Hand Clinics

Alright…it’s been an amazing thing to be working regularly with Occupational Therapists and to be seeing the number and variety of struggles that people are having with their fingers and their hands.  Today’s appointment was a morning one.  So many individuals stopping in on their way to work…and with so many different maladies.
 
I dipped my hand into hot paraffin wax four times and then sat waiting for the heat to soak in, all the while surrounded by a hot pack…listening…in awe really…these injuries are very common and yet, unless they are in your radar screen, one tends to be unaware.  I want everyone to be grateful for their hands…their usefulness…the blessings that they provide! 
 
As the OT then manipulated my hand…trying to bend the now-straight finger, the pain caused me to shudder.  An unbelievable pain…and so many with this challenge! I am celebrating the fact that in just two weeks my finger has moved from a minus 43 position to a minus three.  Now I must try to gain the bend back, but gradually so that it does not fold again.  I ask for continued prayers as I do the work to make this better.  
 
I will also pray for the various men and women who are also trying to regain the use of their hands and fingers…especially a very young women I met on my very first appointment.  She is my inspiration, having endured a horrible car accident that has left her dominant forearm, hand and all five fingers in complete spasm.  Her work has been consistent since February.
 
I know that you likely think that this is another quick entry…but it has been oh, so slow…quite something!
 
 
 
 

Drumline

Here is a link to the Calgary event last Wednesday night that someone has generously shared with me.  If you access this link you will be able to pick out my son three times on the big screen.  He performed once more with Keith Urban in Edmonton on the weekend.  Another amazing event, he performed with five other drumline friends at the Center Street Church on Sunday for two services, this time with a full orchestra and a huge adult choir.  Enjoy!
 
 

Fullerton Loop

Four of us headed out for a beautiful hike this morning…so good for the soul!  The autumn colours were lit up by the sun…as one of my friends said, "the trees seem to be illuminated from the inside out." Intense yellow was interspersed with the conifers and brilliant white snow hung fresh on the mountain tops.  Just a beautiful day.
 
I had had a very frustrating morning up until the time I was picked up.  Because of the finger injury everything feels like it’s in slow motion.  One of my friends came in and sliced my cheese and green pepper and packed up my lunch while I fed homemade granola to the others.  From that point on, the day evolved into magic beyond belief.  I am grateful and continue to ask for your prayers as this very gradually improves.
 
 

Days Go By: Keith Urban

Directly after the drumline left the stage, Keith Urban played Days Go By with a beautiful film montage playing on the huge back screen….images were so amazing and appealed to my sense of adventure, travel and memory. I saw ancient ruins of Greece/Italy… images out of California, Nevada, Idaho, Niagara Falls…and even a close-up from Jackson Hole.  Earlier in the day, I had received a post card from Jackson Hole!  A nice feeling came over me as I fully engaged the catchy beat and the lyric, all the while watching the film clips.
 
 
 
"Days Go By"

I’m changing lanes
I’m talking on the phone
I’m drivin’ way to fast
And the interstate’s jammed with
Gunners like me afraid of coming in last
But somewhere in the race we run
We’re coming undone

Days go by
I can feel ’em flying
Like a hand out the window in the wind as the cars go by
It’s all we’ve been given
So you better start livin’ right now
‘Cause days go by

Out on the roof just the other night
I watched the world flash by
Headlights, taillights running through a river of neon signs
But somewhere in the rush I felt
We’re losing ourselves

Days go by
I can feel ’em flying
Like a hand out the window in the wind as the cars go by
It’s all we’ve been given
So you better start livin’ right now
‘Cause days go by

We think about tomorrow then it slips away
We talk about forever but we’ve only got today

And the days go by
I can feel ’em flying
Like a hand out the window
As the cars go by

It’s all we’ve been given
So you better start livin’
You better start livin’
Better start livin’ right now

Cause days go by
I can feel like ’em flying
Like a hand out the window in the wind as the cars go by

It’s all we’ve been given
So you better start livin’ right now

Cause days go by
These days go by

So take ’em by the hand
They’re yours and mine
Take ’em by the hand
And live your life
Take ’em by the hand
Don’t let ’em all fly by

Come on, Come on now
Don’t you know the days go by

 
   

 

 

 

Keith Urban

My son played last night in the drumline as a transition between two songs at the Keith Urban concert.  It was absolutely AMAZING to see him on the far right of the SADDLEDOME concert stage grooving!  I am so proud of him and so excited about the entire thing.  He will play again tonight and follow Keith to Edmonton for two weekend concerts as well.  I met up with my boy and two of his percussionist friends to give them their ride home and they were higher than kites, having been served an amazing buffet dinner and having the opportunity to see the ‘workings’ of a concert.
 
Keith Urban was exceptional!  What a versatile musician!  And what amazing musicians who share the stage with him!  One of the lead guitar players stopped in to visit when the drumline was having dinner, but as yet, the kids have not met Keith.  I hope it happens tonight.  The broken finger hasn’t made it possible to take pictures, but I’m hoping that I am able to collect some from other perople.
 
Speaking of the finger…don’t know if in all of the travel journals I’ve mentioned that  in Cinque Terre….maybe six or seven weeks ago now, I broke my ring finger of my painting hand.  When I visited the hand specialist at the hospital last Monday, it was sitting at -33 degrees as a result of contraction and mis-alignment of the ligaments due to the trauma and swelling.  By the time I saw the OT on Friday…it was sitting at -42 degrees.  Yesterday the meeting with the OT was very positive.  She was very pleased…as was I….when she measured the angle, it was sitting at -22 degrees.  This means that your prayers are being answered and mine are too.
 
Now…this does not mean that this has happened without a huge effort to follow instructions, exercise, massage, avoiding use and physical pain….but the progression is awesome!   Right now a new splint is on….feels like a kicker!  OWWW!  I’ve got another 22 degrees to go and then I can begin the three month process of gently guiding it back to mobility and avoiding a repeat on the folding action.  Blogging action is to a minimum as I have become a pecker…much like my dear ol’ Dad…it is a strange thing to not be whizzing across the keys.  I’m posting a film…likely temporary of a band playing the grooove that my son played last night.
 
  

Palermo and Cefalu, Sicily

 I’ve kept this blog since 2005.  Most people who begin to write on-line journals or blogs abandon them over time.  I’m actually quite amazed to look back on eleven years  and to be able to access, however brief, a taste of this experience of my life.  This afternoon, after fairing very cold temperatures during my pond walking, I felt there was a real similarity between today’s brilliant blue sky and the sky of Palermo, some years ago when my daughter and I shared a remarkable journey.  It is so wonderful to look at the experiences that Giorgio has created for others over the years, facilitating ‘an experience of culture’…creating travelers not tourists.  Giorgio has a base in Argentina now and I encourage my friends, who are able, to seek him out.  He will contribute to your adventure!

The first stop on our journey was when we disembarked from Ryanair in Palermo, Sicily.

Arriving in Palermo marked the beginning of our journey north to Venice.  We stayed in a lovely spot called Giorgio’s Place.  Giorgio was amazing….absolutely amazing and he provided us with a dreamy beginning to the journey.

Temperatures were anywhere from 40 to 45 degrees and the water dripped off of our noses, the humidity and heat combined were so extreme.  In Palermo I learned that people in poverty can be joyful.  I was blessed to walk through the streets and see that life has been re-created where war left people in ruins.  They are a strong people…those who live in Sicily.

Influence of the Mafia is a reality for these people.  Markets are a ritual of morning, along with sweet rolls and strong coffee.

Siesta is recommended in the afternoon because the noontime brings the heat of the day…night time is for visiting and exploring…dogs on the street pulled at my heart strings.

Cefalu….a beautiful beach and an amazing hike up above the city on The Rock.

 

 

Taormina, Sicily

A tad more ‘commercial’ than Palermo, Taormina offered us such a dramatic and mystical view of Mount Etna and the water below, it was an amazing experience!  I wouldn’t recommend this particular hostel for those of you who might be out of shape to any degree.  I was so proud of the two of us for actually hiking from the bus stop to our hostel that I took pictures at the destination!
 
Even more freakish was the drive up the cliff side on a full sized bus…with the number of hairpin turns and the fact that at each one, we faced directly onto the sea, with just a short stone wall separating, I was in shock!  I’ve tried to embed my daughter’s brief video clip of the event here, but with no success.
 
We had much fun at the ancient Greek amphitheater, now used for contemporary dance and dramatic works….we enjoyed one of the key players and his yoga warm-up and the joking around of the stage crew on the sidelines as they made fun of his dedicated moves.  This was a rehearsal for an evening performance that I felt surpassed my own budget…so we toodled off and found an awesome little Rotisseria where we enjoyed a couple of Messina beers, practiced Italian and pulled over complete strangers to practice the phrase, "What is your name?" 
 
 
  

Scalea, Calabria

 

Scalea Beach...smooth dark-coloured stones.

 
 
We left Taormina, Sicily for Scalea….hiked from our hostel UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN to the bus station (our 50 lb. backpacks on our backs) in order to catch the morning train to Messina….then onto the mainland and a start up the west coast. A fascinating thing about all of this was the fact that the train actually moved right onto the ferry for the trip over to the mainland.  Who would have guessed such as this?
 

The ants go marching one by one!

 
 
Camping in Scalea, we had the opportunity to enjoy magical beach time, not-so magical camping time and the wonders of an EXCELLENT restaurant, with 3 Euro table wine that was out of this world!  Certainly nothing like our house wines here in Canada.
 

Calabria

 

 
 

 

 

Portici

Portici is a small city a short distance from both Pompei and Naples (Napoli) where one can settle in and travel easily to see other things.  Too expensive for our itinerary, we did not travel to the island of Capri, but we did really really enjoy our time at the Hostel called simply FABRIC and we highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to travel to these parts on a budget!
 
I really wanted to stay at this spot because it had been a Fabric Factory in the past and to some degree it resonated with my family history with the woolen mill and it just seemed the right place to be.  It DID NOT disappoint for many reasons.
 
The experience of a real family dinner with Italian people who are now friends was amazing!  The journey to Pompei was mind-boggling…the exploration of Naples was full of new discoveries…a lemonchello factory…Pizza!…churches that were exceptionally beautiful…a cloister…all of it, awesome!