Thursday, March 05, 2015

Six Weeks

It's been six weeks since the back surgery and I guess I'm making progress. This was the first full week without a visit by home healthcare so I've had no one around to tell me if my progress is normal or not.

There's still a weakness in my legs but that seems to be improving. Not so the flexibility, however. I still can't bend my right leg enough to put a sock on so it's been necessary to use a "helper,"a short length of PVC cut in half lengthwise upon which the sock is pulled. You push your toes into the tube created by the sock and then pull the whole thing up. The sock ends up on your foot and around your heel so you only have to give it a tug to get into place. (Taking the sock off is easier as you don't have to reach down to the toes with both hands--something I can't do.)

And the right leg is still displaying some loss of feeling. That's something the surgeon said could go on for six months or even longer as the nerves that were stretched during surgery will take some time to adjust. 

Meanwhile, I'm still confined to being a passenger (should we go anywhere) and to wearing my brace. I've two more weeks before my next doctor's appointment and I'm hoping he'll give me the okay to drive and to remove my turtle shell. I'm also hoping to learn if I'll get some after pictures (either x-rays or an MRI) of what has been done. Be nice to know.

I've been doing my exercises regularly and added cleaning the deck of snow. I don't have to lift the snow but rather merely push it or sweep it under the deck railing. Terry still does the driveway as the slope is a wee bit too slick for me to attempt. That and the snow she's been moving has been a bit heavy of late.

I haven't made any forays out into the rest of the world yet although I've been cleared to do so. I am starting to get a bit antsy about that. Even a walk around Wally World or Lowe's would be enjoyable. We talked about going over to Wellsboro, but our twice weekly snowfall interrupted those plans.

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This latest snow storm, named Thor, is currently passing to our south and, with the winds out of the north-northwest, it looks like it will stay there. All we got was a little less than 1/2 an inch of very light fluff that required the deck but not the driveway to be cleaned. I used a broom to do the cleaning it was that light. Those north-northwest winds may be a blessing as far as the snow is concerned, but the air is cold. As of noon, it's only gotten up to 12 degrees and it feels much colder.

This looks like it might be our last really cold night with a forecast of minus 4 degrees. Then things are supposed to be getting warmer with temps during the day getting to the upper 30s and even *gasp* 40s. With sun yet!

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We're going through sunflower seed like crazy. There must be over 150 birds out there in the mixed flock of Common Redpolls, House FInches, Black-capped Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-breasted Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice and American Goldfinches. In addition I've seen one or two Red-breasted Nuthatches, a dozen Mourning Doves, half a dozen Blue Jays, a pair of Northern Cardinals, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers and a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers. And, of course, there's the visiting Sharp-shinned Hawk that shows up to prey upon the seed eaters on occasion. And the Pileated Woodpecker that yaks it up from time to time between chiseling out either an ant colony or a nest hole in the trees. (If I had more suet to put out, even it might come closer to the house.) In short, we're feeding a heck of a lot of birds, but they are all the usual winter birds. It would be nice to see some different birds. Spring birds in particular would be welcome, but that would require a good deal of melting and little warming up. 


Sunday, March 01, 2015

More Bird Pictures

I spent only 15-20 minutes sitting at the dining room table this afternoon taking pictures of birds. Dozens and dozens of birds are on the deck at any one time with just as many put in the trees waiting their turn. Below there's at least one photo of each species that came to the deck while I was there...with the exception of the Tufted Titmouse. It flitted in and out too quickly for me to aim, focus and shoot.

Earlier in the day we also had a Red-bellied Wood Pecker, a Downy Woodpecker and a half dozen Blue Jays.

Common Redpolls

A Pine Sisken (center) objects to sharing with another Common Redpoll

An American Goldfinch (center is flanked by two Pine Siskens

Mourning Dove and Pine Sisken

(from front to rear) Mourning Dove, American Goldfinch, Pine Sisken

Dark-eyed Junco (aka Snowbird)

White-breasted Nuthatch

Dark-eyed Junco

House Finch (center) surrounded by Pine Siskens

(left to right) Pine Siskens, House Finches, American Goldfinch

Black-capped Chickadee

Pine Sisken (center) objects to the Dark-eyed Junco's arrival. House Finch to rear right.

Pine Sisken and Dark-eyed Junco

The Latest Fashion

video

Here's a brief video of my "turtle shell" brace. I've been wearing it since the surgery (January 22) and will continue to wear it until March 17th at least.

It's hard and it's not very comfortable.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Afternoon Visitor at the Aerie

I had just refilled the bird feeders this afternoon and was enjoying the large number of visitors that were taking advantage of the sunflower seeds I had provided when there was a whoosh and everyone scattered and disappeared. I spotted a couple of feathers drifting slowly to the ground and surmised there had been an attack on the feeding birds but I couldn't spot the culprit responsible for it.

A short time later, I saw it. A Sharp-shinned Hawk swooped down in the driveway and then perched on a dead limb on the oak tree across the way. It hadn't been successful in its attempt at an afternoon meal and sat smoothing its ruffled feathers long enough for me to get my camera and snap a couple of pictures through the living room window.



A small bird (Goldfinch?) grew restless as the hawk perched near its hiding place and flew off. The hawk gave chase, but to no avail as it was out matched by the smaller bird being already in flight and in a short distance race such as this--and from a standing start--it had little chance of catching up before the smaller bird disappeared into a pine.

So the hawk continued on its way and the feeding birds came back.

Who Watches the Watchers


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five Weeks

Today marks the fifth week since I had my back surgery. I'm making progress.

Last Thursday the visiting nurse came by for his last visit and on Friday, the visiting physical therapist made her last visit. Since she decreed I could walk with a cane and get up and down steps--slowly, but I could--then, in the eyes of Medicare, I was no longer house bound and she was no longer needed. Besides the few exercises and encouragement she gave me, she said there wasn't much more she could do for me. "But," she said, "be sure to press your physician for some out of house PT when you see him again. It will help build you strength and flex those joints the surgery has you favoring."

She's right. While I've been doing those exercises religiously, there's still a lack of strength in the knees and hips, especially on my right side. All the lack of feeling and tingling I had in the left leg is gone and it feels normal if somewhat weak. The right leg is still lacks some feeling from the thigh down to the toes and there's a good deal of weakness there as well. When going up and down stairs (with the help of a cane) I notice that lack of strength on the right side.

Today, between exercise sessions, I spend time out on the deck in the sunshine (!) walking some laps. Ten laps of about 40 yards each for nearly a quarter mile, and it was tiring! I also went up and down the stairs five times in succession and that too was a chore. I'll do both of those exercises--weather permitting--every day to get my strength and stamina back.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Black Squirrel In the Morning
White Snow In the Afternoon?

This morning I managed to snap a couple of pictures of the black squirrel that hangs around the Aerie. As usual, they were taken through a pretty dirty window and there's some light reflection from inside so the quality is not the best, but still--it's a freakin' black squirrel!



It--and four of it's grey friends--were fattening up on sunflower seeds before this afternoon's forecasted bout of snow. They were also hanging on for dear life against a rather strong breeze out of the southwest. Depending upon who you listen to we could get anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of snow this afternoon and into the night.  As I write this (10 AM) there's nothing much happening in the snow department. The only snow in the air is the stuff blowing off the roof.