Disappointments and Concerns

I had mentioned earlier that my mom has been diagnosed with degenerative scoliosis, and that the cause of her back pain appears to be a protruding intervertebral disk (“slipped disk”) at L2-L3 which is impinging on a nerve root. Friday the 9th, she had her nerve block. The nerve block does not take effect immediately. It takes a day or two to kick in. Monday it started working, and worked very well until Wednesday when her pain came back with a vengeance. It was so intense that she ended up in the ER yesterday and was given a shot of morphine.

I am afraid that nothing will be able to be done for her pain except the surgical removal of the portion of the disk that is compressing the nerve root, which I am afraid the doctors won’t do because of her age (nearly 97), never mind the severity of her scoliosis. She’s fine as long as she’s in her recliner (which I am so glad I was able to talk her into getting), but the minute she stands up and starts walking, the disk puts pressure on the nerve, and she is in severe pain.

At the start of all this, she had me unearth my dad’s collapsible wheelchair which she had tucked away under a sheet along with miscellaneous other things including boxes of Christmas decorations. I found it, got it out of its case and set it out by the wall. It’s been sitting there this whole time. I’m afraid that’s the next step. Chronic pain is debilitating on both the mind and the body, and controlling it with drugs takes its own toll. We’re supposed to go back to the Spine Institute Monday morning (the earliest they could get her in) to talk to a nurse practitioner.

In the meantime, I have my own health concerns. Thankfully, my heart is not one of them at the moment. The echocardiogram I had two weeks ago was normal. In February, I flunked my mammogram, which I usually do because of fibrocystic changes I’ve had for years and years. I invariably get referred for a sonogram, which I usually pass. Only not this time. I was supposed to have a follow-up sonogram in March, but it didn’t get scheduled until July 7th. The radiologist spotted something in my left armpit he wanted to biopsy, which happened Monday the 12th. Still awaiting results of that. It could be one of three things: reactive lymph nodes resulting from the COVID vaccines, both of which were in that arm, and no biggie; a recurrence of CLL and a real bummer; or it could be a whole nother can of worms. The good news in this situation is that there is a new rule with the VA that took effect in 2019 which says if I live more than an hour’s drive away from a specific VA facility (the VA hospital in Amarillo is two hours away), I am entitled to community based care. My PCP at the VA has already made note of the local oncologist who treated me in 2018. If I have to go through that whole song and dance again, I can go back to my local doc and the VA will cover it without insisting I go to Amarillo for it.

In the knitting knews, I was watching a YouTube video with “advanced” knitting tips, and he was talking about if you didn’t like how the wrong side of a p2tog looked, do it through the back loop. The lightbulb in my head lit up bigtime.

The “stripes” in the Smuggler’s Moon shawl are:

RS: p1, k1, p2tog, yo, k1, yo, p2tog, k1, p1.

WS: k1, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k1

It’s that second p2tog that looks wonky on the wrong side (see above). This is because those p2tog’s incorporate a stitch that is “made” from a yarn over that was knitted on the WS row. But, in the first p2tog, the “made” stitch is the second of the two stitches being purled together, and it ends up on the top. In the second p2tog, the “made” stitch is the first stitch and ends up on the bottom. Bcause of the way the bar from the yarn over twists as the stitch is worked, that makes it look wonky. I tried purling that second p2tog through the back loop (which is a neat trick if you can do it!) and — no more wonky! No. I’m not going to frog the whole thing back to the “moon” part, because this is all about how three stitches on every other row look on the wrong side of the work. But that little trick gets filed away for the next one . . . .

One thing this guy brought up was something I’d never thought about (at 7.54 in the video). All yarn is twisted during the spinning process, and many yarns are twisted again during the plying process. That’s what holds the fibers/plys together. But, when you pull from the center of a cake or pull-skein, the mechanics of that situation means the yarn is being twisted yet again as you pull it out of the cake. This added twist can affect your tension and/or the stitch definition in a noticeable way — especially if it’s twisting in the opposite direction from the twist the yarn was given when it was spun/plyed. (Could this be why you have so much trouble with yarn “splitting?”) This is especially important when knitting with a single ply yarn like the Malabrigo worsted — center pulling it could “untwist” it, compromise the tensile strength of the yarn and lead to fraying and/or pulling apart. But, not to worry. I never center-pull from a cake for the same reason I hate pull skeins (those tools of the Devil!). At some point, the cake implodes and yarn barf happens. However, go ahead and use that “cake” winder, put the cake in a bowl and pull it from the outside of the cake. No problem.

I’ll leave you with the Smiley Face Bush all dolled up for 4th of July.

Author: WOL

My burrow, "La Maison du Hibou Sous Terre" is located on the flatlands of West Texas where I live with my computer, my books, and a lot of yarn waiting to become something.

One thought on “Disappointments and Concerns”

  1. I hope things go well tomorrow. Pain management is so hard. It’s one thing if it’s a result of injury, surgery, and such. Then, there’s the hope of an end to it. But I have friends who’ve had various kinds of back pain and such, and it’s a terrible burden. I’m glad you’ve been freed of that other irritating burden, and can stick closer to home for your own care. Little things like that do mean a lot.


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