Sunday, March 22, 2015

Proof of Life.

I've been painting a lot lately.  Lots of scrubbing my arms to get various colors off and throwing on a sweater so my arms don't show.  Lucky it's been rainy and chilly.

My paint choices have been interesting to me.  Although, strangely, not to the people who see them.  I've had so many people say, "That is SO you."  That makes me happy.  I've begun choosing for me.  I'm not sure when I stopped, maybe before I got married, maybe when we bought the house, but there was definitely a time before we came to Texas that I starting choosing the "right" things, the "classy" things.  I only looked at the painted things, the gypsy princess things, for fun.

I like gypsy princess things.  There, I've said it.  I'm a 44 year old, comfortably plump, mother of 3 who adores all those wild colors and textures.  The feast for the eyes that is portrayed in the dusty, sultry, colorful chaos that is evidently going to be MY style.  But it's not just gypsy princess stuff, I love the cacophony of color that a pile of quilts can bring...not tasteful quilts (I mean those are pretty too)...but sumptuous quilts...jewel browns and greens...bright sunshine yellow...and I like them puffy.  And quilts usually aren' least not the ones I've made in the past.

As I paint, I'm discovering how much I like my hands.  Honestly, I've never really thought about my hands much...I mean, I unashamedly bite my nails and have since I was a this society that means we don't speak of them.  But I like them...I like washing a paint brush under water and watching the colors glide through my fingers and splatter on the's beautiful.  I like the feel of wet paint between my fingers or the slipperiness as I accidentally sink my finger into it on the unseen side of the piece I'm picking up.  The end of a project...all the colors on my fingers and hands and brush...feels like a tangible glimpse of history.

I like the medium that is paint.  It's messy and hard to remove from places it touches.  It's semi-permanent so it leaves it's mark.  I've known this about me for a long time, this joy in leaving a mark.  I have a plastic table cloth that I've used for projects since before my kids were born.  If those stains could speak, they would remember the laughter...the mess...that was my life...and my family's life in that snapshot of time.

I like the first coat of paint.  The one that you can still see through.  It's the first time the you decide whether you will love or hate the project.  If it's pretty good, you know that a second coat will just make it better...and if you hate it?  Well, why bother with the second coat? May as well pick a different color. 

I LOVE that paint is easily painted over.  It speaks to my inner Anne Shirley, "Hey look, a new day, no mistakes in it" nature.  There is very little that has ever been painted (speaking of walls and furniture NOT your beloved Dali) that can not just be painted again.  It's very forgiving that way.  Sand it down, slap on another coat.  And yet, the paint that was there never completely goes away, it's just covered over. I love that I can see that other people who painted lived here before me...I can see it with every outlet cover I remove to paint behind...the brown that used to be in the kitchen, the darker brown in the nook, the dark blue in the game room, the bright green in Monkey-Face's room. 

I love the second coat.  The one that WILL be there until you paint it again.  The brush strokes and finger prints that prove that on some Sunday afternoon you were there, listening to music, maybe dancing and singing a long, leaving your mark...your proof of life.

People don't often think of walls or painted furniture as art.  So often we look at a space and think, "Man, it is TIME to repaint," and I'm not denying that a fresh coat of paint does wonders for sprucing up a place or a piece.  But I'm starting to wonder about the hands that held the brush before me.  The layers before mine.  I'm at least the third layer of paint on my walls...probably the fourth, because it is clear to me that the paint went from bright to neutral before me, and I would bet just from the evidence left on the popcorn ceiling that there was a neutral before the bright.  So builder, home owner, painter (probably, or skilled friends of home owner, because that neutral layer was done far better than the one before it) and then me.  That's actually quite a few brush strokes.  Quite a few lives that have touched my house, if only in passing. I wonder what they were thinking when they painted.  I wonder what they are doing right now.  How has their life changed since they stood in my living room painting the walls that would become mine.  There is so much left to imagine in the layers. 

I think that may be what I love the most about paint...The history.

My life is full of layers.  It's full of memories and experiences that overlay one another.  Good follows bad, joy follows sorrow, an ever turning wheel that I can not and would not change.  My Bible, my journal and now my walls are full of my prayers.  When I close my eyes, I can see the moments, hear them, the layers of people that have built up like paint around my soul.  I'm thankful for them...those people who are part of who I am...those ones who have made a mark that will never wash off.  In so many ways, I am their proof of life...and they are mine.

See ya around...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Just a little update...

I got the chance to talk to the people at Scottish Rite yesterday.

They said that the MRI shows an osteochondral lesion...go on kids, go look that up...basically it means that some of the cartilage that covers the femoral head is worn, probably because of the mis-shape of the bone, and because it's worn it's causing pain...just like old people arthritis. 

They want to do a Hip Dislocation Surgery...which is exactly what it sounds look at the femoral head to see if something can be done to cut into and reshape the femoral head.  Once it is a better shape they can smoosh the cartilage back on there so that it covers where all the pointy parts were so that everything is cushy and comfy again.

Okay, so maybe I'm paraphrasing a bit...

There are some big old answers to prayer if this is the surgery that they go with.  The anticipated recovery is much better than we had hoped.  Sounds like full crutches for 6 weeks and crutches for long distances and as needed for about 3 months...but then she should be good.  No wheel chair.  No walker.  I asked especially because she does NOT want to be in a wheel chair if possible, apparently the fascination has completely worn off on those modes of travel.

That's all the news that is news.  I only talked to the nurse, as her doctor is out of town, so we still aren't positive this is the final surgery.  We won't have another appointment until May 13th.  Beanie is a bit disappointed with the date being so late because it may mean that she will be unavailable to compete at the state level with her 4-H Food Challenge team at the beginning of June...but we will see.  It would be a disappointment for sure...but to get this over?  Oooh...that would be so good...

The Winning Dish - Poached Egg Surprise with Herb Crusted Onions

See ya around...

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This, That, and an MRI

How to start.

Seriously, I've written at least six beginnings and accidentally dumped two started posts.

I suppose I should begin by saying that we went to Scottish Rite again yesterday to have an MRI on Beanie's right hip.  I should also say that at this moment we know absolutely nothing.

As I stare at this blank page, fingers poised over the keyboard, I find that I've forgotten what I've actually told you.  I think of the audience for the blog as different people than the audience/community that is Facebook.  I know that you are by and large the same people.  I find myself writing on the blog for different reasons.  I actually write here for my family mostly.  It's funny, in a way, I write for my grandmothers, both deceased, who did read it.  I know that for a long time I had a few friends that were just bloggy...I don't even know who I'm writing to anymore.  Maybe you all know this already.  I do know that I write HERE to find it again.  This is the closest thing to a memoir that I may have.


Have I told you that I'm divorced?  It's been two years and 5 months since anyone has called me a wife.  

Have I told you that Bean is almost 16 now and pestering me to let her drive MOST every time we leave the house?

Have I told you that Bear is an incredible just-turned-twelve-year-old who still cracks me up most of the time and who has become such a great hair stylist/make up artist that I have to check her before I plan to leave anywhere so that she doesn't LOOK like a 24 year old...because she's 12, darnnit?

Have I told you about my baby, Monkeyface?  Do you know that she is a fish tank owner and drawer of many things and is one of the best huggers on the entire planet?

 Have I told you that I have a ten month old gigantic puppy that I've named Teddy the Wicked?

Have I told you that we are happy most days?  Finally.

I don't know that it matters.  But for the record, y'know, maybe understanding my viewpoint today might help me (us) to understand where I am should you be reading only the Legg Perthes posts.

So over the last few months Bean has been having some increasing trouble with her right hip.  It started with a pretty awful locking incident when we were on a family trip to Arizona last July (2014).  Then the girls went to Colorado with their daddy in October of 2014 and Beanie had quite a few problems that she "dealt with herself" because she's a teenage girl who WON'T bother her father.  I wish she had because they hiked the WHOLE trip and she didn't tell him.  He would have chosen differently had he known.

Sometime around Christmas, it was getting too much for her to handle alone.

After I knew what she had been dealing with, I called, got an appointment for the standard visit, X-Rays, conversation with our doctor etc.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  At that visit, the bones looked about the same, meaning that more than likely something has changed with the soft tissue.  Perhaps a tear or some other damage. It is finally time to explore a surgical option to address the many issues of this hip.

I count March 7, 2007 as the beginning date of this disease for us.  There was some stuff before that, but March 7, 2007 was when we had a diagnosis of Legg Perthes in the left hip.  March 7, 2009 is when we had the diagnosis of Legg Perthes in the Right hip.  She did a photo shoot back then in the very same room that we were in yesterday...same baby doll, same little pretend MRI. 

Today is March 3, 2015...we are getting pretty close to 8 years of this.  This is only the second time since that first diagnosis that we've been in a position to consider surgery.  The first time we considered it was within the first few months of diagnosis.  It was terrifying back then.

Now, to a certain degree, it's about time.  Beanie at 15 is not the same person that Beanie at 7 was.  She has grown into an incredible young woman.  She always was, but chronic pain has shaped her differently than anyone that I have ever known.

Don't get me wrong, she's still a teenaged girl with all her silliness and crankiness.  She still argues about things that are pointless.

But she is calm, and ready, and unafraid (mostly).  Or, at the very least, knows how to stick her chin in the air and carry on...Oh, to be more like her.  Maybe when I grow up. ;)

The MRI was yucky...and okay.  They had to inject a contrast dye directly into the hip.  They also injected her hip with pain killer and then a further steroid that should kick in in a day or two.  BUT...the doctor (whose voice reminded both of us of Jane Lynch, so much so, I had to look at her face when she talked or I couldn't concentrate) told her that no matter how much pain reliever they give her, "bones don't like to be poked" and that it would be "uncomfortable".  Beanie said that was the only part that really hurt.

Leg Perthes kids are BEASTS when it comes to pain.  Seriously.  If SHE says it'd put the rest of us on the floor cryin like a little girl.  I don't want to know what "REALLY hurts" feels like.

The only other part that was hard was being still.  They were dealing with that Right hip, but she's also got that Left hip that doesn't like to be held completely still...and so that obnoxious thing, not to be ignored, "locked" up while she was laying there.  When she told the tech, the tech said that she couldn't move it without starting over.  Given the choice to move and begin again or be still...Beanie toughed it out. 

BEAST, I tell you.

So that's where we are this morning.  Waiting to see what's next.  I'm struggling to let her deal with it all as an almost-woman-growed while still feeling very much like a momma-bear.  I wish I could say that I was completely at peace with whatever may come...but let's be real, shall we? 

If you are praying, and I hope you are, pray that we get the "good" answer.  I don't know what that is, for me the one that causes the least pain and the quickest recovery...for her...she wants to be able to softball...ride a a "normal" the one that FIXES that stuff.  I'm not doing the research that I did originally.  I just don't have it in me.  Maybe I will once the options are all on the table, but for now, I'm riding the 8 year relationship we have with our doctor and the trust that my Lord, who has been with her from the very start, will lead us to the next place.  I'm trusting He will give her the stamina to survive the pain and recover...and that He will provide the strength for me to be able to support her physically should she be non-ambulatory.

I'll keep you posted.

There is no good place for this in this post, but Bean and I had some time to ourselves yesterday so we decided goofing off with a song that we've been playing with for awhile would pass the time.  Like I said, this is a remembering place...I want to be able to find it again, for me. 

See ya around...