This Knee Brace Wasn’t What I was Thinking

Back in October, I pulled the troops together for a family meeting.  The gist of this meeting went something like this:  “I’m tired of being so busy during December, running my business, chauffeuring kids around, doing all the cooking, teaching, and keeping the house running.  I never get a chance just to rest and relax.  While y’all are playing games, watching specials, and reading, I end up worn to a frazzle.  Things are going to change this year.  We’re going to work as a team and get things done together so we can all enjoy the season.”  And work we did.  We started doing the Fly Lady thing every weekend, and with tremendous results.  Fifteen, thirty minutes of cleaning as a family followed by standing back, admiring our work, and patting ourselves on the back.

Things were going along rather swimmingly.  We were knocking out the cleaning and the cooking, preparing to decorate and for our trip to the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla.  We had food in containers and food in bags in the freezer.  Then a crisis hit.

It’d been a good day.  It was the Monday before Thanksgiving, and I’d taken the girls into the closest city to shop for their Christmas dresses and to return a certified pre-owned Nook to Barnes & Noble that the company had sent me by mistake.  I guess it’s not nice to mess with the minds of low-wage retail workers (“You want to return this?  I need to talk to my manager about this.  I haven’t ever had a situation like this before.”), because doing so must’ve been bad karma or something.  The girls and I returned home with our purchases, and as I was walking across the kitchen floor, I slid down and dislocated my knee.  Oh, sweet heavens, was THAT a new and unique kind of pain!

The girls were amazing, I met some pretty nice EMTs and emergency room staff, and I finally came back home around 8:30 that night with a shiny pair of crutches and a referral for an ortho follow-up.  The next day I went for the appointment and left with a sexy black peek-a-boo knee brace (the perfect accessory to all my holiday wardrobe essentials)

The latest in sexy holiday accessories
The latest in sexy holiday accessories

and instructions to wear it for the next 6 weeks, 23/7.  When you dislocate the patella, there is damage to the soft tissue where it lands, and there’s also damage to the soft connective tissue that holds the patella in place.  These tissues, the ligaments especially, take a long time to heal, but with proper care and attention, they heal fine.  I’m about halfway through my healing process.  Oh, plus there’s the addendum to those instructions regarding the brace:  “Stay off of it as much as possible.”

Squee!  That means being still and resting all through Advent!  That means staying off my feet and letting people take care of me.  So far I’ve gotten to play on NORAD every day with my youngest.  I’ve knitted.  A lot.  I’ve done Christmas cards; blogged; and spent some very valuable time brainstorming, reading, and preparing for some amazing changes in my business in the New Year.  This has been incredible!  Sure, I’ve missed making soap and baking, but perhaps the Good Lord knew that I wouldn’t stop as planned without something major happening to me.

My family has been great about taking care of me and everything else.  Mary has been grooving on the soapmaking, really coming into her own as a soap artisan.  My best friend drove down last week to take the girls and me to finish our Christmas shopping.  Thanksgiving was awesome, because we were home with my parents.  I don’t care how old I am or how many boo-boos I’ve kissed myself; I’ve got a major boo-boo myself, and I needed my own Mom.  Even just having Mom air around is somehow healing.  My dad is a very well-respected physical therapist, so that just added another layer of incredible healing mojo to our visit.  I was slightly amused – and touched – when my dad offered to help me navigate up the two steps to their porch.  I’d been gimping up and down our stairs in our 2-story house for 3 days at that point.  But he’ll always be my dad, and he’s a physical therapist even off the clock, so such is to be expected.  I’m lucky as all get-out to have him, because he’s given me pointers, suggestions, exercises, and prayers for my patience.  He’s done more to help my healing progress than my orthopedist has.  When I go back to the doctor in a hair under three weeks, I’m hoping he’ll be wow’ed by my progress.

While a knee brace and crutches weren’t quite in my grand plan for this Advent season, I’m finding the blessing in being able to take it easy.  The family is getting a great learning opportunity as they experience my duties and responsibilities.  My best friend got the unusual opportunity to take care of me (generally, I’m doing the caretaking).  While the boredom really gets to me sometimes, I’m looking for the silver lining, and I think I’ve found it.

How do you take it easy in the craziness?  How do you make sure you get the rest and relaxation you need?

The Turkey Salad Sandwich that Made Me Cry

It’s a turkey salad sandwich, which isn’t unusual for the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It’s pretty unassuming, actually – homemade turkey salad on whole wheat.  Peter whipped this up, and when he asked about pickles, I said, “Just dice up some bread & butter pickles; that’s what Grandma did when she’d make it.”  I remember standing beside her in her kitchen, cutting board resting on her blue-and-white tile counter, watching her dicing those pickles by hand, ones she’d put up herself.

Peter brought the bowl into me and gave me a taste.  I held the bite of turkey salad in my mouth, parsing out the different flavors – savory turkey, the bite of mustard, the sweet-sour pickles.  In a moment I was back in my grandma’s kitchen.  She was alive and well and making her turkey salad with leftover turkey and home-canned pickles.  Tears welled up in my eyes, one escaping down my cheek.  I smiled and said, “It’s perfect” as I wiped the tears away.

The sandwich was perfect, the most fabulous turkey sandwich I’ve had in over 30 years.

Turkey Salad Sandwich that made me cry
Turkey Salad Sandwich that made me cry

To most people, it’s just a mixture of turkey, pickles, mayo, and mustard, something anyone could throw together. There’s one ingredient that’s absolutely essential to the perfect turkey salad sandwich, and that is love.