so much walking and standing in the weeks to come in the larger hospital, combined with additional shopping, decorating and all the Christmas prepping that by Christmas day I was in a huge amount of pain and I didn't have time to relax because we were having Christmas dinner here.  So much for what I thought was a mini healing miracle.  You can't blame a SeaSpray for wanting something so badly that she just believed it was possible and had happened.

 I LOVE having everyone over for Christmas dinner.  It is my favorite holiday for all kinds of reasons.  It's just the BEST time of year!  :)

I was grateful for so much but admittedly frustrated and discouraged with what I didn't get done.  I didn't even bake one morsel!  It also didn't help that I like to put this pretty YouTube Christmas video on, "If Mozart Wrote Christmas Carols."  A well done, very traditional Christmas video.  Imagine Hallmark and Budweiser combined into one ...sans beer.  :)  I enjoyed it but it also reminded me of how imperfect this year was becoming.  And I do feel guilty even sharing my feelings about this because we did get a Christmas miracle ...actually a longtime miracle in keeping a family member safe and ALIVE Nothing trumps that and that was my initial feeling and still is.  But then with the stress of all that and the pressure of the holidays ...there were other things that went wrong.  The worst of those was that in the midst of the serious stuff we discovered that there is a major leak under the bathroom floor that we only found out about after the major damage manifested itself and there wasn't any time to address it.  Long story- short about that is that after the Holidays, the medical concerns, low insurance reimbursement and a few no show contractors we have finally found a GEM of a contractor and I am hopeful that this situation will be resolved once and for all in the next couple of weeks.  And I am hopeful that I will still have a favorable response from the claims adjuster when I inform her how much higher the written estimate is versus the check she sent out to us.  I asked her if that check took northern prices into consideration since the appraiser was from Arkansas and she said that it did. I asked this because someone had told me that insurance companies hire people from the south because they can pay them less and also they write up lower estimates.  I don't know if that is true tho. I feel that we had a good rapport when speaking on the phone previously and so I guess I will find out about said "rapport" on Tuesday.  The bathroom floor debacle has been stressful with a capital "S" for sure.

At one point just before serving the dinner, I secluded myself in our bedroom just to cry because my knees hurt so much.  Then I composed myself after a couple of minutes and joined everyone else.  I think my tears were from a culmination of everything that had transpired since things got complicated halfway into December' as well as my almost shock and utter discouragement at the level of pain I was having.  And I guess I was also experiencing severe disappointment that I could no longer breeze about as I had for the last month and a half.  And I had Percocet left over from the summer and had taken one in the morning and one later in the afternoon or I don't know what I would have done.  I think the worst part really was the realization that I was again being grounded with this stupid and excruciating knee pain.  If you read one of my earlier posts you'll see that I felt so good walking around after the cortisone injections that I also wondered if I could've possibly had a mini healing miracle.  And I know that sounds crazy but I pondered that because I had never felt as good as I did after any of the injections I had over the last 5 years.  Sure, I experienced relief but it was nothing like what I was feeling this last time.  So can imagine my profound disappointment as I was again experiencing the hideous knee pain.  I think that was wearing on me big time.

Our older son treated us to a delicious spiral ham that I cooked.  And family brought food too and everything was just yummy, except I rushed through it because for whatever reason ..okay ..pain...I was falling behind with getting things done.  And then finally when it was time to open the presents everyone rushed through that so quickly as is usually the case and I was disappointed that I didn't get to see some reactions when presents were opened or what they got from others.  Am I wrong to feel this way?  The joy of giving something to someone is seeing the joy they have when they receive it.  It is fun to give.  You spend so much time trying to find things you think they will like that it is disappointing to miss their reactions.  My family used to open one present at a time so we could all see what everyone got and also just enjoy it all.  Personally ...I just LOVE the anticipation of doing something fun like that.  My friend Iris and her family would take four hours to open presents.  But Mr SeaSpray's family always opened everything at once and I just let that happen all these years but never enjoying it as much.   I did have this tradition with the boys in which I would let them pick one small present to open on Christmas eve.  Last year I asked if we could do 3 at a time and that was nice.  But no one wanted to do it this year.  I guess I am coming across as being petty, especially if everyone else likes to just tear into everything.  But I also have a couple other friends that take their time too.  And don't misunderstand was still fun opening up the presents and seeing some of the reactions.  And I certainly loved my presents.  Santa was good to me.  ;)

Usually after everyone leaves, I will hand wash the gold flatware and Christmas dishes and Crystal, dry it all and put it away.  I'll load the dishwasher, wipe everything down and maybe leave a big pan for the morning ...or not.  And of course clean up all the wrapping.  Actually, I go through the big garbage bags of paper and pull out the perfectly intact bows and gift bags.  I can't believe people throw them out when  they are still like new and  to me's kind of like finding paper treasures.  :) 

However ...this year ...I could not do any of the cleanup.  The only thing I did was to soak the flatware to get the food off, rinse it and let it dry on a towel until I could wash it.  The knee pain was more than I could stand and so I just didn't do any cleanup and only put the food away.

Then after a little bit, I was still feeling so frustrated and even kind of mad.   I have NEVER EVER felt mad on any Christmas - EVER!  So from the opposite end of the house I hollered out to Mr SeaSpray and son, "That's IT!  Next Christmas we are having CHINESE!  I MEAN it!  We're HAVING CHINESE!"  And then I went to bed.  I never go to bed before midnight and especially not on Christmas.  I just love that nice warm afterglow of Christmas day ...thinking abut how nice it all was.  So this was all totally out of character for me.

I was just so overwhelmed with everything and felt like I couldn't put a cohesive thought together even after things settled down.  In all fairness to myself ...I can be a perfectionist, setting high expectations for myself even though I will easily give others a pass.  I mean if I had a friend dealing with the things that I was, I would be right there ...supporting her and assuring her that of course she would feel this way because not only did she have a lot on her plate but a few of them were pretty darned big.  And that is another thing.  I was missing Iris, Pat and my Mom soooooovery much and I just needed so much to decompress in their company, but they're in heaven now and so that was out.  And I suppose that even though we had a good outcome with the health issue, I think it was all beginning to hit me.  And then the uncertainty of it all and what does it all mean and it is so hard to see someone you love go through things like this.  And also ...I couldn't help but to feel a deeper sense of our mortality and realizing just how fast time really does fly by.  And btw ...some people can really be a bear when they are recuperating.  And of course I do understand they are dealing with their own issues and it must be really hard to be hit with something like this when you've been pretty healthy for most of your life.

And it's all been weird because like I said ...I feel all this gratitude for the good outcome and also despite the challenges of late ...that we are blessed in so many ways.   So this is not at all a pity party post.  I'm just telling it as it was when going through it all.  Well ...most of it- not everything.

And the thing is that feelings are feelings.  There is no right or wrong.  You can't help what feelings come up.  It's what one chooses to do with them that matters in the end.

I just think it's funny that my solution to it all was my decreeing through the house on Christmas night that we were having Chinese for Christmas dinner next year.  Ha ha!  You'd have to know how traditional I am to know how out of character that is for me.

But guess what?  I'm still holding too it.  We'll get so many selections it will look like a Chinese buffet in here ...a Christmas Chinese buffet.  I've since announced it to other family members and also said that we will have great appetizers and lots of deserts ...but the meal is CHINESE!  A-n-d ...that will free us up to start opening presents earlier.  :)

CHINESE food - Christmas 2015!

Just saying.

 W & M staying overnight after Christmas and patiently putting up with my learning how to use my new camera.  :)

Still patient...

Still patient...


Not so much.  :)

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