Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Cyndie

Morning Scenery

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I got absolutely skunked by Cyndie in our rematch competition of CrossCrib yesterday. Four or five hands and I didn’t score a single point. In one case, she had 40 points before I counted my hand and the points in the crib. No contest from the get-go. I used to pride myself in defensive play but that ploy was entirely insufficient against her cards yesterday.

Cyndie also outdid me in capturing fabulous images of the early sunlight on a walk with Delilah while I exercised my world-class lethargy, staying in bed longer than I care to admit.

Wait. Did I just admit that?

Gorgeous.

It is my great honor to be given the privilege of featuring them on my blog.

Thank you, Cyndie! I’m happy to give up CrossCrib success against you forever if you will keep giving me access to your photo library. đŸ™‚

As if I had any control in that.

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Written by johnwhays

August 28, 2022 at 9:35 am

Her Birthday

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Send love to Cyndie for her birthday today! She is out of town at the moment, so I am celebrating with pictures of us together while she is away. I actually posted these two years ago for her birthday and so this is kind of a not-so-random “wayback” post. I believe they all work just fine a second time around…

 

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Happy Birthday, Cyndie!

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Written by johnwhays

June 4, 2022 at 7:00 am

Full Afternoon

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When we reached the driveway yesterday after a couple of errands in the Cities, I stopped the car to check for mail and let Cyndie move over to the driver’s seat. Her new right knee was no trouble for her as she tested a quick stop and then piloted the vehicle up to the house and into the garage.

She just keeps checking off new firsts every day. After resting with the leg raised and wrapped with the cooling/compression machine while we had some lunch, she made her way out to assist me in getting our landscape pond cleaned up and the pump pushing water over the falls again.

That’s a milestone we were overdue to accomplish. It feels super to have that off our list and even better to again hear the soothing sounds of the splashing water.

Speaking of milestones, yesterday also marked the day Cyndie stopped using a cane when walking.

Activity moved from the pond to the paddocks and Cyndie walked all the way to the barn and back to the house after spending time with each horse and offering to brush them.

I went from the barn to the shop garage where I successfully fired up the lawn tractor for the first time this season. There will be no such thing as “no mow May” at our place. I mowed the two spots around the paddocks where the grass grows fastest.

Two of the more urgent projects on our spring to-do list have been checked off and both happened on the same afternoon. When spring growth finally kicks off, it doesn’t pause to wait for anyone who meant to get some things done before the leaves pop open.

I am thrilled to be able to move on to the next big thing. Friday, weather permitting, we are scheduled to receive a visit from the tree service. That’s another task I am hoping will happen before the leaves all fully open. As it is, that project is already about a week late in terms of the buds popping on branches.

Spring is springing out all over the place, and delayed though the warmth and sunshine may be, higher heat than my body is adjusted to is now showing up in force. I forgot what it was like to move hay around while working with sweaty bare arms.

I was very ready for a shower after the full afternoon of spring projects we successfully handled yesterday.

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Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2022 at 6:00 am

Longest Shot

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We have very mixed feelings about horse racing, given the harsh aspect of the sport taxing thoroughbreds to sometimes fatal degrees, contrasted against the awesome spectacle of the power and beauty of the equine athletes and teams of humans supporting them. The Kentucky Derby race is one of the biggest exhibitions.

Yesterday’s 148th running of the race was epic for the long odds overcome by the winning horse, Rich Strike, and jockey, Sonny Leon. The fact that the horse was 21st on a list of eligible racehorses for a race that only allowed 20 to run right up until the last-minute scratch of Ethereal Road.

The drama of the long-shot win was bolstered by the fantastic way jockey Sonny Leon navigated Rich Strike through the pack from so far back to find space along the rail and outrun the two leaders battling each other unaware of the additional challenger.

I suspect Rich Strike will not be such a long shot in the next race of the Triple Crown series, The Preakness Stakes in two weeks.

Yesterday wasn’t a day when Cyndie did any racing but she did get outside and walk in one direction into the labyrinth at 1:00 p.m. to contribute to the wave of peace for World Labyrinth Day.

She also stepped her way both down and back up the significant hill between the labyrinth and our house, which is an impressive feat all by itself. Between her heroic effort on the driveway the day before, and all of yesterday’s steps, she is looking a lot like a champion in the marathon of knee replacement recovery.

In this case, she was far from being a long shot.

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Written by johnwhays

May 8, 2022 at 10:18 am

Double Shifts

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It’s only been four days since Cyndie’s knee surgery and I’m already longing for the day she can lose the walker, get off narcotics, and become even fractionally more self-sufficient. Between responding to her needs for assistance, becoming the (previously prepared by Cyndie) head food-reheater and server at mealtimes, and covering all of the animal care jobs myself, I’m getting dizzy.

Every time I find myself cast in the role of needing to feed Cyndie, I am reminded why I never looked for work waiting tables in a restaurant. My poor brain doesn’t like trying to remember multiple requests delivered all at once. And thinking about those words, “all at once,” how in the heck do people get the timing down to prepare a meal with all the food ready at the same time?

I find myself repeatedly choosing to feed us one at a time. Assemble a plate for Cyndie and then come back and do it a second time for me.

Cyndie is very patient and understanding, so most of the frustrating pressure I’m feeling is self-induced. I know that. But knowing that doesn’t do much to calm my stress in the critical moment of assembling a meal on the plate for serving. When the stress is magnified by a last-minute request to watch an episode of “Ted Lasso” on the tv monitor brought out to the coffee table by the couch while she eats, my circuits start to overheat a bit.

You see, the computer-to-tv cabling had yet to be worked out so I needed to hunt down an HDMI cable, get the necessary power cables, and then search through on-screen menus to figure out how to mirror the laptop screen to the tv. I could always deal with the audio later.

As it was, I begged to deal with it all later and resorted to simply watching it on her laptop for the time being. …After she had already finished her dinner and before I had started mine.

Last-minute timing is not my strong suit.

I will work on mastering the temporary computer-to-tv setup in the living room later today, once I’ve got all the animals fed and Cyndie’s coffee and breakfast served.

Onward. Double-time.

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Written by johnwhays

April 22, 2022 at 6:00 am

Uncharacteristic Behavior

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Yesterday was a soaking wet rainy day. A good day to nap, which Cyndie did a lot and I did a little. As time passed, I witnessed the progress of Cyndie getting control of the pain that had the better of her the day before. In a prudent attempt to start with the lowest dose of pain medications after the initial anesthesia fully wore off, she ended up getting behind the level of pain the procedure caused.

Subsequently increasing the dosages takes time to ultimately catch up to a desired level of relief. However, once that point is reached, it is possible to move back to the lower dose at precise intervals to maintain the desired pain control. That relief allowed Cyndie more and longer periods of beneficial rest.

Meanwhile, the cold rain presented the horses with their own challenge. I had left the two paddocks open to each other which historically led to Mia and Light being pushed out from under their preferred overhang by Mix. When we separate pairs by closing gates, the two chestnuts have their own side to seek cover without being harassed.

As Delilah and I came upon the horses yesterday afternoon, we found all four horses squeezed under the overhang on one side. With the promise of food about to be served, I knew the congeniality under the one side wouldn’t last. What I didn’t expect was that an odd pairing of mares would happen while I was inside filling the feed pans.

Swings had uncharacteristically moved to the north side and had paired with Light. That left Mix paired with Mia on the south side; the two least expected to get along. I decided to do away with convention and set out feed pans in random order in the spots they had chosen.

For a while, as I cleaned up manure around them and refilled nets with hay, they all munched calmly in those positions. As I was pondering the novelty, it occurred to me that I should take a picture. Before I was able, they rearranged themselves back to the usual positions.

With the chestnuts back together on the north side, I closed all the gates for the duration of the rainy weather.

Just to finish off the oddities of the experience, as I was completing my tasks and preparing to head back up to the house with Delilah, I noticed Light was making things difficult for Mia and she kept retreating back out into the rain. I don’t know what leads to these periods of orneriness every so often but from what I’ve witnessed over time, the horses tend to get over whatever it is that’s bugging them a lot quicker than humans do.

Maybe they were just irritable because they didn’t like being cold and wet. I can’t blame them for that.

I’m choosing to cling to the memory of the brief moment in time when all four of them appeared to be getting along just fine squeezed together under one side of the overhang.

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Written by johnwhays

April 21, 2022 at 6:00 am

Pain Management

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Which is more difficult: Suffering great pain ourselves or watching a loved one suffer pain that we can’t do anything about? It hurts either way. The good news is that Cyndie is home and making great progress in coping with the immediate after-effects of a TKA.

You know, Total Knee Arthroplasty. Geesh. Loosely, arthro -joint / plasty -molding, grafting or forming. Otherwise known as knee replacement.

Progress doesn’t mean mastering. As of last night, I would describe it as the pain having the best of her. Pain: 2 / Cyndie: 1.

My biggest challenge is figuring out how to keep her from doing anything that isn’t helpful to her situation while she is on pain medication. Keeping Cyndie from doing things is akin to herding cats.

She was on the couch resting when I stepped out to walk Delilah and tend to the horses yesterday afternoon. In the fraction of an hour that I was outside, she got up off the couch and worked on hanging up new shower curtains that were delivered to our house on Monday.

That wasn’t something that needed to happen and could easily have waited for me to take care of later.

This kind of behavior makes it even harder on me when she later cries in pain and admits maybe she did a little too much. Ya think?

I’m not a great one for policing her actions in general. How do you stop a perpetual motion machine? As a result, it’s complicated for me when my role in caring for her involves trying to control her activities. She tells me it hurts if she lays too long, so she gets up and walks. Looks to me like it hurts to walk and it hurts when she struggles back into bed.

Thankfully, there was room to increase the dosage of pain meds to manage her comfort at this phase of the recovery.

The saving grace of this knee replacement is going to be the iceless cold compression therapy machine Cyndie rented. Chilled water is automatically pumped through a wrap on her knee and it cycles on and off in programmed intervals.

I was able to watch Cyndie’s initial physical therapy session before we left the recovery hotel and I asked the therapist about how important the exercises are to optimizing recovery. Her answer: they are 100% the key to achieving full range of motion but you must do them all consistently as prescribed and no more than prescribed. Shouldn’t underdo or overdo it.

Hmm. I’m gonna opt out of being in charge of that.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before the pain is managed without narcotics altering her consciousness. It’s challenging enough for me to keep pace with Cyndie’s mode of operation on normal days.

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Mostly Waiting

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Most of my day yesterday was spent waiting. Cyndie did almost the same amount of waiting, but she was anesthetized for part of it and in a pain-management-induced stupor for others. I had the easier job, despite the tedium.

Prepped and waiting, I snapped a shot of Cyndie looking her best in a very fashionable hair net and hospital gown. The procedure was a knee replacement, her second. We filled some of the wait time by chatting with her surgeon and later the anesthetist, who described a very interesting path to choosing his career. He served time on military mobile medical units and also was assigned to rapid response teams that travel to foreign cities where U.S. Presidents fly, providing “in case needed” precautions.

The woman who performed the surgery came highly recommended and lived up to a comment from one of the nurses that she works fast. For all the waiting before and after, the portion of actual replacement surgery took a little under an hour. The doctor came out to report everything went smoothly and suggested I get some lunch while Cyndie sleeps off the residual anesthesia effects. She said it would be at least an hour.

It was closer to two. When they finally called me back to see Cyndie again after she woke up, leg pain was her biggest complaint. Still, they had her up and walking moments later. After more waiting, during which they monitored vital signs and increased her pain meds, the medical transport team showed up to whisk her away to a hotel for overnight monitoring.

The view out her third-floor window:

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Maybe the new knee will turn her into an athlete. Maybe it won’t. At least they were able to make her more comfortable.

Does it show?

They had her hooked up to a machine that ran chilled water around the knee to control swelling and pain. I was allowed to end my waiting and head home to take care of animals and sleep through the night in my own bed. Nurses will be checking on Cyndie all night, something I am very happy the are doing instead of me.

I’ll pick Cyndie up this morning and take over primary care. It’s nice to have had the first night worry-free and know she was under the watchful eyes of trained professionals.

It’s one of the greatest honors of my life to be allowed to play the role of Cyndie’s closest supporter in times of extra need. The waiting part is over now. Let the healing begin!

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Written by johnwhays

April 19, 2022 at 6:00 am

Final Opportunity

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Yesterday was our last chance to tackle any projects jointly –no pun intended– because today is Cyndie’s right knee replacement surgery. This will make it three artificial joints: left knee, right hip, and now right knee. I’m not counting the rebuilt right shoulder, but easily could in the chronicle of significant surgeries of the last ten years for Cyndie.

I blame her Lyme Disease history.

For all the things I can get persnickety about, cleaning tools after every use tends to evade me. This is how the shovels looked when I pulled them out for yesterday’s transplanting adventures:

Good enough for me. I scraped some of the mud off before putting them away last time. At least I put them away back where we could find them again. Putting tools away after use is another habit I wish I was more consistent about practicing.

In our final hurrah at getting things done before Cyndie is put out of action for a while, we started with digging up and transplanting more of our ornamental tall grasses. I’m a tad concerned it was too easy and might end in limited success in the survival of the relocated sections. Regardless, it will be great just to have the old batch pruned down to a more reasonable size.

If we get any sprouts of tall grasses in the variety of new locations it will be a wonderful bonus.

While we were doing some of the new plantings just across the driveway, we became aware of a significant number of wild grapevines entangling the trees there. Unraveling one piece kept leading to another and soon we were on our way to the next project, completely unplanned.

I am always amazed to discover significant vine growth that was happening right before our eyes which we failed to notice despite our ongoing quest to give our trees priority over vines.

After pulling up as many as we could, we headed down to the labyrinth where we are trying to get vines to grow on the gazebo as a replacement to the old canvas that once provided overhead cover from sun and rain.

It is interesting trying to encourage something to grow only where you want after having just violently pulled it out of the ground in a location where it seemed perfectly happy to be.

After tending to the horses together, we moved on to our landscape pond where we removed the winter cover.

Any other outdoor projects Cyndie would normally be tackling this time of year are on hold for a while now. I will be splitting my time between doing what I can outside and being Cyndie’s primary care nurse and full-time driver.

We are sending love to the doctors and nurses in advance and visualizing a flawless procedure that is free of complications. Feel free to join us is conjuring good vibes for today.

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Fan Mail

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It is with great tenacity that Cyndie has undertaken a deep purge of items we have been holding onto for many years. In her case, for more than the years of her life. In addition to things she has from her own lifetime, she has recently processed collections of items and documents from her deceased father and aunt.

Frequently, a question arises about the monetary value of old items. Looking through dozens of old, old books, she found one with a comparable detail that is listed for over $1000.00 in an online rare book site.

The other night, Cyndie opened a box of things she saved that held letters I wrote when we were dating, including when we were contemplating marriage. She saved a great letter I had written when she was away at college. I had found some paper with the classic alternating solid and dashed lines for learning to write the letters of the alphabet. Using a crayon, I precisely shaped each individual letter to write out, “Dear Cyndie, How are you? I am fine.”

In my best infantile handwriting using the crayon, I wrote her name and address on the envelope in too-large, slanting lines.

One of my best efforts.

She found practically ALL of her k-12 report cards. Pretty good grades, but a first-grade teacher lamented that Cyndie falls asleep a lot. Cyndie remembers they were told to put their heads down on their desks after misbehaving and she fell asleep. The rest of the class got up for recess and she missed out, having slept right through it. (For the record, as an adult, Cyndie did a sleep study test and was diagnosed with an uncommon sleep disorder “idiopathic hypersomnolence.”)

The most fun find was mail she had received from TV stars she adored.

The Monkees photo was autographed! I told her it was probably worth money. She looked it up and found the exact image on eBay for $16-17.00. Maybe she should save it a little longer.

If you don’t recognize the black and white headshot, think, “Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!”

That’s Bill Mumy from “Lost in Space.” Cyndie saved the letter and it is such a hoot, I scanned it to share.

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I suggested Cyndie find a current address for him and cut off the bottom portion, fill it out and add the dollar-fifty to give him a laugh of his own.

Finding all this stuff has been entertaining, but keeping it any longer is hard to justify, especially while Cyndie is in the mood to part with it. It has me thinking about people who lose everything in an unexpected fire and suffer such emotional loss of a life’s worth of saved memorabilia. Here we are, voluntarily choosing to purge saved treasures.

Here’s to living in the moment.

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Written by johnwhays

February 5, 2022 at 11:46 am