I firmly believe that wait-times in doctors offices and/or hospital waiting rooms are specifically designed to be just a tad long er than they need to be, so that any anxiety the patient has is replaced by boredom.
Young Dr ‘Butcher’, (his name is spelled differently but in the interests of protecting his anonymity we’ll stick with this) was his usual friendly self, and efficient with the local anesthetic injection and the cortisone one. In no time at all Mrs Widds and I were back outside blinking in the morning sunshine like a pair of owls.
Within a couple of hours I noticed an appreciable lessening of the stiffness in the back of my knee, and by bedtime nothing, NOTHING, hurt at all!
It’s not permanent, of course, and I still have to be careful of my knee because in spite of the absence of pain-and-agony, the damage is still there, but Heavens to Murgatriod! This feels fantastic!
My inaugural visit to an orthopaedic surgeon has happened and he was as nice as I’d hoped, (why do they look younger and younger every time I see them these days though?) and the examination was as painful as I feared.
We agreed that full knee replacement was necessary, (both knees actually but my right knee is so banged up that he was happy to start with the simpler – at least from his point of view – one first)
His wait time is around a year. (I wasn’t impressed either, nor was I surprised though, times being as interesting as they are these days) … in the meantime, I’m going to start a series of cortisone injections to reduce the inflammation and pain levels in my left knee. The effects from each shot should last anywhere from 3 to 6 months, which will give me, in the short term, more mobility and range of movement in the joint so I can build up the strength and flexibility in my leg muscles, quads, hamstrings, etc, to maximise the new joint when it comes around.
It’s a good plan, the best one we could agree on given the state of my inner-knee bits.
The first cortisone shot is next week – so, interesting times ahead.
In the interests of educating myself on the intricacies of a complete knee replacement surgery I ventured forth unto YouTube and viewed a spectacularly detailed video of a complete knee replacement surgery, that was accompanied by both audio and closed captioning descriptions of exactly what I was looking at.
It was not for the faint of heart. It was, in fact, excruciatingly brutal. I felt physically ill by the time the video ended. (thankfully the 1-2 hour-ish long surgery was edited down to 15 minutes) However, it was also very informative, and I have a much clearer idea of what is going to happen.
But, yeah, never going to watch another video on knee surgery again. Ever.
We’ve had an influx of Spring fauna here in our little corner of the world.
We’ve heard a woodpecker pecking wood (at least that’s what Mrs Widds told me it was, being from another antipodal hemisphere the only woodpecker I’d ever heard was the cartoon variety) for a few days, but couldn’t spot the wee beasties anywhere … then, lo-and-behold, a pair dropped by just as I was passing a window with my trusty phone in hand … and this is what I captured …
… after the slaking of thirsts and the hunting of bugs was complete they departed, squawking a few choice comments to each other, and to my surprise and delight, they sounded almost exactly like the afore mentioned cartoon character … my gob was suitably smacked!
I’d seen their tracks in the snow, I’d caught them trotting around the corner of the house out of the corner of my eye, but until the other day, they hadn’t been standing still long enough to get a good look at them.
Mrs Widds saw them first, being up and gadding about the house long before I surface at the crack of 9’o’clock in the morning, and came and woke me up … this is what we saw …
Mother Moose – from a distance
Mother Moose – Up close and personal
Twin Baby Mooses in the front yard, about to bolt because they’d lost sight of mum
I’ve been a bit poorly of late but I’m on the mend now, (the not-terrible stage of recovery) so here’s another of my ‘things I have thunked’ posts …
First up, another entry into the Secret Lives Of Inanimate Objects … (that I briefly indulged in, in my previous post)
The tealeaf limped to the edge of the pot, Done in by water too hot. And bravely clung to the lip and looked out, Across the tea-tray that cared not one jot.
For tea-trays thought themselves above all of that, Concerned only for appearances sake. The shape of the jug, the position of the spoon, And the perfectly sliced piece of cake.
Undaunted, the tealeaf persisted, In its quest for the meaning beyond. And it wriggled and squiggled to the tea-tray below And landed before that worthy could respond.
But our tealeaf never got any further, Because the tray was emptied down the sink. And down through the pipes the tealeaf was washed, To the sewer below before it could blink.
Our adventurer was in big trouble now, ‘Cause all manner of monsters lurked down there. Made up of the things humans flushed down their pipes, All bound for who-knew-where.
The tealeaf scrunched itself into a ball, That monsters could never find. And thusly escaping their clutches, Until it was long gone, out of sight and of mind.
(Well, this turned out rather more dramatic than I anticipated. It initially began as part of the internal dialogue my fevered mind kept me awake with during the above mentioned ‘poorly-ness’. For five very long hours one night it was running through showtunes from just about every musical I’ve ever seen – The Sound of Music, (of course – Julie Andrews being my first girl-crush) Brigadoon, Calamity Jane, (Doris Day being a close second) Chicago, Cabaret, Oklahoma, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, (I mean, what’s a good sing-a-long if it doesn’t include at least one song) Phantom Of The Opera, Mary Poppins, (Julie, again) The Rose (classic Bette Midler) just to name a few, and in amongst all that, somehow, the story of the tealeaf was born … anyway, back to the story …)
Long days passed, and alone in the dark, The tealeaf sang every song that it knew. To distract itself from grief and regret, And hoping its spirit to renew.
But tealeaves don’t live forever, No matter how hard they pine. By the time it reached the end of the pipe, It had reached the edge of the line.
As the sun set over the ocean blue, The tealeaf looked out on a vista so vast. Its adventure had ended, as adventures do, And it decomposed, at peace, at last.
But that isn’t the end of its story, For in its breast it had nurtured a seed. That sprouted and grew with green leaves unfurled Until someone called it a weed.
Just as this new life was about to be uprooted, By someone who a gardener, was not. A screech and a caterwaul stayed their hand just in time, And the seedling plantedtenderly in a pot.
It now sits in a sunny corner Of a Garden, on a shelf, with a view Awaiting its uncertain future Which will probably conclude in a brew.
My first visit to an orthopedic surgeon, (a bloke with the unfortunate name of ‘Butcher’) will be at the end of this month, April! … call me gobsmacked! I wasn’t expecting anything to happen for at least another six months.
This visit’s just a ‘getting to know you’ sort of thing … he’ll peer at my x-rays and poke/prod/bend my knees in all sorts of ways they will certainly not approve of … I’ll concentrate very hard on not tensing up as my pain threshold is trampled over … and we’ll discuss the next steps forward.
A little something from Mother Nature to remind me that although the snow has now melted down to only about a meter deep, and it rained wet watery stuff the other day, we’re still only reaching daytime temperatures of around 5°C …
Every so often, when I’m feeling poorly, I ask myself how the bloody hell I manage to get through the worst days … when every sense is surrounded by a miasma of pain, every movement is weighed against how much energy it would take to overcome the physical resistance to voluntarily walking into that inferno?
When all the drugs do is push the pain away so that, although I don’t care so much, I can still feel it? … there’s no magic, (unless it’s the magic of sheer stubbornness) it’s all about the passage of time.
One minute flows into another, an hour passes, perhaps even a day or two.
The dark of the night fades and I unlock my weariness, stick my feet out from under the bedcovers, and stand up again.
Had to have a bit of a chuckle to myself at Spring Equinox … last year (2022) seemed to go on forever, (and we shan’t ever mention the preceding two, ever) but 2023 seems to be galloping along at a breathtaking rate of knots.
Is it just me?
I’d finished vacuuming, and as I was putting the infernal machine/appliance back in its cupboard I sensed an eerie presence emanating from the darkness within. A cold shiver wormed its way down my spine.
Malevolence lurked among the musty old coats and dusty boxes filled with best-forgotten memories.
I wondered, in that strange moment, suspended between washing dishes and preparing dinner, do vacuum cleaners, in their lonely isolation between being let out to serve their creators, dream of world domination?
There are more and more birds flitting about, and soaring across the skies as it slowly warms up now.
It’s not ‘warm’, yet though. We’re still hitting double frozen digits of temperature at night, (and the snow is still piled up in measurable meters, all around me) and I haven’t seen the thermometer get above 5° during the day yet … but the birds have things to do and, well, t’is Spring after all.
One of the things I joust with is how much of my Self to reveal here in these posts. I tend to err on the side of, ‘more is OK but not too much’, but the trick is determining where that boundary sits at any given moment.
This particular post is one I’ve started over and over and not really gotten anywhere with it that I’m satisfied with. (which is why I haven’t posted anything for a bit too long for me to be comfortable with)
Not that I didn’t want to post something but right now it’s a fragmented jumble of thoughts and impressions … each of which is probably worthy of a post in itself.
… never-the-less …
I decided just to wrestle them into some sort of coherent order and leave them as is.
Everywhere I look the snow is so much deeper than I ever could’ve imagined this time last year.
Oi vey! This time last year … we were up to our necks in packing … Mrs Widds had slipped in a wet wooden board and hurt her back something fierce … rain, non-stop, pretty much, since October of 2021 … all I wanted was for the packing to be over, and the rain to stop.
It did stop, but not until we left the Lower Mainland with its failing rainforest climate, speaking both latitudinally and elevation-erly, and our little cottage on an island in the middle of a lake, behind us.
I’m not … I was going to say, ‘I’m not myself these days’, but that’s not true. I’m myself, of course, who else would I be? But the self I am, the Self I’ve become over the last year, isn’t someone who I recognise, who I’m familiar with.
I thought that a bit odd.
Here I am, coming up on 65 this September and I have less of an idea of who I am than in any decade previously … except perhaps my first one. I was an Innocent then, and had no need of descriptors.
I woke up the other morning and it was March!!! When the bloody hell did that happen?
We’re still getting snow up the wazoo, it’s still in the double digits below freezing at night, and some days too, but mostly the days are longer and I feel as though I might venture out from my coocoon … any day now … perhaps.
This is a bit of a compilation of snippets I’ve taken over the last couple of weeks …
If you’re interested in why your weather is going bat-shit bonkers all the time, this might be the website for you. It’s called ‘Severe Weather Europe’, and they deal with the weather patterns mostly from an entire northern hemisphere perspective, with occasional forays below the equator.
I find the posts well written and well researched, (I feel smarter just mentioning them here in this post) and understandable, which is to say they’re not enamoured of the ‘sound’ of their own voices.
Thisis their latest post on the why’s and wherefore’s of the arctic blasts about to roll over North America and western Europe this month.
Any information we can gather to help us plan ahead in these uncertain times is useful, I think.
Perhaps this is what I might do for the next while. Start a post and add anything that might occur to me, and when it’s full, (whatever that means in the moment) post it.
The long and arduous process to have my knee surgery, (both knees need to be replaced, but I’m hoping to do one at a time. There are far too many stairs to be negotiated in this house for me to be completely incapable of traversing them) has officially begun.
Last week I had the first, of probably what will be many, x-rays. (of my knees) The technician was kind enough to let me see the interior condition of my poor beleaguered joints.
The last time I had the opportunity to so was back in 2009-ish, when I had that 16-hour soft-tissue transplant surgery to replace the original cut-n-paste skin transplant that was all that had separated the inside of my knee from the outside. (the original accident happened back last century … coming up on forty years now. Funnily enough though, I still remember so much of it so clearly. It’s amazing the bits and bobs of memory we retain, eh?)
Way back then, (2009-ish) my knees were pretty dodgy, and fourteen years later, they were even dodgier. The time had come, (the Walrus said) to set those poor old long-suffering joints out to pasture and import a pair of new-and-improved ones.
I know quite a few people who have gone through to this process, (waves to Derrick) with varying degrees of success, and having done quite a bit of research over the years, I know what to expect, but still … I found myself wide awake that evening until the wee small hours pondering my mortality yet again. (the last time I had such a mighty ponder was in 2013 when I jousted with, and won against, thyroid cancer) It seems that only very late at night, when the world is at its most still and quiet, the veil between the ‘here’, and the ‘elsewhere’, seperate enough for us to witness some Truths.
By 4am I’d had enough of that, and after a mellowing pot of tea, and toast, I came to the conclusion that the answer to it all is almost always 42. I put my empty teapot and cup away, and went back to sleep.
In other news, I’m deleting some posts from my blog, not because I want to, but because these five posts in particular, are getting, on average, 50 to 100 spam hits per day, and I’m heartily sick of deleting gazillions of the nasty little buggers every week. (some robot, digital or humanoid, probably sold the URL’s to some other robot who sold them to another one, ad nauseum) WordPress is very adept at catching them before they go live but they still clog up the innards of my blog
I’ll take them out of action at the end of the week, (Sunday-ish) so, If you’ve a mind to, you can have a re-read before they only exist in my external drive archives.
Here are the links, for your reading and entertainment pleasure … just click on the title and away you’ll go.
… why these were chosen I’ll never know. Perhaps the answer here, is 42 as well.
The snowdrifts are steadily getting higher. Some I can’t see over the top of now, and true to my word in my previous post I’m not posting a snow video … however, here’s a bit of a shot of a pheasant lass, who just happens to be standing on some snow whilst she contemplates the remnants of the crab-apples stillbravely attached to their parent tree for her morning tea …
… although now that I look closer, she could be a grouse lass, not that I’ve had much to do with either bird though. (I wonder if 42 could actually refer to a species, if so I may have accidentally filmed a new and rare species of ‘grousant’ … ah, we owe so much to Douglas)
Oh well, have some clouds, very high, very cold, and moving along at a brisk clip. (because they’re the harbingers of another snow-storm, naturally!)
But, just in case you’re getting tired of them, this will, (probably … most likely … unless something else very interesting happens) be the last one, because even I, who’s the greatest snow-junkie you’ll ever meet, am beginning to sigh rather heavily whenever I contemplate going out and shovelling it. (playing in it is a horse of an entirely different kettle of kittens, of course)
In this one we’re digging around the trailer prior to scraping the buildup of snow off its roof.
I wax lyrical about other things as well, as you’ll soon see …
One of the, many, reasons I’m currently making a lot of video’s about snow is that it’s everywhere. And not just the flurries and very occasional heavy falls we had back on the Lower Mainland, no, this stuff falls in tens of centimeters at a time, several times a week at the very least, and like yesterday, several times a day.
It fascinates me. It reminds me of all the magic that still resides in the Earth. It brings me Home like no other natural phenomenon can, except for mountains, of course. Give me snow and mountains and I’m a happy little vegemite. (if you don’t know what that last expression means, ask an Aussie)
There was a casualty though. All that shovelling wore a hole in one of my mittens, but with a bit of a darn and a crocheted patch we were soon back to it …
Not perfect by any means, but then again, perfection is highly overrated
Good to go
I can’t help myself … the last one, I promise? …
Late last night I glanced out my study window and saw snowflakes swirling in the wind, dancing across the snow drifts as though they were on a stage lit from above … all surrounded by the absolute silence that can only exist when snow falls.
I call it Snow-Dancing Underneath A streetlight …
I wanted to find a song about slow ‘snow’ dancing but I came across this compilation and it fitted the late-night mood perfectly …
And so, I have re-turned into 2023, hoping most fervently that it be less … perhaps ‘epic’, might be an appropriate descriptor … hoping it be less epic that the preceding year. (one can only sustain such epic-ness for only so long before the cardboard underpinnings of the entire mess collapse beneath one. Up to, and including, spending 3 days in December, at -37C temperatures without indoor running water – not an experience to be envied, I tell you)
This was before the ice turned into a solid sheet
A bit of a close-up – I never really understood what these looked like when I read about such things in books as a kid. Now I do
There were days I wondered if I was going to make it. Not that I ever considered offing myself, but the question of whether I would make it, back here, back to writing, back to blogging, back to being a writer who was writing, reared its unsavoury head more than once. The tricky part about it was that I didn’t have, couldn’t find, an answer.
For most of the second half of last year, since we stopped being wanderers and, oddly enough, finally settled into our lovely house here, I was depressed. (situationally, rather than clinically) Which, wouldn’t’ve been a stretch to figure out given the barely submerged sub-text of my semi-infrequent blog posts during that time.
I’m slowly crawling out of that rather bleak place, thanks in part to the passage of time, the indomitable Mrs Widds, my own ability to self-critique, lots and lots of rest, a twisty sense of humour, and views from every window that are truly uplifting. (not necessarily in that order, but probably in that order)
Trying to capture the uncapturable deep blue colour of a full moon rising over a blanket of snow, with Venus, I think, a tiny sparkle of light, up there near the top of the frame
‘Weary’, is a word I’m using far too often these days. It has crept way down deep in my bones.
Like Bilbo I feel as though I’ve been spread too thin for far too long.
This year’s been a bit taxing, folks.
Nothing that lots, and lots and lots, of rest won’t heal, I’m sure.
May you score lots of loot in ten days time. (if you’re into that celebration)
May the Birth of the New Year in five days time, bring you the double blessing of the release of the old and the renewal of all the good things that warm your heart. (if you’re into that celebration too)
On that note, I bid you adieu for the remainder of this year, and leave you with a piece of music, the second half of which never fails to send me into a most peaceful sleep, wherein perchance I dream …
I went outside to clear a few paths of snow that the 40kph wind gusts last night, had filled in. It was -26 … in the sun. A tad brisk, I thought.
On with today’s thinks that I thunked last night …
It’s not something we thought about when we were wee tadpoles, that the musical icons, the artists, the people who impacted our lives, whose songs moved us and got us through all those hard times, who tend to be a generation older than us, we didn’t think that one day they’ll go and die on us.
As we get older, occasionally accidents, (self-inflicted or otherwise) took some of them away from us, and we mourned, and were perhaps forced to confront our own mortality, our own foibles and addictions, but there was still an aura of indestructability in the air, for us to breathe and take comfort in as we merrily trundled along our chosen Paths.
We weren’t encouraged to think of them dying. (we’re certainly not encouraged to think of ourselves dying, perish the thought!) They were supposed to be immortal, or at least immortalised by their art continuing to be in our collective consciousness after they were gone.
But they weren’t immortal. They faded with time, as the years pile up behind us, as did our memories of why they impacted our lives. And when we heard of their passing, we may have paused a while, smiled a bit whimsically, and said to each other, “Oh, I remember that song,” and along we trundled again.
But now, here, around-about the middle of my sixth decade, it hits harder, some days when I’m feeling melancholy, when one of those figures dies.
Christine McVie … 12th July 1943 – 30th November 2022 … Bon Voyage, and thank you for all the beautiful music.