Sunday Morning

I choose to type in ‘green’ this morning because green is a colour of hope and rebirth and wishful thinking!  I think that I’m more optimistic this morning.  This is a good thing.  My children are growing weary of my emotional and physical engagement with this fractured finger.  I am growing weary too!
Some different bits of news and events to celebrate (a new focus) and some so simple that it makes me smile.  I can now wrap my hand around and hold a half-filled cup of coffee and sustain this for a period of time.  I can rest my hand on my leg and feel all four of my fingers curled around that contour.  I can flip through my files at school without big tears coming to the surface.  I can stick four fingers inside a glass to rinse it out at the sink.  ALL good stuff.
I began to teach from The Chapel again…a class titled Making Faces.  I have seven students…all very keen and excited.  I only wish I could take pictures and archive the experience.  (I’m really missing my camera!)  It feels so good to be back out there working with the young ones and with absolutely no concerns about assessment!  I’m going to be teaching a second neighbourhood class as well beginning next Saturday morning…this one titled Bowls and Balls.
Next, last evening three of us attended the open house for the Bee Kingdom, a studio/gallery/residence (glassblowers collective) shared by three amazing glass artists.  I loved seeing Tim again and enjoyed seeing the progress he is making in his life as an artist.  I am very proud of his accomplishments, but most of all, by the person he has become.  He is filled with stories and mythology and art to overflowing.  He is extremely generous and articulate. When we arrived, the house was vibrating with dance and laughter.  But Tim took pause and showed us around the studio and the gallery and engaged us in wonderful conversation.  A very fun event….and again, so pleasant because I DIDN’T have to drive!!
Tim shared that his sister Elisabeth (one of my original Grade Nine art students at this particular school….15 years back) has just published her second book.
Her first book venture…something to pet the cat about.  Elisabeth inspires me with her exploration of issues around interconnectedness…people…animals…environment.  Her latest projects investigate animation in various forms.
Something else!!
I moved into the University of Lethbridge residence in August of 1973. It seemed as though the relatively new building was abandoned at the time…I still remember the sound of the wind through the stairwells and the hot-coulee-sun that poured over me as I wandered the river valley. The first person I met and really chatted with was a young man named Richard Nerysoo.  I was sitting on the front steps of the University…Richard sitting at my side.  He had a gentle voice and we spoke about all sorts of things.  I felt so much better and ‘connected’ as we shared that time…I was only mildly aware of the sun changing in the sky….time was so ‘magical’ with Richard.
Just last evening I typed Richard’s name into the GOOGLE-MONSTER and look at what wonderful things I discovered!  Congratulations Richard, in having given voice to people and in speaking out on matters that so strongly affect our environment and all of us.  I ended up staying up late into the night catching up with Richard’s accomplishments through various articles and interviews…and feel very fortunate that I shared such an amazing conversation with him so many years ago!  I am learning more and more that a single conversation…a moment of magic between two people is sometimes pivotal and life-giving!

A New Week

A quick attempt to jot an early-morning missive. Peck. Peck. Peck.
 
Not that I am keeping track of measurements, but the straight of my broken finger is staying fairly steady at -17 and the fist is now at a 73 degree bend.  I was elated about the ‘numbers’, but less impressed with the ‘feel’ of the straight and the physical pain while in the splints. I’m up very early because I’m finding that my sleeps are less restful, a sign that perhaps some adjustments need to be made.  These might be TOO aggressive!
 
Through this circumstance, I am inspired by so many people who are digging their fingers into stiff putty or having their fingers manipulated while at the hand clinic.  I recently met a lady who has suffered rheumatoid arthritis these past six years and who recently endured a surgery to her thumb.  An amazing and courageous woman!
 
I continue to be diligent about my exercises, but it does demand so much of my time and concentrated effort.  At times it feels as though my world is shrinking.
 
A couple of things though….one is that I attended my first session of a series that is being offered through our Parish, a workshop on the Eucharist.  I am very happy about this offering and it is uplifting and good for my heart.
 
Another is, I had the opportunity to attend a movie on the weekend!!  The more I think of it, the more I feel amazed by it!   For one, I didn’t have to drive…something that is very uncomfortable for me these days and so it was a treat to be ‘transported’ to the theater!  Elizabeth is a fantastic film and I highly recommend it! The scenery, the costumes, the acting and the story itself were all ‘magical’!
 
I enjoyed quiet dinners, a wander through a book store, another glorious autumn walk and the recycle bins that have been bumping around in the back of my van, were finally brought in! :0)  A wonderful weekend by ANYONE’S standards. 

Images

Yesterday I intended on taking photographs over at the hand-clinic and dropped my camera while fumbling. Big damage done…and so I am left without images and likely for a significant period of time. It is a disappointment because I LOVE taking photographs as a way of archiving events…so here I am slowly pecking out a few words this morning.It’s been suggested by my physiotherapist that I stop using finger measurements as my focus in this process because my feelings about the lagging and setbacks are pretty intense at times. Healing is a ‘mind game’ as well as a physical process and it is important to be of a mindset where you can be positive and hopeful, while indeed, it is so SLOW.

Instead of using the measurements to set goals, I am now to notice improvements in the area of function…and as these small events occur, to recognize them as successes. So, I will report that with the intense work on the hook fist this week, I have been able to gently wrap my fingers around my morning cup of coffee. It is a wonderful thing to feel all of your fingers touching something that is cupped in your hand.

The occupational therapist also built a rubber sleeve that I have put over a paintbrush so that the grip is a larger grip and I spent 45 minutes painting on one of my Covenant pieces the other evening. Now I hope to do a bit of that every day and gradually increase the time painting as the swelling diminishes.

So, even though there has been a setback with my ‘straight’, I am going forward anticipating small improvements every day in the function of my fingers…to encourage further bend I now have a flexion apparatus that has been built to train the hand to make a fist…a feisty little item, it does not create quite so much discomfort as the splint.

Cat and Mouse!

I was working in the computer room last evening. Laurie-dog was resting at my feet and Peanut was coming and going.  At one point, he was jumping up and down in the hallway, skittering about, pouncing.  I laughed out loud because the chubby guy was animated and having such fun.  He’ll often get that way when he’s found a bug of some sort…a spider…and sometimes a pair of socks.
 
Continuing with my work, it wasn’t until later that I left the computer room, intending to go to the red couch and finish off my finger exercises for the day.  Just rounding the corner from the computer room, I saw what looked like a tyrannosaurus rex in miniature, supposing it to be an old toy belonging to my son.
 
With my socked foot, I gave the toy a couple of sweeps with my foot and then instantly shrieked.  It was as though everything came into focus with the weight of the object, the resistance of the object and the obvious bad damage done to the scruffy wee body.  I ran down the stairs to the next level shouting, "DAM CAT!" as Peanut ran back up to the victim. 
 
I began my ‘quiet self talk’ moment…"Perhaps IT IS something else.  Perhaps you’re over reacting.  Get control of yourself!"  As I looked toward the living room, the front door to the outside was open a good foot and the cold night air was blowing in. "PEANUT!" I shrieked, while slamming the door shut, grabbing the phone and heading for the lower levels, shutting Laurie-dog, the cat and the shredded body of the newcomer upstairs.
 
My son had hopped on his bike two hours earlier and had gone to visit his friend.  My daughter was out for the evening as well.  Alone in the house, (the setting for a small murder), the cat meowing on the other side of a closed door.  I had no idea if he was taking his catch on a tour, room-to-room.  I only knew that I couldn’t face it.
 
In the end, both children found their way back to me, having shared in a similar summer experience.  My son would definitely have to be deemed the hero as he took control of scooping the lifeless body into a bag and disinfecting the area.  Last night I found out that my kids ARE my soft place to fall…they DID come through for me when I was in a ridiculous state of hysteria. Otherwise, I might still have myself locked in the basement.  OR would I have eventually found my way to my ‘strong place’ and disposed of the poor thing myself?  Let’s hope we never have to find out!
 
 

 
 

Hands

Straight = -10 degrees
First Knuckle = 23 degrees
Second Knuckle = 48 degrees
 
I began with physio therapy today.  The stretching is a painful thing, but the stretching of things is as important as the mobility at this time.  Everything in the process is connected.  I’ve pulled the finger 12 degrees closer to 0 this week…but have lost something in the bend. 
 
After the physio stretched the finger, my hook-fist was sitting at 65 degrees from 48 degrees…an indicator that "pain is gain". 

Hand Clinic Progress Report

Straight – a return to -22 degrees…sigh
Bend First Knuckle 35 degrees
Bend Second Knuckle 51 degrees
 
What this all means, given that my Second Knuckle was at 3 degrees last Thursday is that I’m now coming back to a bend…but losing my straight.  Now my RACK must be used for three hours again for every one hour off…feeling somewhat discouraged. Some days I am just so discouraged and today I am sitting here to peck away at keys instead of curling up on my red couch and having a tear. 
 
My visit during my appointment today was with a young 13 year old, David.  He broke his pinky two months ago playing soccer and just today broke/sprained his ring-finger playing basketball.  He had three different apparatus built for this initial injury and had been working with an OT since 3:30.  I met and spoke with him at 5:00 p.m.  I continue to be inspired by the people I meet.
 
I’m going to post photographs of a project that my students are making for their BIG unit at school.  Enjoy watching it grow and develop!  (please pray for me)