First time surgery

Tomorrow I am taking the first step to improve my life. In the morning I will check into Kaiser Permanente Medical Hospital for spine surgery. I have lived with the tingling, numbness in my legs for over 20 years. Last fall it made its way down to my feet. I have complained repeatedly, and was told that there was nothing that could be done. It has affected my ability to stand in place the most. When out taking photographs I look for a place to sit and recover. Funny, standing in place is most painful, and this affects me when I am in a group socializing.

Some suggested I should try alternative methods.

This was not my preferred route.

Well after my dog Libby had her MRI, my doctor set me up with one. The MRI showed definite lumbar spinal stenosis. One look at the many x-rays and the MRI, and the spine specialist referred me to a surgeon. Tomorrow I hope will be the beginning of a more mobile, comfortable life. Getting a bit ahead of myself. Keeping optimistic!

These are close pictures, but not my x-rays!

There is the surgery first. I’m almost 70 and this is my first time going under “the knife”. Actually, this is the first time I will be a patient since I had my kids.

I hope that my equipment will do its job!

My husband and son are ready to help me. There is a 6 week recovery. This means no lifting, no bending, and no twisting. Chubby Checker will have to wait.

My ice packs are ready.

I’ll be careful with the drugs offered. Good to know I was given pages of warning about not
getting addicted to pain meds.

I can’t believe it is March already. I have been busy taking care of Libby. She is her happy self. I think her left back leg is getting stronger, her right remains about the same. She carefully walks on our flooring without splaying, or she keeps to the carpet runners. When we walk outside I protect her paw with something called “PawZ”. It looks like a balloon, and she doesn’t mind me dressing her because she knows she is going for a short walk. I guess she will be a bit of a homebody while I recuperate. Though, I watched the doctor recommended videos and walking is encouraged.

I assume that I will be able to remain connected. But I am going to do all I need to do to get back in shape. My husband will be helping me with household tasks. Giving up doing the laundry, and cleaning. This may be hard to do. I made a big pot of butternut squash soup which goes well with salad and sandwiches. The weather has been quite wet lately, and soup fits perfectly with the season. My son is coming from the Richmond, Ca. for a couple of days and plans to cook for us. It will be good to spend some time with him.

Well I hope my doctor, nurses and everyone else gets a good night sleep, has a calm morning and will take good care of me when I check in at 9:45 a.m.

These photographs were taken at the Museum of Medical History located here in Sacramento.

Until I am up and blogging keep good thoughts!

Computer Time Genealogy

After working on my travelogue for a couple of days, I quickly decided I needed to actually take some of my photography from Kauai and create a photo book. Spent all of Thursday working out the details, and sent it off to Shutterfly. I haven’t been disappointed with my book produced by this company. If you haven’t tried them, send me your email and a free 8×8 hardcover book is yours. Full disclosure. I will also get one too. Shipping is not included, though. Just got an email saying my book has shipped. Fast service. Sent it in on Thursday 1/31 and it is on its way 2/4. Excited!

While at the computer, I caught up with some of my family genealogy. I have a world subscription to Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker software on my iMac. After much worry, and much reading, I decided to sync both trees. My next goal will be to bring this tree to life. I would like to put a face or information other than vital statistics (birth, marriage, death) to names of my direct descendents. I check the hints that appear, and that usually draws me away from this goal. And it is so easy to do. Follow one hint, find another. I am getting better at keeping track of my research by using a notebook, and adding notes to my online trees.

My father and his two brothers (Doctor Rubinstein) are part of the story cited in
Schindler’s List

Another distraction is my DNA test matches. I find a match, and I try and figure out how this can be. Recently connected with a second cousin online with a DNA match. I think of this person as a little kid, who I understand is a recently retired physician. Talk about where did the time go.

Before I went to college most of my relatives lived in the New York metropolitan area. And every couple of years there would be a large family gathering. I knew the names and faces of most of the 100+ people, but I could not see how I was related. I never had grandparents, so anyone over 25 was called uncle, and under 25 cousin. A family tree would have cleared a lot of this mystery up. A suggestion for large family reunions would be a family tree.

I remember thinking that it would be nice to have a Grandma.

I’m thinking of trying to connect with my living relatives online since we are now spread around the country, and beyond. I plan to gather as many email addresses from extended family so that we can send out event notices and keep connected. I may set up a private family page where we can share. Kind of like Facebook’s original intent to connect people. I haven’t decided if Facebook is the way to go, or should I create some other venue. I belong to two private pages, and they have worked. But maybe there is another way to connect. I’m looking for suggestions. How does your family stay connected?

I now possess all my parent’s photo albums, and I have a cousin (1st cousin 1x removed) who researched one branch of my family since 1985. All his research was done without benefit of computer. It is remarkable that his research checks my online hints. He is no longer working on this, and will be passing along more of his research to me. Problem is that I live on the west coast, trunk full of stuff on the east coast. So either I make a trip back east or have another family member ship it here. Will figure this out soon.

Many posts started, but life happens…

The short version. Crazy times happened after Halloween. Things were looking up. I spent some time with my grandsons, voted and saw a reverse in the U.S. House, horrific fire in Paradise, smoke choking Fair Oaks, and then my dog Libby started having trouble on our slippery floors. So off to see Dr. Faith at Reagor Pet Hospital, x-rays taken and placed on pain medication. Thought a few weeks of rest, install a different flooring and all would be better.

My 16 year old granddaughter has been living with us since the start of the school year. Things deteriorated quickly. Sneaking out, rules ignored, school work non existent. Tried counseling, talking, setting boundaries and nothing works. Teenage rebellion in full swing.  My mother always said, “There is a time to be parents, and then she was done.”

About this same time my friends invited me to join them on a photo vacation. This would be a first for me. After quite a lot of thought, and encouragement from my husband,  I decided to go. Left right after Thanksgiving on December 1st and returned on December 7th. Spent all the time on the island of Kauai taking photographs. Explored most accessible places that didn’t require a lot of hiking. Came home with 1000+ photographs. Had a wonderful time. So why haven’t I posted any, you may ask. 

Answer. Stuff happens. My dog Libby missed me, and her limping got progressively worse while I was away. What we thought was a sprain, or blown out knee turned out to be a head scratching hard to diagnose question mark. We took her to UC Davis Vet Hospital where an MRI was done. There is inflammation around the sciatic nerve and spinal disk. Hoped it may be just a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics. Culture came back negative today. Or it may be an inoperable tumor. I am plenty worried, and mucho distracted. Recheck in two weeks. Libby is happier now that I am home, and not complaining with either medicine. Her appetite improved. That is a big indication that something is wrong, when a Labrador Retriever needs to be hand fed.

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As for me, I also have issues like my dog Libby. And I too had a MRI. Results show severe lumbar spinal stenosis. MRI looks terrible and the Spinal/Pain management specialist is referring me to a surgeon. Something to look forward to in the New Year.

My husband’s second phase of tooth implant takes place next week. Hoping that will be easier than the tooth extraction.

So 2019 is set to be an interesting year. I do hope for some peace in the coming year for my friends and family, and the growing connected world.

Happy New Year 2019 to all!

A Time to Reflect

In the Jewish religion, Yom Kippur is the time of atonement. How can I contribute to the upcoming year?  I like to look at this as a time to slow down and reflect on the past year, and think of the coming year. The past year has been one of change. Moving to a new home, watching a new life being brought into my family with the birth of my grandson. My brother certainly made some changes as well. He and Leti moved into a new home, married, and my niece gave birth to her daughter making my brother a first time grandfather. Happy, life affirming changes.

The last part of the year brought one additional unanticipated change. My 16 year old granddaughter is currently living with us. I am back in the parent role, and I find that this is harder to  accept. There is a time for everything, and I planned this time for travel. With this delay I am going to continue to plan to travel, eventually. I guess I am trying to act logically, and not be so emotional about this turn of events. Logic pushes me to take positive steps toward my end goal.

Step 1.  Develop a way to communicate with fellow travelers. I know that I can only speak English. So I am using my computer to learn some Spanish. Maybe I’ll look at being able to speak some Hebrew. Who knows.

Step 2. Photography will be high on the list when I decide where I want to go. I plan to travel with my mirrorless cameras. I just sold my Olympus OMD E5 gear and purchased a Fuji XT2 camera and the Fuji X100F. I plan to use this time to become very comfortable with my gear. This also helps my emotional health.

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When I traveled overseas in 1964 I packed my things in a bright red Samsonite suitcase. It was easy to spot on the luggage carousel.

Step 3. Keep an eye out for places to visit. I plan to start making a list of where and when (best season) to visit my destinations. Facebook is one place to view good photographic places. Another place I check out are the many Flickr sites. And I’ll do some travel reading.

I just received my first passport, as an adult. So as far as travel goes I am quite new to foreign travel. My last time overseas was when I was still in high school over 50 years ago. Kind of funny the way life works out. When I left Karachi in 1966 I was thinking that I would work in the airline industry and be able to travel all over. When I graduated from college my husband and I even made plans to move to Israel. It has been over 40 years since I made the move from New  York to California. Vacations out of California didn’t take me very far in the United States either. Traveled back to New York, to Florida to visit In-Laws, Indianapolis to visit family, and to the Hawaiian Islands. I guess I have some catching up to do.

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Planning on hopping on the People Mover when the time comes!

Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the year ahead. Photo time, dog time, and time at home with my husband and granddaughter.

Who knows what the year 5779 will bring? May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Any suggestions as to where I should set my sights? I’ve got time to plan!