Dancing in the Rain

Scan_20150628Shortly after Doug returned from in-patient rehab in Hawaii over a year ago, I gave him the card pictured. I knew I had to get him this card, both for the obvious reasons of trying to gain perspective on our suddenly changed lives, but also because we’ve had a long-running joke about Doug’s lack of innate dancing ability. He’ll be the first to admit it – he just doesn’t have great rhythm! We darkly joked that his stroke might actually improve things a bit. And then there’s the rain piece – as the boy absolutely hates rain, which I find mystifying since he chose to move here of his own volition 18 years ago from California. Maybe he had some sixth sense about what climate change was going to entail.

Speaking of which, remember when we used to have “Juneuary” a few years ago, freezing our tails off? And now it’s as hot as a cat on a hot tin roof – or:

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What? I can’t perspire, you know!

In addition to dramatic felines (we call this particular pose “boudoir kitty”), the chickens have been panting all day while hunkered down in the coolest part of their yard. As for our geriatric dogs, their nights upstairs with us have been hell. I finally decided to leave them in the basement last night until one of them started howling at 3. Luckily, by then it had cooled down to 75 or so in our room and they could manage okay.

After reading Cliff Mass’s latest blog post “Heat and Thunder,” I was really hoping for some rain but wasn’t sure it would happen in Seattle or further east. When it started clouding up this morning, I thought, let’s do this! And it did rain – enough to give the thirsty plants a small drink and cool the air a bit. I was so giddy I ran outside and did a little dance in it! Doug said he used to do that growing up in Phoenix when the monsoons would come in August. This wasn’t a monsoon but I felt like that, a sense of relief and excitement. See what growing up in the Northwest will do to you? But as Cliff and all the weather forecasts show, it’s another super hot week and weekend on the way. Guess we’d better learn how to dance in the baking sun instead.

Taking PT to the Outdoors

shoreview-parkDoug and I were never avid hikers, we’d probably go for 3-4 hikes a year, plus a snowshoeing trip or two in the winter. Of course, we didn’t hike at all last summer, nor did we snowshoe this winter. Doug skied with Outdoors for All until he had his first seizures in February, which coincided with the unfortunate lack of snow here in the Pacific Northwest. Still, we have really missed getting out of the city and breathing in the pine-scented air.

So, we’ve been hoping to work back up to some short hikes again, but the uneven terrain is hard for Doug, who’s dealing with tone in his foot and is still working to get his gait more even. He has found it especially uncomfortable to go down any type of hill, mostly because of his toes curling up under him. As he posted last week, he just had botox in his foot for the first time (think of a giant thorn being jammed into your arch, if you need an idea of what that feels like) and he’s already noticed a huge difference with his foot relaxing.

Yesterday, we were running an errand up north that was going to overlap with the lunch hour, so I thought we should take advantage of the situation. Plus, we needed a change of scenery. We’re homebodies by nature, but when you have more limits on what you can do, it starts to become more like housebound.

I packed a picnic lunch (I got us a sweet picnic tote last year that has plates, utensils and ice pack holders and we hadn’t had a chance to use it yet) and off we went to Shoreview Park in Shoreline. We used to go there frequently when we lived in Ballard, taking the dogs  with us along wooded trails and creeks. It’s a lovely park, it really does feel like you’ve left the city. We felt twinges of nostalgia being there again, especially without the two old mutts.

We took a .5 mile loop to “Hidden Lake” and Doug did awesome, even on the trail part, some of which was fairly steep going down. The botox is doing its job! We sat and had our  picnic on a platform overlooking the lake and had a cherry pit spitting contest. I totally won. I told Doug the hiking was great PT for him, but nothing compared to practicing his “oooh” like he had to when he had speech therapy back in Hawaii. He always did hate doing those exercises, so if it takes eating cherries, so be it.

It was a great step forward and we’re hoping to get out and do more short hikes – Doug was definitely tired afterwards but it was so nice being outside in the quiet tranquil forest again.

 

How to have the most fun day ever

My amazing hubby’s harrowing account of what a day of being a stroke survivor can entail. He’s a damn strong dude.

Brainaissance

Last week I had a couple appointments at Harborview- well should I say more like medieval tortures. It started with an MRI, which turned out to be a very long session since they were doing contrast for my neck images on top of all the brain scans. See my other post for the images on that.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I then had my regular three-month series of Botox injections. For those of you that don’t know, Botox has other uses besides cosmetic, where they can use it to intentionally paralyze muscles that are contributing to bad muscle tone. The larger muscles like a bicep will come back sooner and stronger than other muscles in the arm like the tricep making the arm tense and constrict up. A Botox treatment will help begin relax the bicep so my arm will be in a more normal position. They typically…

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Goodbye Red, Hello Blue Monday

Red (in front) and Buffy

Red (in front) and Buffy

The aptly and pragmatically named chicken “Red” has departed our flock. She was our favorite of the first three girls we got in 2012, the one with the big personality and smarts, always keeping an eye on the sky for any predators or other alarming developments. She was never flighty though, just vigilant. I will miss her basic friendliness too, how she’d run to us for treats and hunker down for her back rub (which we scandalously call “fluffing” since the hunkering was essentially a mating pose and was always followed by vigorous shaking and puffing out of all her feathers). Randy Red we called her during her heyday. Continue reading