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June 11th, 2012

Yard Work HURTS

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So Friday was the day Mom and I planned to do some work on our trail. She's been out of school for about a week now, and we've been working our way through gardening and yard projects over the past week, with Wednesday off for hiking. And Friday was my day. We have about 3.5 acres very far out in the country, and on one corner of our property, we let progression take its course. We stopped mowing for about 5 or 10 years, and in that time, a lot of little trees grew up. Unfortunately poison ivy did too, but we're working on that. Anyway, several years ago, we cut a trail through that little woodlot, from near the mailbox curving around to the very front part of the front yard.

Side story - last week, there was a deer in the front yard, and I grabbed the camera to snap a couple of pictures. We see deer all the time, but we never get tired of them--though we do get a bit exasperated when they eat the garden or important trees! Anyway, the deer saw me coming and ducked down into the trail. Mom and I decided to hurry up and see if the deer was still on the trail, because we thought it would be a neat picture. She went around the outside of the woodlot and I went along the trail. The deer was nowhere to be found! Not on the longer trail or the little connecting trail, not running across the field, not anywhere I could see hiding in the underbrush... Then apparently, Mom went around the opposite direction from how I was going, and suddenly she couldn't find me either. She thought I'd vanished!

Me, I'm just cranky that apparently our trail has a door into Narnia, and I go on that trail all the time, but I've never made it to Narnia. *grumps*

Anyway, Friday I was apparently feeling extra klutzy. Earlier this week, while mowing, I drove an autumn olive brancy into my knee and scratched it all up, then later was attacked by a tulip tree that didn't think I had enough scratches on that knee. Then while we were working on the trail, we hitched a wagon to the mower (not a little red wagon, but a proper hitchy-type wagon). While trimming tree branches and such, I took a step back, hit my calf hard on the hitch, and fell over backwards, scraping my elbow on the way down. I was terrified I was falling into poison ivy, but fortunately the spot where I landed was clear.

As I was getting up, Mom said, "Be careful of the muffler! Don't burn yourself!"

Clever as I am, I replied, "In all the years I've been mowing this yard, I've never once burned myself on that muffler."

Famous. Last. Words.

Two wagon-loads later, we were almost finished with the trail and ready to move out into the open areas to do the sides of the woodlot. That adds just a little more tragedy to the story, because it was only the close quarters along the trail that caused my downfall. I was trying to get between the equipment and a rather large hickory tree. Squeezed between them, paused to look at something, and a couple seconds later let out an ear-splitting shriek as I realized that my leg was melting off.

Yes, I had pressed my calf (the same one I bruised earlier) against the muffler. I looked down and had a five-and-a-half inch streak of bright red running up my calf. We didn't have water, of course--we were drinking Gatoride-like stuff, and I thought the sodium and such would hurt if I poured it on the skin. So I sprinted to the house and stuck my leg in the sink. Which, let me tell you, is an incredibly awkward pose, even though the vanity is pretty big.

I've been fortunate, though, that taking 800mg of ibuprofen whenever it starts hurting (which is sometimes 6 hours and sometimes longer) has kept the pain to a minimum, except when changing the dressing. Showering was especially not fun. Anyway, tonight I'm venturing to sleep without a bandage on it. It's healing pretty well, but I'm worried about the cats, especially Eowyn, because she has a habit of curling up against my legs, especially my calves. I may end up shutting the cats out of the bedroom when I go to sleep. :(

For the curious, I have a picture of the trail and two pictures of the burn behind the cut.

Large photos - Pretty scenery and then some graphic wounds. Yippee. )

In the meantime, I totally feel guilty for subjecting my protagonist to hot irons when he's being tortured by the bad guys. Then again, he has a blood-drinking sword that will heal him. I am not so fortunate.

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December 29th, 2011

Ouch, Part Two

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Well, the ankle isn't broken. I have a bizarre small purplish swollen bit on the right side, but it's otherwise not swollen at all, maybe because I got ice on it right away and kept it on there for a good while, and kept doing the 20-on-40-off all evening. Slept with it elevated too. But this morning when I got up to let the dogs out and feed the horses, it hurt like a bitch. Since I had that bizarre purplish bit and it hurt so bad, I decided to go ahead to the urgent care. The exam portion was only $72 (I think they gave me a break since I didn't have insurance, but I know I also got 10% for paying in full today). The x-rays, I don't know how much they'll be yet, but I have a while to find out, because they have to bill me.

Anyway, Dr. Hatcher (I love him) says it's just a sprain, and they gave me an air splint to wear. I explained I had horses to feed and he said that was fine, but to watch my footing in the barn because uneven ground can cause a second injury (believe me, I knew that already! Feeding this morning was a bitch). Then I told him about going to Trinidad and Tobago in a couple of weeks, and he said it should be all healed up by then. I love him. He's got the best bedside manner of any doctor I've ever known, and he's never condescending or patronizing. He takes people seriously even if they don't have a medical degree. *G*

So the orders are to keep off it as much as possible, but he said it will be healed up just fine for our trip. I can deal with the pain as long as I know I'm not damaging it worse if I have to put weight on it. So there we go.

Now if only I could figure out this blasted camera. I've been doing intensive experimenting, using both the Nikon manual and my National Geographic Photography Field Guide (and [community profile] shutterspeed and [community profile] photofriends. So far I still can't get the extreme closeups that I want to know how to do. But at least I've figured out how to change the shutter speed and aperture, which I wasn't very good at before.

I've started a tumblr for my personal stuff at but so far I haven't decided on a name for Jan & Steph's trip to Trinidad & Tobago. Any suggestions? :D

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December 28th, 2011

Ranch life. Ouch.

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Since Boxing Day I've been house-sitting for a friend of my mom's. I feel pretty lucky to be doing it, too. She and her husband have a small ranch and farm near us. I'm responsible for taking care of Woodrow (the corgi) and Rooster (the gigantic greyhound), four horses, and about sixteen barn cats, as well as one semi-house cat that thinks she's a dog. The neighbor is taking care of feeding the hundred or so head of cattle (thank God). I'm having a blast. This house reminds me of the lodges I've stayed at out west. Entirely log construction, inside and outside, gorgeous wood floors, wood furniture that the husband made himself...Wonderful.

I've had a couple of little issues, like not being able to get the central heating to work (it was like 57 degrees in here the first day, and 54 yesterday), and then failing to get a proper fire laid in the fireplace last night. But fortunately after the fire smoked itself out for the second time (I don't have problems with campfires, so I'm not sure what's wrong), I went and fiddled with the furnace, and the central heating started working.

But today the real problem hit. Woodrow and Rooster informed me loudly that someone was here. (They were lying, it was just the construction crew coming back from lunch.) But I didn't realize they were wrong, so I went downstairs to see who it was. And I missed the last step.

I landed with my foot at a ninety-degree angle to the floor. I can't remember the last time something hurt so much. I sat there whimpering for a little bit, then made it over to the freezer and got ice on it. But I couldn't get hold of my mom (who is on Christmas break from school) for a while, and being out in the ass-end of nowhere (which I usually love) means I can't just hop in the car and drive to CVS for an Ace bandage really quickly. Not that I could really drive anywhere, because I have a manual transmission, which requires the use of both feet, not just one. I could probably manage gas and brake left-footed, but not gas and brake AND clutch.


I did manage to get hold of Mom about an hour and a half ago, and she's supposed to be bringing an Ace bandage when she gets done running errands in town. But I can't figure out what all she was planning to do before coming here. *sigh* I could limp out and ask the construction guys to run me into town, but as nice as I'm sure they are, I don't generally get into trucks with strange men. And I could call the neighbor who's feeding the cattle, but honestly this seems a little minor to trouble him over, since I know Mom will get here eventually.

I did take 1500 miligrams of ibuprofen, and I've eaten, and I scooted up the steps on my butt so I have the netbook. Putting weight on it doesn't actually hurt, but putting weight and then having any sort of shift of that weight bites deep. Good thing, though, because I had to take the dogs out about half an hour ago. They just couldn't wait any longer.

I haven't looked at it yet. I have thick wool socks on that I think are providing some compression, and are definitely providing insulation against the ice.

Randomly, it's really hard to get barn boots off when one of your ankles doesn't work properly.

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