Tag Archives: science

Broken Arm Blessings – Surgery

We continue with our mini series on “Broken Arm Blessings” here with this newest installment.  In case you missed them, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here & part 3 here.

Off to surgery we go, off to surgery we go, hi ho the merry-oh!  It’s off to surgery we go.  I was not anxious about the surgery knowing that this too is wholly in the Lord’s capable hands.  I am sure the lack of anxiousness also stems from the quality of care I sense I am getting at Virginia Mason.  The other bigger factor in my level of calm is all the prayers!!  A dear woman from church, “Friend B”, came to take me to surgery.  This would be her third trip this week to Virginia Mason.  Trip 2 “Arrow” & I got a ride in with the orthopedic office manager who lives just up the street from me.  “Friend B” was such a blessing to us, sacrificing her family time to take me to my doctor appointments.

On the morning of surgery (August 5th) I was able to take the Arnica at 10 AM & again at 11 AM.  After that I was in the surgery prep area.  Before I entered the surgery area I stopped in the gift shop and purchased a lovely scarf.  I had plans for it… later.  That ‘s also when I sneaked in my last pre-surgery dose of Arnica.  “Arrow” and “Friend B” waited for me…

I was whisked off to the pre-surgery area where I got to change my clothes for one of those hospital nightgowns… why oh why do they tie in the back??  And how would I manage THAT with one usable arm?  Ah, one of the nurses helped me.  She also had to put “tape” over my earrings.  These are the small diamond ones given to me by my mother-in-law.  I never take them off and how would I do that with only one arm???  I think they asked me my name & birth date & if I was allergic to anything at least 10 times.  The first nurse came to put in my IV and I asked her my standard question, “are you good at inserting IVs into deep veins??”  I have deep veins that all but the most experienced have trouble inserting IVs into.  I am DONE with allowing one who is inexperienced to poke around and around my veins in an attempt to find my veins.  I have had my share of bruising from all that!  She told me if she couldn’t get it on the first try she would call over one who could.  She couldn’t find my veins… they are in there.  The anesthesiologist came over and inserted the IV into a vein in my hand.  The first nurse’s comment was, ‘oh, I would never have tried that one’!  He got it in one poke, and I never had a bruise.

After that, and more asking of allergies,  my name and birth date, I was wheeled into the surgery recovery area to finish my prep.  I was going to be given a nerve blocker.  But first they painted my arm with some lovely turquoise antiseptic stuff.   I got to watch the sonogram while they found the nerves and injected the ‘stuff’.  It numbed my arm from the elbow to the fingertips.

Because my surgery was being ‘squeezed in’ I did not meet the surgeon until a few minutes prior to surgery.  It was squeezed because I didn’t know I had a referral for orthopedic surgery until two days before my surgery!  By that time the break was already a week old and it was going to soon be VERY important to have the bone in the proper place… BEFORE it started it’s healing!  He and all the surgery staff at Virginia Mason were very kind & gentle & explained all possibilities that might happen to fix my arm.  Not only were they all of the above, they were also thorough.  The surgeon, whom I had only JUST met, proceeded to write “left wrist” on my left turquoise-colored bicep!!  I feel so much better knowing my surgeon knows this.  🙂

I got option A: a “left distal radius closed reduction percutaneous pinning & casting”.  They need to pin  the two bone halves so they are kept in place while they heal.  Only small holes are made for this, and a brief ‘going under’.  The same stuff used in ER that had no ‘recovery’ time!  I was also told it is similar to the Novocaine used at the dentist’s office.   The surgery was done by x-ray.  One immediate bonus to the surgery is the pain level is greatly reduced because the bones will be aligned properly and not rubbing wrong or whatever they do that causes the current pain.

In the surgery room, I was asked if I could feel anything as they proceeded to pinch me with ‘something’.  I was thankfully able to answer that I felt absolutely nothing!  Then my arm was ‘sheeted’ so I couldn’t see anything.  The anesthesiologist asked me if I would like a little nap.  I told him a nap would be lovely and I was g-o-n-e.  They woke me up to show me the pins and then I was gone, again.  The next thing I remember was waking up in the recovery area.

I think I surprised the nurses at how quickly I was awake.  They must have thought I was a nut asking for copies of my x-rays for my blog!!  I posted them below so you can also see the 3 pins I am sporting to hold the radius bone in place while it heals.  These pins will be removed in 4 weeks, and I will get another cast for another two weeks.  The surgeon said it would not have healed long enough to go without the second cast.

The moment I was out of the surgery center I took another dose of Arnica and then every hour for the rest of the evening.  I also took it the couple of times I got up in the night. The day after surgery I  reduced the dosage to 3 – 4 times a day.  Because of the extensive bruising (about the size of a large dinner plate or serving platter and p-u-r-p-l-e) from the initial injury & surgery I opted to take Arnica for an additional week or two but to gradually cut the dosage back so I was taking it once every three to five days.

Left wrist, side, thumb up

Left wrist, palm down

After the noon-30-ish surgery I had “Friend B” run a couple of errands for me on the way home.  I was out of surgery & in recovery at about 2 and in the car heading home about 2:45 or 3.  I was told that the numbing stuff would wear off in 4 – 6 hours. Well I processed through the surgery meds pretty fast & was in MAJOR pain well before we got home at about 4.  In all my preparing for surgery I had neglected to bring a dose of my pain medication – ugh.  It was all I could do to keep from screaming or crying… neither of which would have helped…  😐  I had “Arrow” call “The Patriarch” on my cell phone to ask him to have my pain meds ready for me.  He was so sweet, he was waiting outside for me with the meds and water!  It took the rest of the evening to get on top of the pain.   I was taking everything allowed as often as allowed & icing every 30 min for 30 min.  By bed time I was pain free and able to sleep all night!

——-   Day After Surgery   ——-

The surgery center call was what woke me up at 9 in the morning.   I was relatively pain free & hadn’t taken any of the vicoden for over 8 hours.  I think the nurse I spoke with was quite surprised!

Splint after surgery

“The Patriarch” has gotten quite good at taping my arm so I can shower.  He started his taping training when I had carpal tunnel surgery nearly 20 years ago and has perfected his taping technique with this current need.

On the night I broke my arm he helped me get ready for bed.  Every time we turned around there was something else that I realized I couldn’t do and he needed to help me with.  Two funny things.  First, he had to help me put up my waist length, curly hair.  Now THAT was humorous, I wish I could have taken a picture of it.  Then as I was heading to bed I suddenly realized that I still needed to take off my contacts.  Number 2!  The look on “The Patriarch’s” face was priceless!  It seemed all night long he kept asking, ‘well how do we do that’?  He held each eye open while I took out the contact.  That too would have been a really funny photo!!  No wonder he didn’t want to help me put them in subsequent weeks.

Don’t touch that dial.  Stay tuned for more exciting adventures of “Broken Arm Blessings”!

~Mrs. R

This post linked here: Gratituesday

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring is my favorite season!  The colors fairly glow here in the Pacific Northwest’s grey overcast skies.  There is the beauty of new growth sprouting out of the dead of winter, giving the  promise of new life, warmer days, birds singing, flowers blooming and sun shining (well periodically peeking out from behind the clouds here anyway!).  It is a time of anticipation, waiting to see all my favorite flowers budding & blooming once again, the promise of fresh sweet berries and fruits from all those pretty blossoms gracing my table and filling my canning jars.  It is the time when I can throw my windows open wide to air out the house and smell the new spring air.  Once that two minutes has passed the windows will need to be shut quickly to prevent the hail from entering out domicile!!

The other day my dear husband went outside to leave for work and his truck had a flat tire.  He called the Les Schwab people and while they were replacing the tire, all to the eager eyes of “Arrow”, I proceeded to take pictures of all the various signs of spring in our very own front yard.

I also love poetry.  Not all poetry, but lots of it!!  Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickenson, oh and so many more!  Not that I understand all of them, but I still love poetry!!  So I thought I would make a post with my spring photos and some spring poems!

Come with me on a walk through my front yard…


~Mrs. R

An April Day

by Henry W. Longfellow

When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain. I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.

And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o’er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out, and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.

Inverted in the tide,
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.

Sweet April!–many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life’s golden fruit is shed.

These are the lovely pink tulips and grape hyacinth that are in large pots along our “second” driveway.  They are in desperate need of being planted in the ground and out of these now constricting pots.  I thought I didn’t like the color pink.  Then I saw these pretty tulips and I realized I DO like pink.

These are my strawberries.  I have 5 hanging pots along our shed that contain these wonders.  There is nothing like freshly picked ripe strawberries.  YUM!

OK.  You are probably thinking I have lost my mind posting pictures of… weeds.  But wait just a moment… did you know that both of these are edible?  The lovely miniature purple flowered plant is Erodium Cicutarium or the more common names are Storksbill or Crowsfoot.  Not a very pretty name for such a sweet flower!  The common name is derived from the seed pods which look like a storksbill.  My Wild Plants of Greater Seattle book describes it as “edible, bland, and of faint cucumber flavor.”  Good in salads, a major source of vitamin A, and used in herbal medicine to stop bleeding.  One medicinal use apparently is an antidote for strychnine.  You never know when you’ll need an antidote for strychnine.

The lowly little dandelion is also supposed to be quite nutritious and the leaves when gathered prior to the flowers appearing are much less bitter.  The leaves and or roots can be added to soups or stir fries.  The flowers petals can be added to salads.  I think I will try one on tomorrows lunch salad!  They have a variety of medicinal uses, one is for cleaning the gallbladder & liver.  And they are just so cheery with their pretty bright yellow flowers.

Both of these are growing in what should be my “garden”, but is really a weed patch.  OH!  Maybe I should call it my “medicinal garden”!  lol

The Dandelions

by Helen Gray Cone

Upon a showery night and still,
Without a sound of warning,
A trooper band surprised the hill,
And held it in the morning. We were not waked by bugle notes
No cheer our dreams invaded,
And yet, at dawn, their yellow coats
On the green slopes paraded.

We careless folk the deed forgot;
Till one day, idly walking,
We marked upon the self-same spot
A crowd of veterans, talking.

They shook their trembling heads and gray,
With pride and noiseless laughter,
When, well-a-day! they blew away,
And ne’er were heard of after.

Ah.  Now this is another on of my favorites!  Blueberries!!  Of course those wonderful berries are not here just yet.  These are blueberry blossoms!  I always wondered what a blueberry blossom looked like.  Now that I have 5 of these bushes in pots I get to enjoy the all-year beauty of my all time favorite fruit.  I have these pots along our “first” driveway and up by the house.

The Voice of Spring

by Mary Howitt

I am coming, I am coming!
Hark! the honey bee is humming;
See, the lark is soaring high
In the blue and sunny sky,
And the gnats are on the wing
Wheeling round in airy ring. Listen! New-born lambs are bleating,
And the cawing rooks are meeting
In the elms–a noisy crowd.
All the birds are singing loud,
And the first white butterfly
In the sunshine dances by.

Look around you, look around!
Flowers in all the fields abound,
Every running stream is bright,
All the orchard trees are white,
And each small and waving shoot
Promises sweet autumn fruit.

Oh.  More on the blueberry thing.  These are the first leaves coming out on one of the bushes.  That is a misnomer!  The “bushes” are only 3 feet tall and fairly spindly!  But they do produce… blueberries!

OK, another weed.  I do not know if this one is edible, but isn’t it a sweet little thing!  This is growing in the grass on the other side of the “first” driveway, also up near the house.

by Evaleen Stein

At evening when I go to bed
I see the stars shine overhead;
They are the little daisies white
That dot the meadow of the Night.

And often while I’m dreaming so,
Across the sky the Moon will go;
It is a lady, sweet and fair,
Who comes to gather daisies there.

For, when at morning I arise,
There’s not a star left in the skies;
She’s picked them all and dropped them down
Into the meadows of the town.

Hmm, Lavender.  A heavenly aroma.  These are some of the tiny sprouts coming out of  the large plant that I started from seeds!  OK, well maybe it isn’t quite so much on the large side as… small to medium sized?! lol  I was so excited that I was able to start all this from seeds.  I love to rub my hands over the leaves and smell that lovely aroma.  I am hoping to plant more this year.  This is in a pot at the street end of the “first” driveway.

Our ornamental cherry tree is down along the road in the northwest corner of our yard.  It’s is due north of the lavender pot!  Very pretty flowers but produces nothing edible.  The bees LOVE this tree.  There was a whole cloud of busy bees surrounding the top of this tree the other day.  Trees.  I like trees.  I used to LOVE to climb them when I was a little girl.  That is until I kept getting a piece of bark in my eye!   “Arrow” has climbed this tree many times, just NOT when there are any bees interested in it!  A while back “Arrow” took some rope, blankets, and other items and made a little fort in the crook of this tree.  He could actually hide himself in there completely when it was covered with leaves.  Ah, the joys of homeschooling and a creative mind!


by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

  • THINK that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.
    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
    A tree that may in Summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;
    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

What Is a Tree?
What is a tree”
Well doubtless he
Who dwells in city streets by choice May never know.
But souls that breathe expanding life outdoors
Know trees as brothers, friends; and feel aglow
With kindred fellowship and common voice.

Yes, bees do know
And birds have made
The trees their lifelong homes
And what is nearer or more intimately ours than home?

What is a tree?
The soul of God!
Whose budding leaves and blossoms in the Spring
Bespeak Creation.
Whose shade in Summer cools
The burning heat of life and brings us peace;
Whose bronzing colors in the Autumn landscape glow
With pride of fruitfulness, God’s bounty, man’s maturity.
Whose bare strong arms in Winter steadfast hold
Against- the ice and storms of life when courage sags
When green and sap of youth have lost their bold
Firm power and interest lags.

What is a tree?
Oh! Yes, I know! ‘Tis God.
‘Tis His own way to speak His majesty,
His voice, His power, His love, His mystery..

These are close up shots of the pretty flowers of the Ornamental Cherry tree.  The blossoms are really quite lovely, though little to no fragrance.  Too bad on that score!  I could have had an abundance of “something” to scent some of my soaps right out of my very own yard!

Hydrangea – in much need of being dead headed!  I thought it looked interesting over the winter all covered with the dead flower heads.  But I should have cut them off when the new growth first started appearing… guess I have even more to add to my “to do list”.  This is up next to the house.  Not a good place for a plant that will grow to a large size!  I have to prune this back multiple times through the growing season.  One day I may decided where I want to transplant this so I can trim once a year instead!

Dicentra Spectabillis, also known as bleeding hearts.  Another one of my favorite flowers.  I love the arching branches full of the tiny little heart shaped flowers.  These are along the north side of the house in a pot.  This side of the house gets shade nearly all day.  One reason is the northerly latitude we live at, another is the large number of very tall pine trees in my neighbor’s yards.  So I am working on a shade garden!  So much variety and I didn’t know I could grow so many flowers in the shade!

More shade loving plants on the north side of the house.

Another favorite flower of mine ~ White Trillium.  In all it’s stages of growth this plant reminds me of the Triune Godhead!  It’s leaves appear in succession 1, 2 then 3.  The mature growth has three leaves and the flower has three petals.

I planted this from a seed pod that was given to me.  I bought the wooden planter just for this lovely plant, since it does NOT like to be transplanted.  When you plant a trillium seed pod, you just put a couple of old dead leaves over the pod, water carefully and keep it moist and leave it alone.  It took my seeds 5 or 6 years before they first sprouted!  But they finally did and I am so glad.  The first year’s growth is like a blade of grass on a very thin stalk.  The second year’s growth has two leaves.  The third years growth has three leaves and the flowers and seed pods appear in the fourth year.  They will continue to produce flowers and seed pods every year there after.   In the wooden planted is also a fern.  It just appeared one year and had continued to grow.  I think it is high time for the fern to be removed carefully from the trillium’s planter!

The White Trillium
Trillium graceful, Trillium white,
Star of the woodland, Lady of light
Lo, how she prou!ily
Stands in the glade,
Tri-sceptred sovereign,
Queen of the shade.
Stately she rises,
Slender-stemmed, tall,
Gracious response to Spring’s early call,
Lifting three leaf-arms
High from the sod,
Gazing with pure face lip at her God.
Milena Matcska

And even more shade loving flowering plants on the north side of the house.

Hostas.  I am not sure when I first heard of them, but I love their variety, and this one has lovely purple flowers.  This is a Marginally Variegated variety because the lighter color is on the outside of the leaves.  I also have one with no variegation in color, but a nice dark green leaf and… purple flowers!

Thank you for coming along with me on my ground rounds!  Have a blessed day!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R (aka ~Aunt Mae)

Social Websites Harm Children’s Brains

Below you will find a very interesting article on the brain and social networking websites. My dear husband and I have purposed to limit television and computer usage for our “Arrow”. It is our belief that face-to-face interaction with real, live people, using real language (not baby talk) was paramount to his proper development. Added to that we wanted him to develop a wonderful imagination. Seems we were on the right track. I guess I will go get out the chess board for tomorrow!
~Mrs. R

Social websites harm children’s brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientists.

By David Derbyshire
Last updated at 1:45 AM on 24th February 2009
Access Daily Mail article here.
But beware of inappropriate photos on the Daily Mail site sidebar…

Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centered.

The claims from neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will make disturbing reading for the millions whose social lives depend on logging on to their favorite websites each day.

But they will strike a chord with parents and teachers who complain that many youngsters lack the ability to communicate or concentrate away from their screens.

More than 150million use Facebook to keep in touch with friends, share photographs and videos and post regular updates of their movements and thoughts.

A further six million have signed up to Twitter, the ‘micro-blogging’ service that lets users circulate text messages about themselves.

But while the sites are popular – and extremely profitable – a growing number of psychologists and neuroscientists believe they may be doing more harm than good.

Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, believes repeated exposure could effectively ‘rewire’ the brain.

Experts are concerned children’s online social interactions can ‘rewire’ the brain

Computer games and fast-paced TV shows were also a factor, she said.

‘We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist,’ she told the Mail yesterday.

‘My fear is that these technologies are infantilizing the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.’

Her comments echoed those she made during a House of Lords debate earlier this month. Then she argued that exposure to computer games, instant messaging, chat rooms and social networking sites could leave a generation with poor attention spans.

‘I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitized and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf,’ she said.

Lady Greenfield told the Lords a teacher of 30 years had told her she had noticed a sharp decline in the ability of her pupils to understand others.

‘It is hard to see how living this way on a daily basis will not result in brains, or rather minds, different from those of previous generations,’ she said.

She pointed out that autistic people, who usually find it hard to communicate, were particularly comfortable using computers.

‘Of course, we do not know whether the current increase in autism is due more to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, or whether it can – if there is a true increase – be in any way linked to an increased prevalence among people of spending time in screen relationships. Surely it is a point worth considering,’ she added.

Psychologists have also argued that digital technology is changing the way we think. They point out that students no longer need to plan essays before starting to write – thanks to word processors they can edit as they go along. Satellite navigation systems have negated the need to decipher maps.

A study by the Broadcaster Audience Research Board found teenagers now spend seven-and-a-half hours a day in front of a screen.

Educational psychologist Jane Healy believes children should be kept away from computer games until they are seven. Most games only trigger the ‘flight or fight’ region of the brain, rather than the vital areas responsible for reasoning.

Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, said: ‘We are seeing children’s brain development damaged because they don’t engage in the activity they have engaged in for millennia.

‘I’m not against technology and computers. But before they start social networking, they need to learn to make real relationships with people.’

Babies: From Ultra-sound to Ultra-real

I came across this and thought I would post an excerpt here. Do beware that the side bar at Daily Mail does contain immodest photos and stories. But this piece is very exciting! Yet another aid in the fight to see the unborn child as human and not a mere ‘lump of tissue’.
Mrs. R

Stunning new technology allows parents to hold a life-size model of their unborn child

Daily Mail (UK) ^ | 26 June 2009

It’s a defining moment in a parent’s life: Seeing their unborn child’s image on an ultrasound for the first time. Now pregnant women could have the chance to hold a life-size model of their unborn baby.

The startling new medical technology is the result of a Royal College of Art design student’s PhD.

Brazilian student Jorge Lopes has pioneered the conversion of data from ultrasound and MRI scans into life-size plaster models of living embryos using a method called rapid prototyping.

‘It’s amazing to see the faces of the mothers. They can see the full scale of their baby, really understand the size of it,’ said Dr Lopes.

‘The technology can be also be used as an emotional tool for parents whose fetus might be deformed or need treatment,’ added Hilary French, who heads the School of Architecture and Design Products.

(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk

Astronomy & Botany Notebooking Journal Giveaway!!!

Apologia is now producing notebooking journals that accompany each of the elementary science books. Both Botany and Astronomy are now available. You can see samples on the Apologia website here:

These journals are beautiful spiral bound notebooks that will save you time and money. You won’t have to print and keep up with your child’s notebook pages, buy and maintain page protectors, or purchase and compile binders…everything that makes notebooking time-consuming and labor intensive for mom. Also, your child will adore having their own notebooking journal.

Each of the notebooking journals include:
  • A daily schedule for those who like to have a plan or would like their children to complete the book on their own
  • Templates for written narrations, the notebooking activities and experiments
  • Review Questions
  • Scripture Copywork, with both print and cursive practice
  • Reading lists and additional activities, projects, experiments for each lesson
  • An appendix with beautiful, full-color, lapbook-style Miniature Books
  • Field Trip Sheets to keep a record field trips
  • A Final Review with fifty questions the students can answer either orally or in writing to show off all they remember and know at the end of the course.
See the sample pages here:Botany: and Astronomy:

Jeannie is giving away four Astronomy Notebooking Journals and four Botany Notebooking Journals to bloggers who post about this on their site. Visit her blog to learn more about this contest: http://www.jeanniesjournal.com