Sunday, March 13, 2011

Once again the only thing I have to talk about is my knee. I had a very unsatisfactory visit with an infectious disease specialist on Friday, who merely looked at the swelling behind my knee (without any of my documentation apparently) and took a photo with his phone. He then pronounced that 1) it was infected, 2) surgery was not going to fix the problem, and 3) I would always have a swollen knee. I find this strange especially when he declined to drain the fluid and sent it to pathology (he dismissed the lack of infection on the first test on the basis I was on antibiotics at the time) which would make it clear before surgery whether it was or was not infected. He was unconcerned with the amount of pain and difficulty I was undergoing, just said I could manage for another 2 weeks. Now I have this ridiculous swelling that makes it hard to bend my knee and I think it will pop without any assistance. I am going to put in an urgent call the my surgeon on Monday since he had said he hadn't wanted to be presented with it just as I was wheeled in for surgery, and he will if it's not drained before then. It would also decide the issue of infection as I am off antibiotics. Sincerely, dear readers, I am terrified that on the 28th they will cut my knee open and find infection, because the treatment after that would be extremely difficult. What they do is removed the entire knee prosthesis and clean diligently, then put a spacer in and send me home on antibiotics. Two months later they do another knee replacement. In my heart of hearts I don't believe I am harbouring an infection but I could he wrong. How I could take care of myself without a knee for two months is beyond considering. Positive thoughts please and prayers if you do that sort of thing.

Otherwise not much going on. Getting lovely fresh green beans and tomatoes. The pear tree is loaded with pears but it remains to be seen whether the parrots will leave me any. They've cleaned off the top completely, I'm reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle and find it so inspiring. Her reasoning about the vegetarian issue is something I'd like to hand any vegetarian who tried to convert me. Her descriptions of the vegetative year bring back to me the huge garden I used to have in Ohio. We never bought veggies because there was always fresh or home frozen available. It was such a joy to see the rows of jars of applesauce, tomatoes, pickles and jam.

Book report: finished The Bookseller of Kabul and found it intriguing if disheartening for the issues of women's rights I have already written about. The mere thought of thirteen people all living in a 2 bedroom flat, especially and the head of household and his second wife have one bedroom to themselves and the rest of the family from grandmother, brothers, and offspring all sleep in the second. These are middle class Afghanis for whom life at least doesn't include malnutrition or illiteracy. My new Kindle book is Wake by Robert J. Sawyer and I'm not far enough into it to give a verdict. I gave up on Neal Stephenson's Baroque cycle as it was just too, well, Baroque. Also all massive doorstop tomes. So I'm on Barbara Kingsolver instead. My BBBB is A Perfect Red by Amy Butler Greenfield, which is about the pursuit of red dyestuffs.

We are having gorgeous weather and I wish so much to be out and about in it, digging in the earth if only to pull weeds. Instead I'll go back to elevating my leg and reading about gardening. I hope wherever I end up in the US has community garden plots because I think I'd go mad if I couldn't grow a few tomato and zucchini plants and a few rows of beans.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Finally a FO (finished object) that is not socks. It's a vest from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests featuring X-and-O cables, knit from Brooks Farm merino & mohair blend. It has taken me forever to finish it, and I really mean the finishing bits, like around arm holes etc., because the body of the vest was knit ages ago. I suddenly feel like knitting again and pulled from the stash some Cascade 220 I bought on my last long trip to the states with BFLB and found a shrug pattern on line in Ravelry. I also pulled out some handspun for a hat and some exotic linen/rayon/wool blend for a simple summer shell. I've already started a new pair of socks, this time just wool in white with blue dots, I am also plying the green BFL I spun a couple of weeks ago and it's gorgeous. Am I up to trying my first lace creation?

My knee has been the focus of all my attention the past couple of weeks with the news going from good to bad to good. Behind my knee (where of course I cannot see very well) is swelling just like in the front, except the back gets compressed when I bend my knee, as I am while sitting at a desk. I can't leave it straight or I'll lose range of motion. So the swelling has been squeezed into hard ridges across the back of my knee. I'm not thrilled by this but figured it would sort itself out when the problem at the front of my knee was fixed. Then one bit started to swell further, became sore and even bled a little. So I took myself to my GP who took one look at the icky mess and called my surgeon. I went in to see him last Thurs and he fussed about it, drained clear fluid out of it, and put me on antibiotics. When I returned to get the expected bad news that it was infected, I was surprised (as was the surgeon) to learn that there was no sign of infection in the fluid drained, and in fact the swelling in the back of my knee has returned to its previous ugly but benign state. Just to be on the safe side I'm to see an infectious disease specialist next Friday. Otherwise the schedule of surgery on the 28th is still a go. I have a very annoying patellar clunk and soreness with swelling.

Other than that I have been reading. Finished Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch by Richard Hine on my Kindle. It is a comedy of the life in a corporation with all the games played and the players who should be familiar to anyone who works in a place with more than 10 employees. It had a surprising happy ending that I didn't see coming. I am plodding through Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson and the jury is out on whether I'll stick with it and its 2 following tomes which make up his Baroque cycle. A semi-historical novel about Isaac Newton probably fit the Bear perfectly but I'm finding it slow going. I started as BBBB Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, but it's about growing vegetables which is far too interesting (to me) for bedside reading. I am reading The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seirstad
on my Kindle. It reveals a lot about what goes on inside an Afghani family and the relations between men and women. Frankly, I find it very difficult to relate to these women who are brought up expecting to be sold like cattle, to have no life outside the home, who are often illiterate, and have no rights. Even without the Taliban, a woman's life in a strict Islamic society is very alien to western women. Even the Amish have the year off to find out whether they want the western lifestyle or not, but women in strict Islamic states are hidden and their lives are so constrained as to be impossible for me to understand. I have been watching the BBC series The Frankincense Trail which is hosted by an English woman but, when she enters Saudi Arabia, almost all her freedom is lost: she must dress a certain way, cannot drive, cannot be seen in public without a man as her guardian, etc. The women she meets in their luxurious shopping malls try to convince her the life inside a burqa is not so awful but the cultural mindset that believes that is what is right for a woman is beyond my comprehension. It would seem that the mere sight of a woman's face drives Islamic men so overwrought with desire that they cannot control themselves, so women have to dress as not to offend. Again, I read these books but I cannot understand how this culture exists, but I am trying to understand.

My veggie patch is producing beans, zucchinis, and tomatoes. The patches not currently under cultivation (that is, about 60% of the garden) are full of weeds, mostly couch grass. My lawn-mover says he has an employee who wants work and will come over and weed for me, but I don't envy her. Couch is the very devil to get rid of and will only find a new way into the patches from the lawn.