Friday, March 1, 2013

My how time flies and my first written instructions for a crochet project

My how time flies!  I have tried to stay on top of things but things just seem to get in the way.

To catch people up, our family had an enjoyable visit on CHRISTmas day.  The visit, unfortunately, ended with an emergency room visit that turned into a two week hospital stay.  I was the unfortunate patient for this visit.

We had just finished eating our CHRISTmas dinner at my parents' home when I began to have extremely painful cramps in my stomach.  I had been experiencing this type of pain for over a year, by now, so was not immediately alarmed.  However, things began to deteriorate rapidly.  I asked Michael to take me home when waves of nausea joined the worsening cramps.  We weren't home for long when the nausea turned into other issues.  It was at this point that I realized that this was not normal.  We hurried off to the emergency room, prepared for a long night ahead.

We didn't have to wait for long to be called back, thankfully.  We were in the examination room for a while before tests were ordered and x-rays and ct scans of my abdomen were completed.  It really did seem to go quickly up to this point.  A little while after the ct scan, the doctor on duty stopped in to let us know that I had a complete intestinal blockage that would require immediate (that is a matter of relativity I later discovered) surgery.  At this point, activity came to a complete standstill as the hours went by through to the early morning hours.  Turned out they were waiting for a room to be prepped for me before they would take me to surgery.  Makes sense when you think about it.  After all, where would they put me coming out of surgery if there wasn't a room waiting?  Somehow, the idea of waking in the hallway after surgery doesn't appeal to me.  Even so, this wait was all well and good for me.  After all, I was on heavy duty pain medicine and in a bed.  My poor husband, however, was less fortunate - sleeping while sitting on a rotating stool with his head on a counter.

The next day I learned that the scar tissue in my abdomen from previous surgery (my gastric bypass surgery the most likely culprit) had grown together and pinched the intestines off from my stomach.  This was good news since it meant that I did not have to lose any of my insides other than that nasty scar tissue.  The days of healing did not seem to come.  Every time the doctors came in to say I could go home soon, I would break out in a cold sweat and tell them they would not be sending me home just yet because I was in as much pain as when I first came in.  Finally, someone heard what I was saying.  Monday morning (after another such "discussion" on the previous Friday), one of the surgeons came in to ask me if I was sweating, running a fever or having chills.  My husband and I answered simultaneously "yes" to all three.  Voila!  The doctor now had a distinct idea as to what was going on.  He ordered another ct scan and confirmed his suspicions.  I had developed a pelvic abscess (not sure if that existed before the surgery or was as a result of the surgery) and it needed to be drained right away.  The abscess was large and they had to keep me awake for the procedure so I could tell right away that I was feeling better even during the procedure.  After draining off over 1 liter of fluids and leaving the drainage tube in to send me back to my room, I was ready to ask when I could go home.  I stayed another 3 days before the tube was removed and I was sent home on heavy duty anti-biotics.

I came home on January 7.  11 days later, I found I was on my way back to the hospital for another stay.  Turned out, the abscess was back and meaner than ever.  At the same time, Michael was waiting for relief from some new symptoms.  Michael had previously put a call in to his doctor about having some discomfort in his neck and increasing shortness of breath.  The last time this happened was in July and a heart cath revealed a blockage of nearly 100%, resulting in a stent and him being placed on plavix.  As a heart transplant patient, you can be sure they took this new development very seriously.  A return call from the transplant coordinator ordered him to report to the hospital for a heart cath on the day I was to be released.  Thank goodness my daughter and her boyfriend were available to take him.  Sure enough, Michael had developed a second blockage in another artery and needed another stent.  The cause of the new blockage was not the same as the first.  This blockage was the result of his artery growing new cells.  This, they explained, is a result of chronic long term rejection of the transplanted organ.  Mercy!  Thankfully, the doctors caught it and have a plan in action to hopefully stop and possibly even reverse this rejection.  This was January 21.  I was sent home for the second time on January 22.

My mother took care of my return home on January 22.  I was sent home in a house coat having a painfully placed drainage tube as my souvenir for the second visit.  Michael came home on January 23.  We were a pair to be seen.  Me with a tube coming out of my right buttocks and Michael trying to take it easy after having a second stent placed. A little over 24 hours later, Michael was in the emergency room after being ordered there by the transplant team.  He had woken with severe chest pains and fears were high that he had something going wrong with the stent placement.  Meanwhile, I was waiting for word back from my doctor about increasing pain (excruciating) when my drainage tube was being flushed.  An overnight stay for Michael allowed them to rule out the worst.  Never quite sure what was happening, we were (and are) all just thankful it passed.  I received word that the doctors felt that the increasing pain was a result of the abscess collapsing and was a good sign.  Apparently it wasn't a good enough sign since that tube stayed with me a total of three weeks (one week longer than initially expected).  I will refrain from making any crude remarks about what a pain that was in certain areas, but you can probably imagine that it was not fun.  It was at the two week check up that the doctor told me I could change the way it was being bandaged so that I could find a way to (finally) slip some pants on over that blasted thing.  The last week was a bit easier to endure.  Especially since it was the first time I was able to be out of bed for anything other than a doctor appointment.

So, what has happened to the time since January 25?  It has been spent trying to recover while dealing with new and increasing pain and numbness from all of my back issues.  Michael has been trying to recover while dealing with upper respiratory illnesses and (I suspect) some fears and concerns over having a second stent placed in six months.  That would be enough to scare anyone, much more so a heart transplant patient.  The cloud seems to finally be lifting a bit and life coming to a sense of normalcy - or what one can call normalcy in our home.

Many good things have come of all of our time of trial, but one that stands out is that I have been able to spend some of that time crocheting the days away.  Tonight was the first meeting of our churches prayer shawl committee where I felt well enough to contribute anything.  One thing I was able to bring was an example of a project I had undertaken for myself and Michael.  I had looked high and low for an easy and attractive pattern for "Wristers" (also known as Fingerless Gloves).  Being unable to find one that worked out as well as I liked, I eventually settled on merging a few different patterns into one that I liked.  It was quite easy and goes rather quickly.  The results were quick, easy and attractive enough to be able to include this in the growing list of items that we can make available through our ministry.  I promised to write the instructions for anyone to use and will be adding them to the ministry's group page shortly.  This set of instructions will be included here as well.  I ask that you please be kind and forgiving since I am definitely an amateur when it comes to crocheting and even more inexperienced as a writer of patterns.

I did not come up with these instructions from nothing so would like to give full credit to the authors of the patterns I used in the merging to make my own.  The first pattern I reviewed came from a book I recently purchased called Crochet Boutique. (Author Rachel Oglesby does a wonderful job of providing some new and unique patterns including the one for Fingerless Mitts on page 97.  I absolutely love this book and can see I will wear it out over time of loving care and use.)  The second pattern came from the Lion Brand site at and comes closest to the final product out of the 3 .  The final pattern also came from Lion Brand site at .  These patterns are all terrific in their own rights, they just were not the result I was seeking.  They were, however, excellent tools to teach me about the construction of these neat gifts so that I could alter and tweak them to make the ones I present to you today.  I cannot more highly recommend this book and this site.  They are a true source of inspiration and knowledge for me and I refer to them almost daily.  You are sure to find something there to inspire you and I can honestly say that the Lion Brand site has many other wrister patterns to review.  There may even be one close to the one that I am providing.  I simply ran out of time trying to look through them to find the perfect pattern.

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