Monthly Archives: June 2010

So we have this little book…

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and it’s title is something like “Easy Day Hikes Around Anchorage”

The booklet (as it really is more a of a booklet than a full fledged book) is very cute and has lovely little descriptions of hikes easily done in an afternoon or evening.  If you are 40 lbs overweight and you doggy hiking companion has a bit of arthritis, this is the book for you.  As I fit well into those parameters, it is also the book for me.

On Friday afternoon we decided to take on the hike at Baldy Mountain.  2 miles up and back, with an elevation rise of 1200 ft, sounded like just the thing.

We parked the car and trotted off to the trailhead.  The path was nice and wide and we saw loads of relaxed people heading back to their cars.  They weren’t even sweating!  This was certainly the hike for me!  We walked a little ways, and came upon a little pond with a spring fed pump.   Continuing on up the path, we explored a couple of old rotting cabins, and an abandoned water tank.  Dave gave the kids lessons in local flora and then we came to a T in the path.

A decision had to be made, to the right or to the left, oh which way should we go???

Well, with all my mountaineering knowledge and skills, I decided that because the peak of Baldy was in front of us, and a little to the right, we should go right, as obviously going left would take us away from the mountain and that would be silly.

So we followed the trail to the right, and about 30 yards later, the trail began to fade and became more of a foot path, when we could even find that.  Up and up and up we went, searching for the trail, occasionally finding places that looked like MAYBE someone stepped there.  About 1/2 way up the mountain, as the sweat was running down my face and back, and as my nose began to run due to exertion, I began to think horrible thoughts about the author of our little booklet.

Easy!?!?  Whatever.  At times we were climbing hand over hand! More than once I looked down and thought, “well, I better not fall, because that is rather steep and nothing to stop me from rolling all the way down”   Most of the ground had moss and grass cover, but there were spots, especially as we got closer to the summit, where it was just rock, and often loose gravelly rock that that threatened to give way.  Prompting more images in my head of a tumble ALL the way down to the trailhead.

We got to the top, eventually, we crested the last little ridge, we looked down, and saw a lovely wide path that meandered across the tundra and gently made it’s way to the point we were standing at,  coming up from the left.

Sisterhood of the Shoulder Surgery…

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A couple of years ago, I noticed that my shoulder would hurt a bit while doing certain tasks, not a lot, just a sharp little pain now and then.  I chalked it up to getting older, being overweight, lack of muscle tone in my arms. And most of the time, it was just annoying, so I lived with it.

Over the last couple of years, we have been busy with life, and Dave’s own health issues, and even though my shoulder began to hurt more often and more severely, I just lived with it. Figuring I could work around it.  And that is was no big deal.

But this winter, it became apparent I needed to address this, as I could not lift my right arm past chest height, and it hurt pretty much all the time, especially at night.  If I had worked hard, physically, through the day, the pain would keep me up at night… And that just would not do.

So, finally, I found a specialist my insurance would cover and went in for an exam (this was after attempting to get my insurance to pay for the DR I really wanted to see for several months, a story for another day).

The exam was no surprise, there was something wrong with my shoulder, and it would need to be addressed soon Because, really,  it should have been addressed a while ago.

An MRI was recommended, and before I got out of the parking lot, I had one scheduled for the next day, a Saturday (the Dr was pretty serious about getting this taken care of).

Within 3 days, the MRI results were in and read and a plan was in place.  Surgery was set for June 2.  The DR had hoped that I could have surgery sooner, on May 26th, but since I had waited this long, and my sister was here, I pushed it out another week.

Now I am pretty tough.  I handle pain pretty well, and like to think that I am wildly independent.  So, I scheduled the surgery, even though Dave was scheduled to be out of town that day and for most of the next 2 weeks. I was certain that after the anesthesia wore off I would be fine.

I lined up a friend to watch the kids, another one to pick me up from the surgery center and yet another to stay with me that night after surgery, as I was required to have someone with me for 24 hours, or be admitted to the hospital, and I really did not want to deal with THAT!

All went as planned, kids were fine, I was fine, went home and Suzi and Gina and Myrna took turns watching me sleep and drool on the couch in the living room.

Then the anesthesia and the nerve block wore off.  And I started taking pain pills.  And in response to the pain medication, I started throwing up.  So I went off the pain pills, and attempted to manage the pain with ice and ibuprofen.

And that really wasn’t terribly effective, but I hate throwing up, so I just laid on the couch, with this amazing contraption that circulated ice water around my shoulder while applying just barely tolerable pressured and prayed for 4 hours to pass so I could take more ibuprofen.

And the Sisterhood took over.

My house was cleaned, my fridge was stocked, my kids were entertained and fed.  Many friends stopped by to check on me, or sit in the living room, pretending I was interesting company.  My dog got walked.  I even got taken out to a party on Saturday, I lasted a whole 1.5 hours and then I came home and slept for 4.

Somehow, these amazing women found time in their busy lives to care for for us. And they knew just how much care I would accept, what would be too much and a perfect balance of compassion, concern and hands off.

I might have survived those first few days without my friends, but I don’t know that my kids would have.  And I am sure that the dog would not have.

I thank God for these women, this sisterhood.

A new job…

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On July 6, I will begin a new job.    I am terribly excited, and I am terrified!

I have not worked a traditional full time job in over 13 years.  I did work during the years Dave was in Grad school, and I worked hard, but those jobs were at night, and the kids were much younger, and Dave was home every evening. I worked those jobs out of need.  our family had to eat!  I knew those jobs were not forever jobs, there was an end to those, someday Dave would be done with school and be back in the work force.

But this time it is different.

I am choosing to work.

The story it quite long and involved, so I will jump to the end and work in what is needed from there.   3 weeks ago I was offered, and accepted, a job working in the front office for a group of midwives.  I would love to tell you that I am going to be a midwife someday, and I truly hope and pray that someday…

But for now, I will be working in the office, greeting the moms and the babies and the dads, answering phones and questions, and learning as much as I can about the practice of midwifery.  Both the business  and the hands on aspects of providing total care for women.  I am approaching this as my stint in grad school.  There is so much to learn.

I am thrilled to be working with a group of women who are committed to providing options for women as they birth their babies.  And I am thrilled to be working with a group of women who are committed to making sure that women from every walk of life, every economic situation have comprehensive OB and GYN health care. I passionately believe that women should have choices regarding birth, and EVERY woman should have access to basic health care.

But like I said, I have not worked a traditional full time job in a long long time.

And I know that this schedule, 8:30-5 Monday-Thursday, will impact my family.

I have loved being home with my kids, and I have loved being home now that all my kids are in school.  I have had the luxury of making meals at the last minute, of spending lots of time exploring the best coffee and card shops in Anchorage.  I have had loads of time to spend at the kids’ school, and time to spend doing stuff at church.  And I have had loads of time to fritter away reading, surfing the net, playing on FB or reading the billions of blogs that are out there!

So things will change.  I will just have to learn to be more efficient.  I will have to plan ahead for meals, I imagine that my crockpots will be pressed into service on a regular basis.  I will take a page out my friend Kristine’s playbook, and REALLY learn to love my calendar.

The kids are only getting busier, and Dave is only getting more involved at work, so sometimes, when I think about this, it seems like a crazy time to add more to our life, but at the same time, I know it is right.

I have never cared about having a “career”.  I have always said I would be perfectly happy working a job that just paid the bills, if it was somewhere I REALLY wanted to work.

And I am certain this is that kind of place.