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A humbling experience

Posted by Kathy G on 6/03/05 at 13:59 (176079)

I have a decent sized yard and I love flowers. I have a circle in which I plant tulips and after they bloom, I always plant wave petunias in their place. It would be smarter to go with perennials but I like the big splash of clolor. I also plant some in a whiskey barrel and around my mailbox.

Because the arthritis in my hands and neck is so bad, not to mention that I recently injured my back, I was not sure how I was going to do it this year. My husband volunteered but he works so hard that I hate for him to have to spend his time off doing things I used to do. My dear sister, who lives close by, came over today and planted everything for me. Not only that, because she's the artistic one on the family, she combined some colors I never would have thought of combining. I was determined to help out but once I started weeding around the mailbox, it became apparent that my trip to the chiropractor this morning would be for naught if I continued, so I sat on a chaise lounge and talked to her as she worked.
I didn't have to ask her to come. She was here when I got back from the chiropractor. She is, by the way, the most like herself that she's been in years. The doctor has her on a combination of medications that seem to be doing the trick and I am so happy to have 'her' back again. Unfortunately, she's seriously considering moving to North Carolina and I will miss her dreadfully.

I must say, it was rather hard for me to just sit. I've always been the person who does things for other people; not the other way around. But I think I'm doing a good job of accepting my limitations and I'm not wallowing in self pity and not seething with frustration. I wish I could do what I used to do but I can't. It ain't easy but it could be so much worse!

I just had to share this with you, my friends, who have gone through similar experiences with your PF. Mine, by the way, is better than it used to be but planting the flowers always meant a few days of extra pain. Even though I would kneel to plant, I'd still manage to aggravate my feet.

It's odd to be in this position. As the OA progresses, I guess I'll learn to accept my limitations more and more but I'm very grateful for all that I can still do and for the support and love of my family.

Now let's hope we have some sun in New England so the plants will flourish! We were all developing gills from the rain we had in May.

Re: A humbling experience

Necee on 6/04/05 at 00:14 (176104)

What a wonderful sister you have Kathy! I don't have any sisters, just one brother, and I know I'd never see him at my house planting flowers! You are so fortunate, why do I get the feeling that you already know that though.

Enjoy your flowers!


Re: A humbling experience

Carole C in NOLA on 6/04/05 at 07:38 (176105)

Kathy, I'm sorry to hear that you are in so much pain lately! It was sweet of your sister to help, but I know you are pretty independent and would rather have felt able to do it yourself.

NEXT year.... hopefully your back will feel better and maybe then you can manage to do this yourself. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy your petunias, and your sister's company!

Carole C

Re: A humbling experience

Kathy G on 6/04/05 at 09:24 (176108)

Yes, Carole. I'm definitely going to have the tendon graft done on my left hand in October. That's what I said last year but this year I mean it. That could possibly alleviate some of the pain in my shoulder and elbow on that side. My Rheumy said that if you have severe arthritis in your thumb, even if you aren't aware of it, you use that hand awkwardly to guard it, and you therefore affect your elbow and shoulder on that side. He says in about 95% of the cases he's seen, if one has the thumb corrected, then the OA in the elbow and shoulder improve.

My back is much better and I'm going to try hard not to overdo it today so it'll have a chance to heal. It's so stupid. I had that problem with the front loading washer and exchanged it for a super capacity top loader. Shortly thereafter, I developed this pain in my mid and lower back. Since the OA is so bad in my neck, I figured it was developing in my back. Then one night last week, my back really acted up while I was removing the wash from the machine and I realized the pain was due to how far I had to bend to get the wash out!

I feel like an idiot because it took me so long to connect the two but on the other hand, I'm delighted that it's muscular and not OA. I'm exchanging the machine again and getting the front loader back. I'd rather do extra ironing than put up with that pain. What a fiasco!

And I heartily hope that next year I'll be able to plant my own flowers. And maybe go back to crocheting, etc. The doctors tell me that the three vertebrae in my neck will fuse in time, probably sooner than later, but my chiro who has known me the longest, says that he'd bet on later because the more I use my neck, the longer it'll take for the osteophytes to fuse the disks. He says they don't realize that when I say I do my exercises and stay active, I'm really serious! :) Here's hoping.

I'm on more medication on a regular basis and it's helping with the pain. Yesterday, after my sister left, my husband went food shopping for me. I really felt like an invalid but it's only temporary and I'm optimistic. Today, if I feel all right, I'd like to plant a few things in another little garden I have but I'm going to be smart and if I can't do it today, I'll do it one day next weeek.

And yes, Necee, I'm blessed with such a wonderful sister and family!

Re: A humbling experience

Suzanne D. on 6/04/05 at 17:13 (176129)

Hi, Kathy! I'm really sorry that your pain has kept you from doing something you love, but you are smart to know your limits. And how nice that your sister came and put out the flowers for you! I can remember your writing about her, and I know it was a great relief to you to see her doing well and reaching out to do something special for you.

What combination of colors did she choose?
Suzanne :)

Re: A humbling experience

Suzanne D. on 6/04/05 at 17:21 (176131)

I'm glad your back is better, Kathy, and that you figured out what was causing the pain. You're smart to have realized it was caused by getting clothes in and out of the top-loading machine. Hopefully, the front-loader will alleviate that problem, and you probably will figure out little 'tricks' that will help the clothes not be quite so wrinkled when you remove them.

I hope you have a good day tomorrow!
Suzanne :)

Re: A humbling experience

Ed Davis, DPM on 6/04/05 at 18:54 (176136)

My wife is going through some similar problems. It has not worked for me but Zyflammend, a natural Cox-2 inibitor made up of 'neutraceuticals' works very well for her. I beleive it made it to this site a few years back.

Re: information for Kathy

Ed Davis, DPM on 6/04/05 at 18:58 (176137)


I would also do a search for Zyflammend on Google as there seem to be a lot of good comments on it.

Re: A humbling experience

marie on 6/05/05 at 10:43 (176151)

As a gardening enthusiast I know how it feels not to be able to do the things you love most. I had to give up some of my own gardens for a couple of years as I couldn't even kneel down. In fact I knelt once to pull just one stinkin weed and was laid up for 2 weeks. Something my family did for me was to water my plants......I only have perrenials but my roses needed a weekly drink.

Your sister was kind to come over and help you out. It's nice that she has returned to her self.........and is now able to give a little back to the family. You were there for her and now its her turn to be there for you.

best wishes marie

Re: A humbling experience

Buck T. on 6/05/05 at 17:36 (176161)

Hi Kathy: You might think about calling your county extension office and enrolling in Master Gardener program. The course takes about six months and you meet wonderful gardeners. I am a master gardener and we have many folks such as yourself who work on projects. They work on our newsletter, do telephone correspondence, answer the telepone at extension office, do lots of office work at extension office, serve as officers, plan landscapes, show up on projects for moral support, assist county agent teaching in schools, and so on.

Also, our master gardeners go to homes such as yours and volunteer to do the manual work. You might call extension office and ask if there is a master gardener volunteer who can assist you. Look in phone book under county government.

as usual, Buck T.