Monday, March 29, 2010

Cast Free!

I finally got that aweful, clunky, sweaty, heavy, itchy, uncomfortable hard cast off today!  My arm isn't completely free.  It has some more healing to do so I am wearing a soft removable splint and I really can't do much more than I could in a cast.  I have had some noteworthy accomplishments this past week though including: pulling a door open, putting my hair in a pony tail (messy, but still out of my face), and going for a run - all with a cast on!  During my first evening with a soft removable splint I have: gone grocery shopping, cooked dinner, hung up clothes and cleaned my room - all of which I literally haven't done in the past 6 weeks!

Not wearing a cast anymore is definitely great, but now I feel like a poser.  When you are wearing a hard cast (especially a full arm one) people look at you and automatically think, "I bet she broke her arm doing something extreme like Shawn White's spiraling Double McTwist 1260 or punching someone out in a fight. I'd better not mess with her."  When you're wearing a velcro splint people think, "She probably did something stupid like caught her hand in a revolving door.  She's just looking for attention."  Oh well.  I'm just glad it's healing.

My doctor said I should stay in the splint for 2 more weeks, come back for some xrays, and hopefully my wrist will be completely healed.  I can't wait for everything I will be able to do when my right arm is back to normal!

trying to give a thumbs up, but still experiencing muscular atrophy

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Last night I saw the musical Cats for the first time.  I LOVE musicals and this has been on my list of ones I want to see.  The two people I was supposed to go with both backed out 20 minutes before the show, so Stephanie (and her friend Jen) came with me literally at the last minute.  Our seats were pretty high up in the balcony so we couldn't see the details of the costumes, but we did have a great view.

I was a very energetic show full of singing and dancing cats.  When trying to explain it to a friend today all I could say was, "Pretty much each cat came out and introduced themselves and sang a song about their personality.  Then they had a midnight gala.  And at the end the old, reject cat was chosen to be reincarnated by being lifted in the sky on an old tire."  But I feel like there is a deeper meaning to the story since there were cats named Old Deuteronomy and Magical Mr. Mistofelees (a demon in Faust literature) and place called Heaviside Layer (the afterlife). I'll have to keep doing my research.  But going to this show makes me want to go to more musical theater shows in the future!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cold Tangerines

I haven't posted anything recently because nothing too exciting has been going on.  But that doesn't mean life hasn't been great!  My dear friend Laura sent me a chapter out of a book called Cold Tangerines, a collection of essays about the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives.  The chapter is titled "on waiting" and it talks about how too often we are waiting for the big moments and miss the million, billion tiny little moments that make a life, a person.  It's easy to expect our life to be a movie that crescendos to a big moment and ends on a happy, feel-good note.  We're waiting for graduation, a wedding, children, financial stability, retirement, incessant happiness.  All the while we are missing the significance of daily interactions on our street, in our offices and houses, at our dinner tables... life.  We are waiting on our life to start without realizing that it is flying by.

Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines, writes:
I don't want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day... The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab onto and extend to one another. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting... Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you've been waiting for is happening all around you.

So this past week I've relished in every moment: game night, going for a walk, sitting on my porch with friends until midnight on a Monday night, sweet phone conversations with my niece, coloring with the kids at church.  If we were given several shots at life, then these little moments wouldn't be notable. But since this is the one life we have been given, we have no choice but to make the most of every moment.  The chapter on waiting concludes with:
You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mom and Dad in PDX - Round 2

This past Saturday my parents flew up from Texas for their second visit to Portland.  They came last June and experienced the Northwest summer.  This time was a little more relaxing since they had already seen the main Portland sight.  We still did a lot, though.  We ate at some great restaurants (50 Plates, Isabel's, Oba, Elephant's Deli, Papa Haydn's, Mother's Bistro, Hopworks), they visited my church, we roamed around the Portland Saturday Market, spent some time with the Moores, hiked, shopped, toured the Medical Teams International exhibit and offices, snowshoed at Timberline Lodge.  We had a great time!  And showing them around Portland reminded me just how much I love this place!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Short Cast

After being in an aweful full-arm cast for the past 2 weeks, I was so excited to visit the doctor today and get it replaced with a shorter cast.  I haven't allowed anyone to sign my cast because I'm trying to remain somewhat professional (although I know I look like an 8 year old anyway).  But yesterday I pulled out the sharpies and let people go to town on my cast since I was getting it cut off the next day.

So Dr. Chesnutt walks in today and says "Alright, so today we're just going to check to make sure nothing has moved around in there."  I stared at him and said, "And replace this thing with a short cast, right?"  "Uh, I'm not sure about that."  He wanted me to keep the full arm cast on for another week!  "No, you don't understand - you have to cut this cast off.  I let people sign it yesterday only because I would be able to cut it off today!  And I haven't bent my elbow in over 3 weeks!  People constantly think I'm awkwardly waving at them or trying to ask a question."  I begged and pleaded. When I finished stating my case, he and his resident went to confer with the casting nurse about this disputed case.  They finally reached a verdict... and I'm glad to say that I know have a short cast!

It's still a hard cast, but it's below my elbow.  Having a short cast isn't all I was hoping it would be, though.  It's still heavy and the muscles in my right arm have atrophied.  However, the muscles in my left arm have grown with use.  So I look like Popeye on one side and Olyve Oil on the other.  I am trying to keep it in a sling as much as possible so as not to cause further damage or slow the healing process.  But I must say, I've never been so excited to scratch and rub lotion on my arm before!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blood Drive

Today I donated blood for the first time in nearly 2 years.  I used to give regularly at Carter BloodCare (located only in Texas, but no "blood" relation to my family), but haven't been able to give since I first traveled to Uganda.  I am finally eligable to give again since I haven't been to Africa in the past year - bittersweet.  I wasn't planning on giving blood today, but I went to REI and they happened to have a American Red Cross clinic set up.  So not only did I get to donate blood, I also got a REI bag and 15% off coupon for my next visit.

Since my wright arm is in a cast way past my elbow, my left arm was the only option to poke and draw blood from.  The doctor joked about possibly sticking a long needle down into the cast.  Not funny.  It took abnormally long for them to get a whole pint of blood out of me, but I finally filled the bag after about 15 minutes.  Then they wrapped my left arm up in a red bandage, gave me some juice, cookies and a sticker and sent me on my way.  Now I really look crippled with my right arm in a cast and sling and my left arm smeared with iodine and wrapped in a bandage.  Oh well.

Yes, being poked with a needle and having blood drawn is a little uncomfortable, but donating blood is such a simple thing to do and can actually save a life!  Check out places near you where you can donate blood.

Blood Facts
- The average adult has 10-12 pints of blood traveling all over his or her body through the heart, lungs, arteries, veins and capillaries. Blood is an essential part of our bodies that transports oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic waste.
- Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
- More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
- A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
- A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days.
- If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Awesome Things

My friend Carrie introduced me to the website 1000 Awesome Things.  The first time I visited the sight, I had to rip myself away after reading dozens of creative short posts about the simple "awesome" things of life.  Some of my favorite posts are:
- Strategic trick-or-treating
- A really cold glass of water on a really hot day
- Multitasking while brushing your teeth
- Snow falling on Christmas Eve
- When the phone rings and it's someone you were just talking about
- The Kids Table
- Getting through it

Some things that are Awesome to me are:
- recipes stained from so much use
- turning the radio on as your favorite song starts playing
- checking things off your to-do list
- driving with the windows down on a gorgeous day
- holiday coffee creamers
- waking up and realizing you can sleep for a few more hours
- the perfect parallel parking job
- getting snail mail
- big hugs from little kids
- seeing new comments on a blog post

What are some Awesome things to you?