Christmas 2018

Feliz Navidad!

Hola, everybody!

It’s me, Rocky! I have a new Christmas suit on (Thanks, Aunt Trish - I will get you for this!), so it must be newsletter time!

So, this is the 2018 annual Christmas newsletter, AKA the 2018 Surgery Report. You’ll see why.

As you may recall, 2017 was not the best of years. Mom and Dad looked at each other at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and said, “Good riddance to 2017! We will never again have a year this bad.” 2018 said, “Hold my beer.”

For those that hate suspense - everyone is still alive. Dad has a job. Now, the other stuff.

Mom had surgery so often this year, Dad said she should be the bionic woman, but they keep fixing the broken bits instead of replacing them with working ones. Mom had surgery so much that when her torn rotator cuff in her left shoulder turned out to “just” be bursitis, she was happy to have bursitis. (This was post-surgery on this same shoulder.)

Dad also said if Mom doesn’t get flowers from the veterinarians this year (she did), he’s pretty sure he will get flowers (or maybe a car) from Orthopedic Associates of Dallas.

In January, Mom finally had surgery on her right shoulder’s rotator cuff, just after their Christmas cruise. With her right shoulder immobilized, there wasn’t much she could do. Ever the overachiever, she managed to injure her left shoulder by over-compensating for not being able to use her right arm.

In August, Mom had surgery on her left shoulder, just after their Alaska cruise. After everyone breathed a sigh of relief, since nothing else could possibly happen, Mom developed “trigger finger” in both her middle fingers. (Dad said, “Middle fingers? Do the math.”)

In October, Mom had surgery on her right hand to release the trigger. Three surgeries, one year. Surely, nothing else could happen. Mom said, “Hold my beer.”Mom slipped and fell (on her newly fixed hand) while cleaning up the area behind the washing machine while a new one was being installed. She hurt her knee pretty badly, but luckily, the installers are used to moving bulky items, so they just helped her up. Dad wanted her to visit the ER, but she reminded him that her shoulder surgeon also does knees, and she already had an appointment with him to recheck her shoulder. Dad says the staff just shake their heads when she walks in, and he hears “Bless her heart” way too often in the waiting room.

In March, Dad had a vertigo incident that kept him in the hospital overnight because the doctors thought he might be having a stroke. Dad’s nurse yelled at Mom for driving while she was recovering from shoulder surgery, so even Dad’s vertigo became about Mom’s surgeries.

Now, some good news. In between Mom’s various hospital and follow-up visits, Dad went from “retired” to “busy.” In April, he started volunteering with SCORE, helping small businesses (especially small nonprofits) get started. In May, he was accepted by Our Lady of the Lake University into their Masters program in Nonprofit Management. He should graduate just before Christmas 2019. At the end of May, after applying for hundreds of jobs, he started working again! He is a cloud consultant at TEKsystems, working at Caterpillar. He got to spend three weeks in Peoria, Illinois, and is now platinum status at a hotel he hopes he never will see again. After the initial introductions and project training, he’s working from his home office, so it’s like when he was retired, only now we know why he’s cranky.

In between surgeries and job interviews, Mom & Dad got to visit the Ohio branch of the family three times this year. They drove up for the first trip in March, since Dad was still “retired”, and had an interesting journey. Mom discovered if you’re in an SUV, you can carry lots more souvenirs than on a plane. Dad discovered saving money on flights cost more in souvenirs. In June, they were planning to drive again, but Dad had just started working, so they flew to save time. They also visited for Thanksgiving, and are hoping to be over their newly-acquired colds by Christmas.

On the cruise front, Mom and Dad finally sailed to Alaska in August, and they went with Aunt Trish and her daughter Jaclyn. They are all still speaking, so it was a good trip. They even got to visit friends in Seattle before they sailed. Mom enjoyed the scenery, even though she was in a boot.

Wait. A boot? Why is someone with shoulder injuries in a boot, you ask? Mom was stung by two wasps this summer, and one July night, she thought she heard a third one diving in, so she gracefully leaped out of the way. Unfortunately, her childhood ballet lessons were long forgotten, so she strained her gastroc muscle. Luckily, it did not require surgery, since having leg surgery might have postponed her scheduled shoulder surgery.

Mom and Dad’s Christmas cruise is from New Orleans, and they have their nephew Norman and his family going along. Norman broke his leg (in multiple places) doing a relay competition this year, so there will be a scar comparison sometime during the cruise. “So, you broke your leg doing a relay competition? That’s nothing. I jumped away from a Junebug I thought was a wasp and tore up my gastroc. Also, I have bionic shoulders, although one has bursitis.”

Mom is planning cruises and Ohio visits for next year. Dad is starting a pool for the date when Mom will meet her deductibles and max out-of-pocket limit.

See you next year! If you have any comments, my email is [email protected] - I love to hear from people!