Archive for January, 2014

Natural Eggs

A woman called me the other day. She told me that her husband only wanted them to eat “natural” eggs, so she would like to buy some from me, since she heard that I had free-range chickens. “You don’t confine them to layer houses, do you?” she asked suspiciously.

“No, no I don’t. Layer houses can cost millions to put in. Many of our hens are free range. Those are either bantam crosses or too old to keep as layers and I don’t particularly want to eat them. Our layers are confined to pastured pens so that they aren’t consumed by foxes, possums, coyotes, raccoons, and all the other predators that like a chicken dinner.”

“Do they get organic feed?”

“Well, partly. They eat weeds which are unfertilized except by manure. They eat bugs which are organic, I suppose. They get scratch feed and oyster shells. The grain is not organic.”

“Are the eggs high in Omega 3 fatty acids?”

“I have no idea.”

“Very well. I’ll try three dozen.”

“Ma’am, my hens are not in a climate-controlled henhouse.”

“Yes, I know. That’s what we want.”

“They do not get artificial lighting.

“Yes, we like sustainable operations.”

“Hens do not like to lay eggs when the days are short, cloudy, and cold.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I won’t have eggs for sale until the days are longer and warmer.”

“When will that be?”

“Spring.” Because that is when you get natural eggs.

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SwampMan Almost 5 Weeks Status Post TKR

I met KC Duffy of Pixie Place at a local restaurant for breakfast on Thursday last. She was on her way to lovely Pensacola to rejoin her husband. She looked all happy and rested, although she was a little stressed about whether she had forgotten any household items to take with her. My hair was limp and wild at the same time, a style that could be best described as Neo-Yeti. My skin was dry. My eyes had bags under the bags and looked serial killerish. It was my first foray out of the house to meet an actual person that was not a relative or SwampMan in several weeks, and it felt a bit strange. Did I have on clean clothes? Did I have on matching shoes? Was I still in pajamas? I dunno!

We did not have our usual two hour (or three hour) breakfast as she had to get on the road, but it was sure nice to see a friendly face that did not blame me because they were in pain and somehow it was All My Fault.

Which brings us to SwampMan. He returned to work 4 weeks after his surgery. It was probably too early to return to work, but he has to get his other knee done, too, and can only take off so much time per semester. That’s why he is complaining about pain. He’s not keeping his knee elevated and iced, and it swells and gets achy. The school chairs are not built for comfort. He complains about pain, and I tell him he needs to elevate his knee, ice it, and do his physical therapy. This does not go over well. He would rather take a pill. It is a difficult time for both of us. I know that he needs to do his therapy and continue with his leg elevation and icing for swelling (which causes the achy pain). He alternately gets mad at me for telling him what to do and for NOT telling him what to do.

After weaning off the pain medication, he went from sleeping 18 hours plus per day to sleeping four hours or less per night. Yikes. When SwampMan can’t sleep, he makes sure I don’t, either! He wanders from his lazy chair to my lazy chair to the living room lazy chair to daughter’s old double bed to the waterbed. I follow him around carrying blankets, pillows, CPAP machine, clock, ice packs, etc. I feel like a sleepy pack mule.

I think he’s doing pretty well. His knee flexion during his last physical therapy session, which was over a week ago, was 123 degrees. (He’s supposed to be doing outpatient physical therapy, but his paperwork hasn’t gone through yet. The insurance companies are all screwed up due to Obamacare, I suppose, even for the people that aren’t Obamacare patients.) At this point, I’m worried that he’s going to be going in for his six-week postsurgical checkup and physical therapy review sans physical therapy! He can walk around the house without support or with just a cane but, for longer distances, he still needs a walker because his left knee has gotten so much worse since his right knee was operated on.

I’m not sure how much longer he is going to survive waking me up to tell me he can’t sleep, though. He’s not sure how long I am going to survive telling him that he’s using his cane incorrectly, and he needs to wrap his pain up in a box with a pretty red bow and shove it in an imaginary closet and just deal with it. He tells me where I can shove my pain theories and that I don’t know what pain is, anyway. *sigh*

In six weeks, we do this all over again with his left knee.

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Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

SwampMan is now one week post bionic knee operation! So now he has one bad knee and one extremely painful knee that does not yet work correctly. He walked without bending his knee(s) for several years before undergoing surgery, and now those muscles have to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d so that his knee can bend. This is a very painful process. SwampMan does not suffer quietly.

When the physical therapist was at the house yesterday attempting to get him to flex his knee as much as possible, the loud groans and moans and yells from SwampMan scared the two youngest grandchildren. The smallest, two-year-old Zoe, cried, then brought SwampMan her very favorite blanket, pillow, and stuffed toy for comfort so that he would feel better.

SwampMan also does not do medications well. One day, he held numerous conversations with people that were not there. One of the people he was talking with had, in fact, passed on several years ago. “Who are you talking with, dear?”

“Mrs. X.” Then, he whispered to me “You know I never liked her. Make her go away.”

“Uh, sure. SwampMan needs to rest now, so his visitors need to leave.” I cut his pain pills and stretched the time between them until the invisible people left. Or maybe I’m just an awesome exorcist. Should I put that on my resume? Then I realize that I don’t need a resume for any job that I would now qualify for. For example, fast food. Except that you have to make everything the exact same way every damn time, and you have to be pleasant to customers. Oh, damn. I don’t qualify for that either.

The next day, when the grandchildren were playing, he wanted to know if we were all ready for Christmas. Since we had spent Christmas day in the hospital and had missed it entirely, I could understand his confusion, but we had given out Christmas presents to the grandchildren the day before. “Uh, no, we were in the hospital on Christmas, remember?” He didn’t believe me. He checked the date on his phone.

“It’s New Year’s eve?”


“Christmas is over?”


“No Christmas dinner?”


“Well, that sucks. Maybe you can cook Christmas dinner and invite everybody over tonight.” This to a woman that hasn’t had time to take a shower for a week and who also has bags under her eyes the size of hen eggs from not getting more than 2 consecutive hours of sleep for a week, too. Let’s see here….if I do not have time to sleep or take a shower, then I must have lots of time to shop for and prepare a feast for the family. I think NOT.

“NO. There will be no family dinners, Christmas or otherwise, until you can sit at the kitchen table and walk and sit down by yourself without the walker.”

“We need to talk about my other knee surgery on January 6th.”

“Oh, HELL no.”

“You want me to put it off until March?”

“Unless your doctor wants to put you in a nursing home, because I CAN’T CARRY YOU THROUGH THE HOUSE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TWO NONFUNCTIONING KNEES!”

Early this morning, about 2 a.m., I gave him an eggroll, a couple bananas, and a glass of tea. “You really should get some sleep. I should be okay until morning!” SwampMan notified me.

“I am going to take a shower. I am going to go to sleep. Do NOT decide to walk around the house several times, then bang your cane on the bed because you can’t lift your leg into it. I probably won’t hear you!” I warned. And if he did, I didn’t wake up. I slept until 8 a.m. It’s 11:30 now, SwampMan has been fed, Puppy has been fed, dishes are in the dishwasher (and the sink, ugh), and I have to go out and feed/release livestock, pick up prescriptions, and do some laundry/cleaning before the grandkids come back over tonight.

Did I mention that I’m cleaning out drawers and closets and all the clothes that SwampMan and I are hoarding because we *might* be able to get back into them someday are now piled all over the dining room? I intended to get them to GoodWill and Salvation Army at the end of December only I’d have to launder them first because they’re dusty. Hahahahahahahaha. So much for out with the old and in with the new! I *might* have them all washed and out in another week. Or two. Or maybe I’ll decide (again) that this is the year that I squeeze into my skinny clothes. Hey. It could happen (what’s the temperature in hell again)?

I hope that the holidays were memorable for you and yours! For us, this will be The Year Without Christmas.

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