Friday, April 13, 2007

Shabbat Shalom

Gerry's bone scan was pretty quick - he asked for a wheelchair, and that's not a usual thing, but I'm glad that he's willing to accept the help. It was SO lovely here today - sunny and warmer - with a promise of even warmer weather this weekend.

No word on what they discovered in the scan, and we're not scheduled to see the oncologist again until Friday (soonest we could get in, he's a busy guy with a VERY full waiting room) so we wait. And I knit in waiting rooms and thrill and amaze the nurses. And Gerry suffers. And I go for drives so I can bawl without scaring the kids or depressing Gerry.

I took a drive to Uline here in St. Paul to pick up some new supplies (how cool that I can do that and not pay for shipping!) then off to the hardware store for some welding rings for my Vogue project. Oooh, that sounds either very scary, or very cool. Let's just say that - once again - it will not be a design that folks consider dispassionately.

I spent a good part of the day chasing down $ from folks who owe me (never fun) and explaining why email is a very good thing for a business person (phone calls, while personal, can be interpreted however the hearer wants to interpret them - there's nothing like the written word to force folks to clarify their expectations and reduce future tension) THAT was a frustration.

Ah, crap, everything is a frustration some days.

I let my Dutch side go nuts today and took all the storm windows down. I currently have about half of the screens up, the kids will help me do the rest of them tomorrow. These are the old fashioned kind, that swing from the top of the window outside the house and then lock in place with a little lever mechanism. Once I got the hang of it, it wasn't hard (the hardest part was how HEAVY the windows are - that old glass is THICK!)

When I think of how - in other years - I have relied on Gerry to do stuff like this I'm a bit ashamed of my "helplessness", and proud of my current ability to just GET DONE what needs to be done. I must be eating my powdermilk biscuits. A friend dropped off a book explaining how to open up a window to fix the sash rope, and I'm going to give it a good college try this weekend on two of our front windows (I bought the cutest little crowbar for the job along with the welding rings. The crowbar will NOT be in Vogue Knitting.)

Tomorrow I'll shop for a shed - I'd like to find a nice looking one that will blend in with the house and our adorable garage (see the picture!), but I need a place to put these darned windows and I just can't stand the thought of losing that much garage space! Besides, we'll need a place to put the fine push-mower that we're going to buy (we have a small yard - no need for a power mower.)

Hannah bought seeds while we were at the hardware store - Blue Delphinum and Cupid's Dart. I have the original brown thumb, but my father's mother was an amazing gardner, and Gerry's mom keeps a lovely garden, so perhaps Hannah's inherited some skill that passed me by?

Yep, if I keep all of this home-work up, it may become my new exercise regime!

I'm VERY late with a promised project for a dear, dear friend. I WILL make it tomorrow, and then send it FedEx so she'll get it Monday. I will. I will. I promise! Tomorrow will be a good day to sit in the sun at the park and knit while the kids run amok & rollerblade.

When my mother visited me in Brooklyn we rented a wheelchair so we could show her the promenade and take her around the neighborhood. She fought it, hated the idea, but once she was in it she really enjoyed being able to 'keep up' with the young'uns.

I'd like to rent one for Gerry so that we can go to the park, or to the museum, and he can keep up with us and rest while we push him around. Everything is so painful for him, though - being pushed around may not be the most fun thing in the world for him. But I want him to see the kids discovering the twin cities this Spring. I may want too much.

I'm guilty of not going to temple at ALL since we've arrived here. Tonight I was going to take the kids to Shir Tikva, but I became so exhausted with all that had to be done today that I tossed in the towel and spent the evening working on designs and resting.

Next weekend - I promise - temple ... At this rate the kids won't be b'nai mitzvah'd until they're 42.


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posted by Annie at


Blogger She-knits said...

I just began blogging- and just started blog surfing (typed in knitting) and what comes up Shabbat Shalom ...after i type in knitting...what?? Well being Jewish myself and a knitter I was compelled to click....well to have it end upbeing you...the one and onlt Annie Modesitt...I will be hones and say I was a bit star struck...but then I read your post and just can only say I am sending you the most heartfelt positive thoughts filled wih healing for Gerry and some kind of peace for you and your kids- I hope it comes through to you as you sit at he park on Shabbat and knit....thinking of you Annie

April 14, 2007 12:47 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Annie, I would recommend that you phone Goodwill Industries. Sometimes they can loan out equipment like a wheelchair while someone needs it. Then you return it when you don't need it. My mother has a Hoyer lift (not sure of spelling) to use for my Dad. It's on loan from Goodwill. And she's had it for months.
Chin up - not knowing what you're dealing with yet is a difficult stage. But health care is great in the Twin Cities...and Mayo Clinic is down the road 90 miles ...just keep that in mind.

April 14, 2007 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Replacing the sash cords isn't difficult, it's just a dirty job (think many decades' worth of dust and gunk in those cavities) and kind of a pain. Once you figure out how to get *into* the sash cavity it's smooth sailing from there. Good luck!

April 14, 2007 7:44 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

I'd love a tutorial on the sash cavities. I've avoided fixing those in 2 different houses now!

Gut Shabbes, Annie. I am hoping you have a bit of peace today and that knitting in the sunshine brings you some comfort. When you get a chance, you might want to make an appointment to see a rabbi at one of those shuls you mention. You need some support too, and that's what clergy can do. Not just visits to hospital beds, but support for family members and for families...even if you're not making it to services or religious school. In fact, not to pressure you, but if you're able to join someplace, letting them know that you are in the middle of an illness would be a good idea. Some congregations have incredible support systems--not just casseroles but people to help with your kids and to offer you comfort of all kinds.

When your special Shabbes Neshama (extra soul) comes to see you this Saturday, may it offer you more than Shabbes spirituality, I hope it brings you hope, reassurance, and peace.

April 14, 2007 8:17 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

My heart and prayers are with you, Gerry, Hannah and Max. I've experienced the "driving to have a good cry" and trying to keep a stiff upper lip in front our son when my husband was ill. When I heard the saying "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle" I knew we were strong enough to get through it and we did. And you all will too.
Aack! Windows with ropes inside! My house had those and there were a few times we were happy we weren't sticking our head out the window when the old rope snapped and the window came crashing down!
Stay Strong Annie!

April 14, 2007 9:30 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I bought a Toro lawnmower (the lower priced model) at Home Depot when I needed one for my little yard. Note - check the manual of any lawn mower to find out how much oil the tank holds. Apparently, that's how much needs to be put in the first time. The lawnmower came with a 1 quart bottle, which I figured was the right amount. Umm...not so much. This is what comes from not teaching women about engines and guys just seeming to know about them.

Anything I could say about Gerry's condition would be woefully inadequate. I second sue's comment about the Mayo clinic. My friend's newphew was treated there for leukemia (and is fine now) and one of my friends was treated there for a particularly deadly breast cancer and she's fine now too (she was even able to have a baby after it was all over - which apparently is very unusual).

April 14, 2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog friends have provided some useful ideas. Good people! And I completely understand about getting things done yourself. I have trouble asking for help, and tend to be the one on the roof or up the ladder. I'm lighter and smaller. It's very satisfying to be able to accomplish things. All the best to the four of you.

April 14, 2007 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Penny said...

Just another suggestion on wheelchair (or other equipment) loans - the Easter Seal Society provides a variety of items and offers medical transportation at a nominal fee.
I wish you all the best of luck.

April 14, 2007 4:12 PM  
Blogger Mia said...

Wear a mask when you open the window cavities. There will be plenty of dust.

Look and see what the local American Legion has available. They have stuff to lend out. Instead of a wheelchair, look at one of the little battery operated carts like you see int he stores. My mother's was around $300. They are really nice and come apart to travel with. Plus the user has the freedom that they need.

And lucky you to not have to pay for ULine shipping you a copy of the catalog along with your order.

April 14, 2007 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annie, Check with the Lions club or some other groups in the area the lions usually have chairs and medical aides for loan for people that need them temporarily. You have been my hero since I discovered your combination knitting tips and book. I am a left handed combination knitter who also didn't know it until I found you. Thanks for the inspiration and know there are a lot of people out here with your family high on their list of thoughts and prayers

April 14, 2007 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings, Annie. I took a class from you in philadelphia at loop...
Having been an oncology nurse for 18 years as well as the mother of a daughter with a blood disorder, i would like to offer a few words. What you are going through right now basically sucks. You have no choice but to do your best but it still sucks. Everyone tries to give it some silver lining because I think that it mades them more comfortable but it can leave you with a pit in your stomach.

Be careful about digging things /construction at your house because if Gerry needs chemo a lot of the fungus, molds etc could cause him terrible infections. Buy purrell now (shown to be more effective than handwashing) and encourage everyone to be meticulous in using it.

Know the signs of pain. Irritability is common. There are lots of pain medications out there that will not made him loopy and it will improve his enjoyment and outlook on life. Some hospitals have physicians who specialize in pain management - maybe you should consider this.

Do not be afraid to use an antidepressant to help you cope with the stress and anxiety. They can help you to think clearer and make better decisions.

Consider renting an electric scooter for Gerry. That way he can control his own movements when you are out. In fact you may have to jog to keep up. I think that a man this age would really want that independence and if you decide to buy one you can always sell it if you don't need it anymore.

Everyone out there - please take pleasure and be greatful for the ordinary. its something we so take for granted but the truth is is that everyday life is quite extraordinary.

Hang in there Annie. And at your worse moments know that time will continue on and you will survive and find pleasure some how again.

April 15, 2007 11:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And thank God for knitting, it serves as sanity many times in our lives, and all those knitters for centuries know this.

April 15, 2007 4:16 PM  
Blogger peg said...

Dear Annie,
Another reason to get in touch with your congregation -- the possibility of a wheelchair to borrow. Many families of departed members of my church donate no-longer-needed medical equipment for the use of other members. If your temple has such a program you might be surprised at what they have.

My prayers for you and your family!

April 15, 2007 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joanne, that was a lovely post.

Annie, my cousin may be the first person actually cured of MM - 8 years past her bone marrow transplant, and still in full remission. I believe they went to Arkansas for treatment. They have the $$ to go anywhere, so this place must be top-notch.
Email me at fiberlicious at gmail dot com if you'd like me to find out more for you.

April 15, 2007 9:45 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Both you and Gerry have been in my thoughts since I started reading. I pray for both of you regularly. This post is a blast from the past for me: I, too, haven't been to temple in much longer than I care to admit. I've never taken Jacob (he's 2 1/2) b/c I'm afraid of what kind of scene he'd cause in the middle of services. I went to a Jewish Day School so I got to say minyon every day five days a week for 8 years; I figure I've got some temple time banked...LOL My bat mitzva was 20 years ago this year (argh...that's a long time) and I still remember it vividly and with much fondness. How long do your kids have until it's time for them?

May 30, 2007 4:39 PM  

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