Well, That Was Interesting

tl;dr: I got really sick. I’m better and I’m knitting again.

So… yeah.
I almost died this year. That’s weird to say, and weird to feel, but there you go. My doctor assures me this is a true statement. I said to her several times, “You mean, I could have died, right? Like almost being hit by a car?” But she insists she means what she said. More than being in danger of dying, I actually almost died.
I had severe anemia, severe enough, apparently, that it could have done me in. I did feel really, really awful, and I did get this sense of impending doom sometimes, so maybe that is when I was in the most danger.
But then I got blood transfusions and gray iron sludge stuff and got to eat a lot of steak and felt better than I had in a long time.
To correct this problem permanently, I had surgery. I had to do a lot of work at my job to prepare for it, get a couple people trained on parts of my job that had to happen (like payroll!), and such.  Had to get ready at home, too, and also prepared mentally and emotionally as well as I could.
I had surgery, and other than a medication that gave me hallucinations – that was interesting – it all went well, and I went home satisfied. I thought the story was pretty much over, and I was happy.
ONE HOUR after my son brought me home from the hospital so I could recover from major surgery, we discovered that our water heater had exploded. I am not making this up. Water inches deep in our little laundry room.  Insurance urged us to hire a water damage mitigation team.  So instead of quiet hours recovering, I spent several days with a crew of guys tromping in and out of the house, literally tearing up the floor and the walls and throwing away – I don’t even know what they threw away.  Lots of stuff.  Giant fans were blowing all day and all night, to try to dry out the house’s exposed guts.  It stunk horribly and was crazy-making for me. Oh, plus, no hot water.
I didn’t know if it was the stress of that week, or some bad air blown up from under the house (could happen, maybe?), or just one of those things that happens occasionally after surgery, but I got sick.  Pneumonia, my doctor said at first, not too big a deal, go home, take this antibiotic, take deep breaths, do all the things and you’ll be good. But I did not get better. For a week I was sick and weak. After spending about the most miserable day I’ve ever spent, unable to breathe, unable to sit up or stand up and really unable to lie down, unable to rest or eat, I went to the hospital when my husband got home from work and had a CT scan (which was torture; I could not lie down) and was told I had multiple blood clots in my lungs. Pulmonary emboli. That was a time I could have died, and it passed before I understood what had happened. Apparently, blood clots have to go through your heart to get to your lungs. If one of them had caught there, that would have been the end of me, between one heartbeat and the next.
After the CT scan, some blessed person gave me morphine and so I didn’t even care that I got rolled upstairs and put in a bed. Third time admitted to the hospital in as many months. I did not improve. More tests, poking and prodding, and it turned out I actually did have pneumonia as well, and part of my left lung had died or something. Sorry I can’t be too specific, the whole experience is kind of hazy to me now, and I’m not any kind of doctor.
I was so sick. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, ended up being given four different antibiotics, and the last one was so toxic it was blowing out the vein the IV was in every few hours and I’d have to have it moved. Super fun.
The antibiotics did not seem to be effective. I was not getting better. Hour by hour, I got worse – high fever, no appetite, distress. There came a point where I realized that this infection in my lungs just might end my life. It was a dark moment, and then in my exhaustion and fear I remembered God and his great love, and I prayed with my husband and gave my future to Him, with faith. Right away I felt ready to face whatever would come. It would be ok.
And then in the morning, one of my doctors (I had, like, five doctors) wanted to try something.

I was taken down to a little room where a doctor poked a hole in my back and drained out an entire quart of fluid from my left lung, or from the lining of my lung? I’m not sure.  All I know is it felt terrible. The tech said I could picture my lung as a big bath sponge just taken out of the water, all soggy and weighed down, and that’s why it hurt. The fluid had been bad for it, but was also buoying it up in a way.
I have a picture of the bottle full of stuff that was taken out.  It kind of looks like beer.

But after that, I got better and within 48 hours I was sent home. I had two more weeks of pneumonia to get through, but I could be sick at home. I’d spent ten long days in the hospital, though I’d say the nights were worse.
I was so exhausted.  I’d lost twenty pounds.  I could hardly lift an arm. And let us not forget, I was still recovering from surgery. Sadly, I had to push myself to get back to work within a couple of weeks, or go without pay.  We have no short term disability leave where I work. So I started working from home way before I felt I was ready, and then going in to work also way before I felt ready and all my energy went to my job. I wasn’t a baby about it at all. Wink.
Gradually I improved. I kept working on making my lungs stretchy again. I still have to struggle to take a really satisfying deep breath, it hurts, but it’s so much better.
And I thought about knitting a lot, but just didn’t feel ready for the mental effort.
Today I am pretty normal. I’ve gained my weight back. I walk a lot. I’m my old chipper self. I don’t worry about getting exhausted doing normal daily things. Sometimes I forget what I’ve been through, and I’ll get a sudden sharp reminder from a random memory, and it surprises me. It will be a year or two to fully recover from the blood clots. I might have a dead spot in my lung for the rest of my long, long life. But I’ve been scanned and sonared and xrayed and everything is looking pretty good. I’ll be fine.
I’ve been kind of afraid to start knitting because I did not want to start and then have to put it down again. It’s my sign that I am really OK and I still worry about over committing. But I’ve missed it, too, and thought about it a lot.
Also, in the last three months, my husband has gotten very serious about writing, and I have been helping him by editing and learning how the whole publishing thing goes so he can focus on storytelling, and that has also been a place where my energy has gone. It’s been a lot of fun, but it is also a great deal of work. That website is here, if you’re curious.
I am still knitted scarf crazy. Today, triumphant, I finished the edging on the scarf I put down a bit over a year ago. Feels so good. Tomorrow, I want to finish the other scarf that was ready to go except for adding a couple of beads. After that I will get to the scarf I had barely started, way back when, before life got crazy. And I have one more almost ready to start on. All four of these are based on characters from the wizarding world. And also I have more ideas, already asking if they can come out and play. Scarves, scarves, scarves!
This feels good. I’m glad to be alive.

What’s next? Unfortunately, things are still happening. My sweet old dog is dying of bone cancer. Sigh.

I’m Baaaaaack…

Mariachi QAnd I do feel like celebrating that. Where have I been?  Well, living life. Stuff’s been happening, guys.


First, our beautiful daughter got married. See the happy couple? It was lovely and exhausting and all went swimmingly and now we have a son-in-law. All is well. But, man. Here’s a good story: I was visiting with our daughter-in-law’s parents at the wedding reception. Daughter-in-law’s mother asked me how it had all gone for me, all the set up and prep and running around. “Well,” I said, “I am pretty wiped out. For the past week, I have been my daughter’s personal slave. Anything she needed, I said, ‘OK, it’s handled,’ and then I would handle it. I’ve been run off my feet. I was happy to do it for her, but I’m really tired.” She nodded in recognition. Then, perfect timing, my dear daughter the bride breezed up and daughter-in-law’s mother asked her the same question: how did it all go for her, all the set up and prep and running around? “Oh, it was easy,” my daughter replied airily. We smiled knowingly at each other, we mothers of brides.

But after all that, I thought it would be back to our regularly scheduled program. Except then my laptop got to go on the honeymoon with the happy couple while my daughter’s laptop was at Best Buy getting repaired (just one of the things I helped handle). I didn’t feel up to figuring out how to post from my cute little tablet, so I got into this mindset of waiting a bit to write a post.

And then I got the flu and was sure I’d been run over by a truck for a week. Then I had to recover from that, which turned out to be really hard – I was really tired, and starting to wonder if there was something wrong with my body.

Then Christmas – you know, suddenly you’ve got places to be and stuff to do and all that. I did all that, but I was so, so tired.

And then right after the new year, I ended up in the hospital. Yes, I was as surprised as anyone. Turns out I had severe anemia. I ended up having transfusions of four units of red blood cells (they call them RBC’s in the hospital, which I find somehow appealing – rolls nicely off the tongue, don’t you think?). Since I have about 10 units of blood in me total, yeah, adding 4 kind of shows you how low I was. Low low low. And then I had to have this dark grey iron sludge IV’d into me for five days. Literally, it was iron sludge. I think they called it “iron sucrose.” Made me feel better, but I was still tired and sleepy as my body recovered from all this and started repairing itself.

…And then, two weeks later, my father died unexpectedly. We went to be with our family. Funerals are odd events, really. I’ve been to a bunch, unfortunately, so I can speak out of some experience here. It’s a sad event, and emotions come in waves, but it’s also great to see family you haven’t seen for a while, and all be in the same place with nothing to do but enjoy each others’ company, and everyone is acutely aware of how precious that time is. So there’s something really, really good about the family coming together, even for a funeral. It’s comforting, and valuable and resets your priorities and it’s not really as gloomy as you might think, if you haven’t experienced it. But still, yeah. My dad’s gone and I have to figure out how to cope with/adjust to that.

So I’m home this weekend, just breathing, just absorbing all this life stuff that’s been happening. It helps that the sun is out today. Feels nice.

And in a month, I am having surgery. A happy little hysterectomy, to remove the fibroids that are completely out of control and made me so anemic. For me, this is the best solution. But I’m looking at a potential six week recovery period.

So, yeah. Things keep happening. Don’t ask me why. I kind of feel like I’m just “drifting along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds” right now, if that makes sense to you. Just letting things happen, experiencing them, not fighting.

I’ll keep you posted. And, happy knitting!

Please Stand By

please_stand_byOK, so, my daughter is getting married in two weeks, and though I really thought I could just keep putting out patterns anyway, that seems not to be the case. I’m a tad distracted.

So thank you, and I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. I hope you understand.

Happy knitting! Love, Cathy

Another Regency Pattern – Touch of the Orient

Orient Hero

“I thought India a most delightful country, and could I have gathered around me the dear ones I had left in England, my happiness would have been complete.”
– Fanny Parkes, excerpted from Wanderings of a Pilgrim in search of the Pictureseque, During four and twenty years in the East, 1850

Orient 1

I knit this elegant and luxurious scarf with ultra soft Living Dreams Anne Lace Yarn.  The design is adapted from an authentic Regency period pattern. I wish you could put your hand right into your screen so you could feel how gorgeous the scarf is. Yumm.

Orient 2

If you want to make one yourself, find the pattern in my Ravelry shop.

Happy Knitting!

Disinclined to Acquiesce to Your Request Hat

Disinclined Hero

I don’t suppose many pirates in the Caribbean need warm winter hats, but I don’t care. I was feeling contrary one morning and thinking about that line from the movie and I thought, I need a hat that explains that I am not going to be helpful today. If you need one too, make it and wear it and when some fool wants something from you, just give them a pointed look. Ah, satisfaction!

Disinclined 2

Look at this great hat!  I love it so much!

Disinclined Detail

How can you even stay cranky when people are smiling at you because your hat is so awesome?

i had the idea for this hat over a year ago, but it had to wait in line for all the other ideas I had. I still have more ideas, and I am excited for them, but I have to say this hat idea pleased me more than the others. A tell it like it is hat. So great.

I even knit it twice, and gave instructions to make it two different ways: stranded Fair Isle if you’d like, or double knit for a warmer, stretchier hat.  Though it’s not actually reversible – on the other side the ‘o’ looks the same but the ‘n’ is backwards.  Can’t have everything, right?

Make this hat! You can find the pattern here, in my growing Ravelry store.

Happy knitting!

PS: Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you? I appreciate you so much!

Love, Cathy

What Han Was Thinking

SW HeroI can’t believe what I’m seeing out there, against the dead black of space. There ought to be music for this, some giant, awesome theme swelling from the stars themselves, but life just don’t work that way. That crazy DEATH STAR, big as a moon, the little X Wings zipping around everywhere, dying in little bursts of light. They got speed and heart, sure, but they ain’t gonna’ beat that thing. No way; it’s suicide.

But Luke is too stupid to get it. He just jumped in there, going for the million to one long shot like some kind a’ storybook hero. He’s going to die and I don’t want to see it. Wish I could look away. Does he even notice that Tie Fighter closing in on him? He’s right on his tail!

“Chewie, go set up the hyperboost right now. Hurry! What am I doing? No time to explain – just do it! I gotta’ get to the guns.”

There – I bought you some time, anyway, poor kid.

It’s away! Looks like it might actually have gone in. Wait, wait, oh, I hate waiting… Incredible!A I could almost believe in this Force thing.

“Chewie, did you see that? What a shot!”

“Great job, kid! Now let’s blow this thing and go home. So we can get a drink. A big one – and I ain’t talkin’ no blue milk, either. I mean like a PanGalactic Gargle Blaster or something. You’re buying, Chewie.”

SW close up

Just look at that thing. It’s a beauty, isn’t it? Well, sorry, but I think so. I just love it. If you do too, make it for the biggest Star Wars fan you know. He or she will thank you.

Here’s the Ravelry link.

Happy knitting!

PS: “Star wars…  Nothin’ but star wars! Give me those star wars! Don’t let it end…”

Thanks, Bill Murray, for that most excellent song. Now if I could just get it out of my head for five minutes. Thanks.

Name of the Doctor Double Knit Purse

Name heroThe easy Name of the Doctor Purse has our favorite doctor’s Gallifreyan’s name wrapped all the way around. It will fit a paperback book for those long lines at the big conventions, or a fine selection of everyday essentials at any time.

Each pattern includes detailed written instructions on how to double knit, what to do when PROBLEMS strike, as well as how to make the I-cord straps. This project should take you between 8 and 14 hours, depending on your skill level.

You’ll need two skeins each of two colors of sport weight wool yarn.

So much fun!

Name eyes

Available, as usual, at my Ravelry store.  PS: Yes, I am that appallingly white…  sorry…