Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘healing

Multiple Gifts

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It may seem like backward logic, but we really view guests visiting Wintervale as a gift to us, in contrast to visitor’s thinking of it as a gift to them to be able to immerse themselves in the peaceful aura of our forest, fields, flowers and animals. We all win!

Preparing the grounds to accommodate a stroll, otherwise known as “mowing the grass,” is something that needs to be done anyway, but it is a little more fun to do when I know someone is coming soon. It is way too easy to let things slide if Cyndie and I are the only ones who are going to see it. So, expecting guests is a form of inspiration.

Of course, the other incentive is that there is so much to be done that I don’t dare neglect any one thing for too long or the whole operation would get away from us.

We have other gifts to be thankful for today. We are enjoying the gift of healing as Cyndie continues to make progress recovering function after her shoulder surgery, and I am enjoying the gift of her being able to once again handle the power trimmer.

She took it upon herself yesterday, while I was out on the lawn tractor, to start the engine and get the trimmer over her head and onto her good shoulder. I asked how she got it started.

“It was hard. I had to stand on it and pull the cord with my left hand.”

Once she has it running and in position, holding the handlebar and swaying the business end to and fro actually puts very little stress on her weak shoulder.

We will be picking up momentum now in a push to conquer the relentless growth of summer and get the property ready for a busy month of Wintervale workshops. With Dunia Morales graciously offering to come from Guatemala to help lead sessions with Cyndie, we are looking to recover some business from the shortened summer of shoulder repair.

What a gift!

We are lucky to have so many.

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Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2017 at 9:51 am

Successful Surgery

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We are happy to report that Cyndie’s surgery was all good yesterday. There were no complications in the 4 objectives of cleaning out the arthritis, removing a spur, cleaning up the rotator cuff, and reattaching the ruptured tendons.

The outpatient procedure allowed her to be home by the end of the day, where she immediately began experimenting with our variety of chairs and couch in search of a favored perch. Pain management was easy last night, as the nerve block hadn’t yet worn off and the whole arm down to the hand was without feeling.

Today will likely be a bit more challenging for her, we presume.

They had her strapped into the brace before she even woke up from the procedure. She will wear it for the next 6-weeks, except for taking showers.

Quite a fashion statement, don’t you think?

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Written by johnwhays

June 14, 2017 at 6:00 am

Better Place

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As happy as we were with Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater, after 2 days it was beginning to feel like a hospital and we were ready to get Cyndie home to recover in the comforts of home. There really is no place like home.

To make it seem even more like a hospital, it took several hours of waiting, and then waiting some more, for staff to process the discharge order. It’s odd how exhausting it can be to sit and wait for an unknown amount of time.

Cyndie is in a better place now. Let the mending and strengthening commence!

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Written by johnwhays

December 3, 2016 at 7:00 am

Yes, Shingles

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For all the personal detail I freely display in my posts on a regular basis, I found myself holding back recently from blathering on about the daily progress of my shingles outbreak. I think part of it was a hope of saving you from frequently repeated lamentations over the pain and suffering I was enduring, but another part of it was my plan to give this affliction as little attention as possible. My intent was to get over this quickly and with a minimum of symptoms.

It all started on the Monday after I had trimmed dead wood from our apple tree and a nearby maple tree, using a pruning saw on an extended pole. It seemed entirely logical that I would feel sore muscles in the area of my torso after the workout I had done the day before. Upon a feeling of even more stiffness the next day, I became more assured my discomfort was a function of delayed onset muscle soreness from the weekend’s exercise.

By Wednesday I was growing normalized to the soreness and stopped thinking about it. After my shower in the evening, I noticed a red spot on my abdomen, but it didn’t mean much to me at the time. However, it seemed odd when the redness was still there the next morning. Without previously having had the slightest inkling that I might be getting sick, when I saw the spot still present in the morning, I reacted by lifting my arm and turning in the mirror.

How did I suddenly know?

DSCN4519eThere were enough splotches in a line around to my back that I instantly thought, “Shingles.” When I got to work I did a little research and checked in with my clinic back in Wisconsin. They directed me to immediately visit an urgent care site near my workplace. The doctor there did little more than listen to my description and look at my torso before confirming my self-diagnosis.

She prescribed an anti-viral to be taken 3-times a day for a week, to minimize and hopefully shorten the duration of my symptoms. She asked what I knew about shingles and began to describe the varying levels of hell that can occur.

I interrupted her to say that I did read that some people may not have severe symptoms. When she nodded in acknowledgement, I proclaimed that I would be one of those people, so she didn’t need to bother describing the worst it could get.

For the most part, I would say I achieved my goal of not having the rash erupt in multiple waves of increasing severity. It got worse for about 3 days and then began to slowly recede. There is still some residual visual evidence left, but my skin is mostly healed. The deep (what felt like muscle) pain was a chronic annoyance for about 2-and-a-half weeks, but seems to be fading now.

I’m so close to being done with it that I want to claim victory. There is just one small problem. Even though I succeeded in willing myself to the easy end of the shingles spectrum, it appears that I am getting a good dose of a common complication: post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN).

The most common complication of shingles is a condition called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). People with PHN have severe pain in the areas where they had the shingles rash, even after the rash clears up.

The pain from PHN may be severe and debilitating, but it usually resolves in a few weeks or months in most patients. Some people can have pain from PHN for many years.             ——–cdc.gov/shingles/about/complications

I wouldn’t exactly call what I am feeling as pain. It is more a hyper-sensitivity. At times, it feels like a sunburn on my skin. Other times it feels “crawly” like having a fever. I get frequent shivers, and the act of shivering is uncomfortable. I want to avoid it, but I can’t.

So it’s that kind of pain. Not so much a “hurt,” as a very uncomfortable nuisance.

Yes, that’s my version of shingles.

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Send Love

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Over the weekend we learned of friends whose long-term relationship is in crisis. As disorienting as it certainly is for them, Cyndie and I were knocked for a loop ourselves. It quickly became the focus of our thoughts. We wanted to help in any way possible, but beyond offering unconditional support, we cannot solve their problems for them.

That doesn’t prevent us from wishing that we could.

CandJWe’ve been there. We know that life on the resolution side of dealing with crises holds potential for innumerable possibilities. To get there, the path requires dealing with the darkness and trauma of immediate difficulties, while simultaneously allowing space for the manifestation of yet-to-be-imagined better outcomes to be had.

It is a matter of maintaining an understanding that the most trying challenges are not as all-encompassing as they can seem in the moment. The emotions we experience are very real, and though powerful they may be, emotions simply hold information to help us find our way. They do not constrain all aspects of the matter at hand.

The reality of situations is not limited to the way we are feeling in any given moment.

We have to heal ourselves and we have to heal our relationships. It may be hard to accept, but there is a gift to be claimed in the wounds that we experience.

We cannot do the healing for others, but we can hold them in our thoughts and send them love.

Cyndie and I are doing just that with great conviction today.

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Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2015 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Little Things

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In the long, slow transition to normal after an invasive surgical procedure like Cyndie’s hip replacement, little things like putting on socks and shoes, or climbing our spiral staircase become significant landmarks that have a huge impact on our perceptions. Yesterday we enjoyed a day that felt notably normal, other than the fact that I had to drive Cyndie to a hair appointment in Hudson.

She is experiencing increasing success in dressing herself and walking, as well as telecommuting to meetings at her school district job. Her sleep is greatly improved, which is giving her increasing energy and improving her overall outlook. Having Cyndie’s sunshine back is particularly rewarding for me, especially during this period when the weather has been nothing but gray. I am realizing how burdened with discomfort her countenance had grown in the months and years leading up to this.

While we were out yesterday afternoon, we stopped for an early dinner at Keys Café in Hudson. The restaurant boasts the byline, “the food you grew up with,” which is a good description of how it tastes, to our Minnesota-raised palates. Everything that we have eaten there in the half-dozen odd times we’ve been to the Hudson site has tasted like it was prepared by someone who cares like only a mother would.

I am particularly impressed by the fact that this is just a satellite location, 1 of 9. Their expansion to multiple locations has not led to any deficiencies in their kitchens. I wouldn’t describe the menu selections as fancy, but the food we have received is anything but simple. Every bite is “oh-my-gosh” delicious.

IMG_iP0693eAfter a meal like that, driving home satiated to greet and feed the horses had us feeling overwhelmingly blessed and content with every little thing that has been going well in the last few weeks.

In the last seconds before needing to leave for that appointment yesterday, I finished setting out and filling the second slow feeder hay box I built. This time I was able to set it up while the horses were watching me. Sure enough, Legacy approached soon after I arrived to supervise my efforts more closely. I was very happy to allow them the opportunity to not be startled by the sudden appearance of this strange new object.

I ran up to the house to put Delilah in her kennel, get the car started, and guide Cyndie to her seat in the nick of time. As we descended the driveway past the barn, I turned to see if they were all up eating out of the new boxes. Nope. In that short amount of time they decided the grazing would be better out in the back pasture.

I chose not to take that personally.

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Written by johnwhays

December 18, 2014 at 7:00 am

Monumental Improvement

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Tuesday morning I received the most wonderful news from Cyndie as she made her way down the hall from the bedroom after waking. I expected from the sound of her voice that the message was going to be good, but she caught me by surprise with how good.

It wasn’t simply that, for the first time since her hip replacement surgery over two weeks ago, she had gotten a good night’s sleep, it was the best she has slept in years! I do believe she is experiencing the improvement that so many people have described to us after having gone through their own similar surgeries.

The pain from that old arthritic joint is gone. Her description of the improvement helps me to better grasp how much pain she has been living with, and for how long she has been struggling to endure it. As often as I witnessed her pain in person over the years, I still lacked an accurate sense of what exactly she was dealing with.

She hasn’t even enjoyed a good, full night of sleep in years. Her amazing ability to cope with it as well as she has all this time had led me to interpret it as not being that major a problem. The sudden return of the light in her eyes and joy in her voice has opened my eyes to the fact of how much her spirit and energy have been repressed for far too long.

She seems so much better now that I am wondering if maybe I should look into a lower back replacement for the days my degenerating discs make me uncomfortable. She’s doing that well!

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Written by johnwhays

December 3, 2014 at 7:00 am