Right on
Thursday July 30th 2009, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Knit

A quick knitting note: I worked out a pattern and started a shawl a few days ago in a 65/35 cashmere/superfine merino blend…and then had the same hesitation I’ve always had in the half dozen years I’ve owned that yarn.

It is lovely, lovely, soft stuff. But…  I finally handed Michelle two strands of it and asked her to pull them apart.  Zero effort–foof, done.

I asked her advice, and her reaction was she would never wear something where she would be afraid a wedding ring would catch on it the first time she wore it and then that would be the end of all that work.

I took the needles out, sealed it back in its bag, and put it back in its corner. Maybe someday I’ll ply it with something stronger.  To be sure, then, I tug-tested my Fino baby alpaca/silk I’d bought at Purlescence.  No breaking. Guess which one I’m knitting?

A bit of medical stuff:

After all the grief in January, I must give them credit.

Caremark sent me a letter recently, as I’ve mentioned, and then a second to reiterate the point, denying me not only my anti-nausea med because I didn’t have one of two specific types of cancer, but denying my doctor the right to prescribe an IV dose of it above a certain level.

This is stupid. This is a med that can help keep me out of the hospital, given my low blood pressure’s inability to tolerate barfing.

They told me I could appeal.

It took me awhile to do. A friend showed me a sample letter for a formal, matter-of-fact medical appeal to follow.

I couldn’t write it. I tried. I just couldn’t.

I finally sat down about a week ago and wrote the letter *I* needed to write, spelling out exactly what they had done in January and why their stance was again medically unreasonable.  That I might have been able to keep my colon had they responded in a timely manner earlier.  Telling them in no uncertain terms what I expected them to do and to do it right.  NOW. I snailmailed it to them and a copy to Blue Cross. A lawyer was mentioned as a possibility.

I got a call today from a nurse working for Blue Cross. She made no direct mention of that letter.  But she was appalled when she heard the details from back then and told me exactly what she was going to do to follow up on that. Meantime, she gave me her name, her phone number, her fax number, her colleague’s name as a backup, and told me if I had any problem authorizing anything, contact her immediately, and if I had a problem at an after-hours time, call this other number.  She told me Caremark had no business whatsoever with in-hospital dosages, not even at Urgent Care, they only had any possible say in home health care after the hospitalization.  Any problem, call her. And fax this form from their site so that Richard could call on my behalf if need be.

I was gobsmacked. They actually did the right thing. Someone at my insurance is actually on my side now.  Wow. Cool.

Skirting the issue
Wednesday July 29th 2009, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life

Ah, my, trying to figure out a way to write about this one in a way my mother won’t object to…

Okay, first: in answer to the question about whether I named the toy white cell Sam sent me? Leuk, of course, short for leukocyte.  Leuk! Leuk! Use the Farce!

Ahem. Next: I have a few skirts made from a microfiber polyester suede-look fabric. I love natural fibers, but these have earned their keep. They’re pretty imperturbable, indestructible, and in my experience, given that they don’t absorb stuff, they are definitely un-stainable. (They also seem much more a California fabric to me than something I’d wear back home in 100% humidity and heat in the summer.)

On to our story.

Ways to be of service do not always come in pretty packages, and when they don’t, the chance of the moment is completely in how you unwrap them.

I had a pre-op appointment at the hospital early this afternoon. They were very thorough. They wanted to know absolutely everything.

And I drove that poor nurse nuts.  She was clearly not having a good day before she ever laid eyes on me, and in comes this fuzzy-memoried woman who can’t remember what year she had which complication of lupus or Crohn’s. How long have you had…  How long has this…  Sixteen years or eighteen?  One month of really being an issue, or…?  (How do I know how much is an issue to you when it’s not to me and it hasn’t been to my doctors?)   Blood pressure 86/45 ON the med to raise it?! Do you feel dizzy?  You *don’t*?

Nah, this is normal to me.

She got on the phone to my cardiologist’s office asking for further details to be faxed in, and in came another nurse with an EKG machine. The first one asked me a few questions, rolled her eyes at me, and let the EKG begin.

At the end, (it was normal), the EKG nurse drew the curtain for me to get dressed again and left, and the irritable nurse suddenly heard a sharp exclamation of OHMYGOODNESS! And then, since there was a sink and soap on my side of the curtain, a, “How do you turn on the water!?”

“Foot pedals.” And then she called to me, in rising concern, “Is everything all right?”

Oh my goodness. In the grand scheme of things, well, yeah. In the moment, no.  Going to tuck in my shirt, I had somehow hit the little loop at the top of the two-piece ileostomy bag and–it had never even occurred to me that such a thing could happen–the thing had burst apart across the inside of my lower clothes. I shut it back up and washed my hands, but my stars. It was bad.

I thought back to one doctor who’d told me confidently, “And now that you’ve gotten comfortable with the bag…” where I almost interrupted him to ask sweetly and innocently, Oh–did I say that?

Here’s one saving grace: hot cocoa for breakfast does not stink in such circumstances. (An aside to Dad: I am SO justified! Neener neener. Heh.)

I apologized to the nurse for stinking anyway, feeling that it’s always good to care about one’s impact on others.  She assured me she smelled not a thing.

Thinking back, I was a tad rueful, surely, but I did not get upset. Sometimes things just happen.

And from that point on, she thawed.  She knew and I knew there was nothing I could do till I got home and showered, and I think whatever was wrong with her day, she was probably thinking it wasn’t as bad as walking down the hallway hoping that… my problem didn’t get…worse… (Where’s that guy with that mopping machine?) I wasn’t entirely sure that thing was entirely secure now.

But you know, when that nurse comes back to where she can laugh again in her life, whether that’s tomorrow after a good night’s sleep or whether it’ll take a little longer than that, she’ll be swapping this story with other nurses for a very long time to come. The ileostomy patient who flipped herself off.  Ohmygoodness.

That blessedly indestructible skirt kept my not-tucked-in silk blouse completely clean all the way home.  Nobody walking down the busy main hallway at Stanford Hospital could tell anything was wrong as I went back to my car.

And there was a jumper, for wearing post-op, made out of that same fabric, waiting in a box for me outside my door when I got home.

Ruby Tuesday
Tuesday July 28th 2009, 7:03 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life

The staph infection came roaring back on cue.

The antibiotics have begun.

The show shall go on. No delay.

The pharmacist said how to take the stuff four times a day while out cold was the surgeon’s problem.

But–no sitting up for two weeks post-op!?  How am I supposed to do thank-you knitting afterwards?  Plan ahead, I guess, and work hard.

The ruby yarn got swatched today–I was determined to play with it at least some to get it out of my system for now, and now I know better what I’ll be doing with it, what changes to make to adjust to gauge.   To be knitted up the rest of the way in its own good time.

A small thud.  A bird hit the window behind me but kept right on flying as I turned to see, veering away from the glass and out of danger, not feeling so great for the moment but thankfully okay.

Needling the microbiologist
Monday July 27th 2009, 4:44 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends

My friend Wendy stopped by today, surprising me with roses to make next week come easier.  She was my daughters’ girls’ camp director back in the day (and I was always grateful she did the volunteering for that so I didn’t have to.  Brave soul.)  Thank you, Wendy!

Then the mail came.  Two boxes.  One from Germany. The other–Rookies HQ Games and Cards? What IS this?

You ordered it, Mom!

I did not!

Open it!

It was from Sam.  The tag proclaims, “1,000,000+ x actual size!” A teddy-bear leukocyte: a snuggleable white blood cell, complete with bug eyes and a stitched-in smile to make me laugh.

I gave it a monocle from the other box to help it squint better at those pathology slides.

I had a favorite pair of Holz and Stein knitting needles that disappeared in Santa Rosa last year, the 5.5mm ones I’d used to knit every shawl in my book that was done in that size needle.  Lisa Souza recently sent me this Ruby baby alpaca laceweight, and a large part of me wanted to again have dedicated Holz and Steins just for it and then to use forever after for size 3.5mm projects.  (This particular wood was a special edition that didn’t come in the larger size.) I’ve spent several weeks in anticipation of being able to put the two together and to work, while my needles were being custom made and shipped, and now I can!

But in the meantime, in the occasional contest for most unusual use of a knitting needle, I’d say using the cable part as a monocle for a stuffed leukocyte…yeah, that’s getting up there, wouldn’t you say?

From see to shining see
Sunday July 26th 2009, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Life,Wildlife

(Photo taken the second time it came to drink.)

I sent a note off to a friend, and I’m adding in a few phrases here to give more context:

I just went outside and one little finch on the patio did not fly away from me. I got up quite close to it; something seemed wrong, and looking at its eye, it clearly was blind on one side. The eye near me was swollen and dead.

I stayed there, kneeling next to it, wishing it well, and finally softly said something to see if it could hear me, since it hadn’t responded to the sliding door opening. It swiveled its head around, looked at me with its good eye a moment, and then flitted off to the safety of the tree.

Which answered my question as to whether it could see where it was going. I’m glad it at least has that. It was a little breathtaking having it so close for so long, but I went afterward and told Richard what I’d seen, needing the comfort in the face of the little thing’s suffering.

And Diana, on the receiving end of that email, with the wisdom of having been both participant and observer in such things, reminded me that it is harder to witness suffering than to live it.  When it is ours, we deal with it and adjust, enjoying what we can do and getting through what we can’t.

The little finch flew back to me awhile after our exchange.  I had set out a shallow pan of water; it perched on the edge and drank.  Somehow, that completely lifted my day. I had been able to provide what it needed and, in this dry climate, could not easily find on its own. And it let me know I had indeed made a difference to it.

Monterey scarf pattern
Saturday July 25th 2009, 12:17 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort"

My friend Cris asked me to post the pattern of the scarf I’d adapted from the Monterey shawl pattern, saying she’s more about the scarves, herself, and I promised I would.

Here’s what you do.  Start with one copy of “Wrapped in Comfort, Knitted Lace Shawls;” turn to page 44, the Monterey Bay Aquarium-inspired shawl.

Yarn: one skein Camelspin by Handmaiden.ca, 300m/100g,  in the bluegreen Topaz colorway; I had 36g left when I was done. (Cris was swooning, “What IS this?! This is SO soft!” Yes, it is, and shimmery, too, knitted up; it’s one of my favorite yarns.)

Needles: I used size 5mm, which in American sizes is an 8. Note that the seaweed pattern spreads out quite a bit less than the jellyfish, making for a warmer, denser area for the neck.

Cast on 39.

Row 1 and all wrong side rows except as noted in the jellyfish: purl.

Rows 2 and 6: as row 6 in the book.

Rows 4 and 8: as row 12 in the book.

row 10–as row 30 in the book, except: when there are three stitches on left needle near the end of the row, pick up the bar between the second and third stitches.  You now have four where there were three.  Use that new stitch while making your ssk that’s in the pattern directions, then knit the last two stitches.

Now that you have the right stitch count for the jellyfish, do four repeats of them in total, going along as written in the book. (The jellyfish are rows 30-37.)

Next: I was going to go straight to the seaweed pattern, but found that without the increase row like the shawl has, you’ll have a set of two trying to match up with a set of three.  It doesn’t work. I went back to doing as rows 2-8 above, which leaves no straight lines and no sense of anything being skewed. That’s the stitch I was using to convey a sense of water bubbles at the edge of the surf.

Then do the seaweed section, which is row 18 in the book. The first time, you’ll need to decrease one stitch to get it back down to a count of 39 to match the new pattern. I did this by ending the row with k2tog, k1; this made it so that the edge didn’t have a jog.

I did 55 repeats of the seaweed row.

Then I did rows 2-8 as noted above.

Then back to the jellyfish. Note that in the finished scarf the jellyfish will hang going in one direction on one side of the body as you wear the scarf and the other way on the other.  This is okay. Fishies swim. It’s one of their charms. Do four sets of jellyfish: don’t forget, for the first row of them, to increase one stitch as you did before near the end of the row.

Now go back and do rows 2-8 as above twice more.

Purl that last row, cast off, run the ends in, and enjoy.

Tall tails
Friday July 24th 2009, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Wildlife

To answer the question–yes, the surgeon encouraged me to go ahead to Sock Summit if I wanted to first: go live your life! The answer was I would dearly love to, but with Richard shaking his head reminding me of the reality of what the Crohn’s is doing right now, there was no way.

Thus I got a phone call this morning from the hospital. Wednesday the 5th it is. (Ed. to add: you know you’re a knitter when you interpret that as one Knit Night away.)


I’d be curious to know if other city dwellers have noticed these patterns.

I finally figured out what was missing when I finally saw one doing it. I don’t know if it’s an urban squirrel thing, ie behaviors stemming from the lack of predators, or a young squirrel thing.  But based on what I’ve seen, it’s definitely the former.

I knew it was important to train our local population from the moment they discovered our birdfeeder, and, playing the wild woman at them, I did–none of the squirrels tries to climb to or leap on it anymore, and if they see me coming, even from inside, they don’t amble away from the birdseed on the ground, they flat-out RUN. Especially ever since the day one fell off the awning onto the concrete in its mad scramble.  Ouch.  (It recovered quickly.)  I guess word got out.

The thing that has changed is this: I’ve always thought squirrels were cute. And part of why I thought they were cute was the way they eat: picking up the bit of food and then sitting up alert, nibbling away with it held to their mouths while their tails are curled tightly up against them shaped like an effort at a treble clef.  Constantly looking around, constantly being alert to their environment. Tuned in. Twitching the end of their tails at the slightest sign of danger to warn others, first just a bit while it’s curled up against them, then, as the sense of danger intensifies, in bigger twitches with their tails spread out like a flag in the wind behind them just before they break out into a run for the trees.

Our squirrels didn’t do that.  No sitting up. No curled tails at all.  No twitching. They just moseyed along, noses to the ground, tails listless and flat, chewing as they went, and that was that. Never sitting up at the table using proper manners. Never holding the food up to their mouths in their paws.  Never warning other squirrels, whether from the trees or on the ground or anywhere ever.

Now that ours have learned to be afraid of me, they’ve started to take note of their surroundings, to sit up a bit, to even curl their tails. (And it looks like a bad comb-over on one that has a particularly thin tail.) Only sometimes and usually only halfway up, but they’re getting the idea. One actually twitched his–it was so strikingly unusual, and shouldn’t have been, that it grabbed my attention immediately.

Sitting up and eating with paws to mouth rather than skulking like a rat–now you’re getting there! Warning others of dangers rather than only thinking about yourself.  Acting more like a member of a community.

I feel like I’ve sent my squirrels to finishing school or something.

Re’s of hope
Thursday July 23rd 2009, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life

Re the palm trees in yesterday’s post: Richard’s reaction was, Oh, they trim those all the time.  Then we drove past them this morning, and he went, Wow. They really did!

Re the acorns in Tuesday’s post: I’ll admit it now, one of my reactions was, oh my goodness, look at all those, that’s almost as big as *my* stash!

Re the surgeon: kudos to him for his reaction to my saying, in response to his asking if there were anything I was putting off doing before the surgery, that I’d wanted to go to a knitting conference in Portland.  (Saying “Sock Summit” to a man I’d just met, much less one about to cut into me, was just pushing too far–I wanted this guy on my side without starting out by weirding him out.)

He got this wistful-looking smile on his face, eyes off in the distance, mouth absent-mindedly halfway open, and then repeated the words,  approvingly but a little wide-eyed, “A knitting conference.”

Yes, I told him, with Richard nodding his head, and explained that I’d written a knitting book (still on sale at Knitpicks) that was selling very well.  He loved it; he told me his daughter was a knitter and that he was going to have to go buy a copy.

Okay, I already liked the guy on the spot and now I’m totally a fan. And in case his daughter doesn’t know about it (note that I have no idea how old she is) I am so going to pass along the word about Stitches West next February right in our own backyard for her.  Heh.

Yeah, (checking the Ravelry membership stats, 398, 424 registered users as of this writing) there are a few of us other knitters out there to help keep her company there.

Puppy love
Wednesday July 22nd 2009, 6:57 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Life,Non-Knitting

One blocked Monterey scarf, here you go. The patterns didn’t line up together with the yoke-to-body increase row missing, so it took some playing with. I’ll post later how I did it.

Today, I had to drop some files off for the surgeon and found myself coming back via the main road into Stanford for the first time in months.

So.  Here‘s a link to an older picture to give you an idea of what the area has always looked like, give or take a few trimmed-off dead fronds; the view is an announcement that You Have Arrived  at Stanford University.

I didn’t have my camera this afternoon, and even if I had there was no place to pull over to use it.   But my stars!  The trees!

I thought, okay, I can see doing that. Maybe.  Under duress.  We used to have a date palm and one of our kids fell into it and had to go to the plastic surgeon’s–the fronds are as sharp as sewing-machine needles and the trunks are nothing you’d much want to touch either if you didn’t have to. Drunk students? Did someone sue the University?  Why did they do this?

Poodle cuts.  They gave the palm trees poodle cuts.  Shaved them smooth as can be all the way up and liposuctioned the trunks into rigid verticality, then turned the crowns into slicked poofs above, leaving the fronds at the top announcing, tadaaah! with their arms thrown out wide. Dig the new haircuts!

Poodle palms.  Huh.  There’s got to be a good reason, but I don’t know it yet.

Acorny post
Tuesday July 21st 2009, 8:04 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Knit,Wildlife

This isn’t blocked yet, and the jellyfish will look more like themselves once it is. It is quite a bit longer than it seems here, with the seaweed section providing a more-solid and thereby warmer area for wrapping around the neck in the brisk Monterey Bay breezes.  This is the Monterey shawl lace patterns morphed into a scarf, knitted out of a skein of Camelspin, one of my favorite yarns; it’s softer than quite a few cashmeres and a good one for wearing against the neck.

And just for fun, a good demonstration of why my husband insists that if I indeed get a woodpecker feeder, I’m to keep it as far as I can from the house.  Someone was having problems with their telephone service.  One of the hubby’s co-workers showed him this:

A little broomstick lace today
Monday July 20th 2009, 2:39 pm
Filed under: Life,Non-Knitting

I never knew which book to turn into *the* book so it never actually got put in one. Yet.  Once I do, that copy probably has to go up on the shelf for admiration purposes only.  The thing waits.

What a difference an s makes.

I know, I know, I butcher the quotation marks thing on my blog all the time.  That’s not entirely pure laziness; I usually only use them when I’m very sure I’m quoting someone verbatim, and given my writer’s ear, I do tend to remember emotionally powerful conversations very well.

But.  I had a job as a copy editor years ago, checking for grammar and spelling and usage back when Spell Checker was not yet written and continuing for awhile after it was; common sense tells you it’s more than just the spelling that gets hashed.  My mother used to giggle a bit at the mental images conjured by every time the Washington Post would talk about a “grizzly accident.” Not a whole lot of big brown bears in downtown DC streets or the freeways nearby.

So it was a combination of obnoxiousness and hopeful helpfulness on my part:  the first time I noted a typo in a Harry Potter book I thought, well, it’s a shame they didn’t catch that when everything else is so well done. Okay.  But when I noted a plot change from one book to a later one due to an errant s, that was just too much, and I noted a second typo as well and wrote it down along with the plot error. Scholastic got a note from me.

Never trust something where you can’t see where it keeps its brain!  In one book, one of the Weasley parents is warning Ginny* that. In a later book, the line is a flashback and a memory–and Mr. Weasley has become Mrs. Weasley.

Or the other way around. The response letter from Scholastic is dated nine years ago, so forgive me for not being sure now.

Either way, their thank you note included a signed bookplate and picture from JK Rowling. I was surprised and delighted when it came; as an author myself now, that bookplate especially means all the more to me now.

I think I’ve answered my own question. I need to go re-read the whole series, find out which book the s error snuck in, and put the plate in that one. No fair skimming ahead to find out.

*Thank you, Diana, got that corrected.  Ginny not Gina (smacking forehead–of course!)  Okay, now, that’s funny!

Sunday July 19th 2009, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Friends

I saw my old friend KT today, and she threw her arms around me.  Boy, she had something she wanted to tell me!

She’d been out and about, and someone she didn’t know at all had come up to her, pointed at the shawl she was wearing, and proclaimed, “That’s an Alison!”

KT didn’t remember the name of the person but thought I’d enjoy hearing about it.  The woman had told her she was a former yarn store owner.  I’m guessing who that was, but if you’re reading this, give me a holler, wouldja? It totally made her day and mine today.  What were the chances?!

KT knew about my lupus, but that was it.  She didn’t expect the reaction she got when she mentioned that she’d had a hard time lately; she’d been diagnosed with Crohn’s in January.  She didn’t know if I’d heard of that one?

Oh wow.  Ten years ahead of you, friend, call me any time whatsoever with any question, and let me reassure you that chemo meds sound scary but mine worked for me for years with no real side effects.

I’ve had a lupus support group all these years. I’ve never found one for the Crohn’s. And now I get to be one.  And  we started it off with a sense of celebration–I’ve already knit her the baby alpaca shawl!

Managing menageries
Saturday July 18th 2009, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Life

I checked my stash when I went to take this picture after getting home–I was surprised at how few I had left.  Time to replenish.

The story: sometimes it’s more about the parents.

There’s a Costco a mile from our house and there were things needing picking up; we don’t shop on Sundays, and waiting till Monday was going to be a pain.  And…  Things were such that if I didn’t go right then, nobody was going and it was twelve minutes to closing time.

I’ve been trying to avoid exposure to germs especially right now.  We don’t need any delays re the surgery.  And yet.  I ignored the crazy bod and asserted, hey, I’m on it, and somehow nobody objected.

I knew I had to be in and out of there pretty quickly and grabbed the few things on the list fast before the ohmygoshthestoreisclosing crowd got too big at checkout.  I had one moment standing in line where I felt like take a deep breath, c’mon, you can make it.

I needed a distraction from the Crohn’s noise, and it turned out, I got it.  There was a toddler in a shopping cart near the door who had been out and about just a bit longer than she could handle. She wasn’t in meltdown mode, but she was quivering on the edge.

And so, it looked like, was her mom, who was gamely trying to keep her daughter happy.  The mom’s dress proclaimed her as non-mainstream.  Whether she was new to this country or not, I don’t know, although so many people are in this area–but one thing I do know is, it’s wonderful but it is also hard to be the mother of a small child.

Little ones mimic not only our words as they learn to talk, but also our moods. They are absolutely unerring in picking up on how we feel. It is so easy to scoop them up and cheer them up and make their entire world wonderful; it is so easy to be cheered up by them; but the burden of parenthood is that when we’re stressed, it doesn’t take long before they are too. And they can be fairly loud about making it known that they want everything fixed NOW.

Which too many in the world at large tend not to approve of, which doesn’t make matters easier.

And yet.  They encourage us to live up to the best in ourselves to make them laugh again too by the very fact that they come around so easily.  How many middle-aged parents, remembering what it was like when their children were little, will make smiley faces and play peek-a-boo with a little one in a cart?  We remember. And we borrow back from Time the delight of pleasing toddlers: all little children are our children too now.

That mom looked like she was trying, but please (glancing in the direction of her distracted husband) get her out of this place and let her go home.

Costco requires its members to let their receipt be looked over on their way out the door.  There was another lineup–again, not too bad.  I pulled my cart over and waved the guy behind me forward as I fished in my purse.

There was just one in there: a bright green handknitted hummingbird from the women’s cooperative in Peru, with a red throat and a flower at the end of its beak.  Cool. I took a few steps over and handed it to the mom:  “It’s for helping cheer her up.”

She looked at me and at it, stunned. She said nothing; I don’t know if we had English in common.  “It’s a finger puppet.  Merry Christmas,” not wanting to invoke religion at all but rather the idea of a gift freely given and not expected back.

I returned to my cart and was almost immediately up to the door guy, and just as I turned going out, done, I glanced back–to where she was waiting for me to. She caught my eye, smiled, and waved.

And her little daughter was happy.

I floated all the way home, feeling like, and *that’s* why nobody else could put things down just then to run to the store before it closed!

January part two
Friday July 17th 2009, 3:40 pm
Filed under: Crohn's flare,Friends

I’ve tried to keep it at arm’s length, but it hogs the air around here and keeps finding its way out in bits and pieces on the blog.

I so dearly want to go to Sock Summit. I particularly wish I could thank Barbara Walker in person for her generosity in letting me use some of her lace patterns within the shawls in my book.

I can’t.

I want to go to Warren’s shop in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco, for one last time before he closes his doors the end of this month, to wish a good man well with whatever comes next.

At least I’ll get to see him at Stitches West next year.

I keep thinking of fun day trips to do with Michelle, and she just looks at me and goes, Are you up to that?

Oh. Right. Well, hey, brownie points for positive thinking.

I made it to Knit Night at Purlescence last night; face time with friends won out, and here’s Jasmin trying on the Monterey, to my great delight at her enthusiasm over it.

I talked to pathology today and arranged to pick up my slides to take to my new surgeon (my old one having left) at Stanford.  There is one more test to run first that might delay what seems surely inevitable at this point.  I’ve been bleeding at least ten times a day, no meds are working, (I know–same old, same old), it could easily fistulize and cause an emergency, and that 10″ stump has to go.

When so many of you were praying for the Humira to work last January, and it seemed not to?  But: the rectum healed up enough after those doses that they were able to staple it off rather than creating another stoma with it. Given what the thing has done since then, I am grateful in the extreme for that–it has made this situation far, far easier.

Right now all we can do is wait while I try not to waste my breath wishing the operation  were weeks in the past already.  That day will come. I’m holding my blankets close for comfort: Robert’s, (skip about halfway down the post), the one Elizabeth‘s group made, the two Anniebee‘s group made, and the one from the South Bay Knitters I’ve had for several years now that they made as a congratulations on getting “Wrapped in Comfort” accepted for publication. I still have the nametags on their squares telling who knit which.

I have a new pattern I wanted to rework in a laceweight with more detail than the fingering yarn I first knitted it up in, and what shows up on my doorstep today from Lisa?… Baby alpaca laceweight, my favorite, gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous and dyed and gifted on the spot as soon as she knew.  Wow.  I can’t wait to dive into it. There is such a joy in creating something that’s never been in the world before and then sharing it.

As so many of you did for me.  Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, every square knitter and afghan put-er-together-er and every person who has prayed, read, Thought Good Thoughts.  It all helps, and I wrap it around me gratefully.  Thank you.  This is just a blip, and we’ll get through it just like the last time.

Jellyfish and more jellyfish
Thursday July 16th 2009, 6:08 pm
Filed under: "Wrapped in Comfort",Knit,Life

Re last night’s post, I almost deleted the whole thing; everybody has billing bugs from time to time, and how boring is that?

But that second paragraph demanded to go up, somehow. I don’t know if it’s because I have a dear friend who was a battered wife for too many years (not anymore, thank goodness), but whoever it was for out there wherever you are, it was for you.  But then I felt I had to give enough context to explain where that one was coming from.

An oddball twist came with today’s mail, and for once I am totally on Blue Cross’s side: someone put in a claim (surely someone simply keyed the wrong code) of there having been cardiovascular surgery done on me two weeks ago. On a day I was quietly sitting at home going nowhere in particular.  And the charge for said supposed surgery?

Nineteen dollars.

Blue Cross demanded and got a $19 discount on that one and assured me there was no co-pay.  Um, yeah.  Ya think?

Meantime, the Monterey Sea Silk shawl, as soon as I rinsed it and laid it out and the lace patterns were settled into their proper places, had me going, And THAT’S why I knitted this! It felt like just one of the most gorgeous things I’d ever made, the way a finished project is supposed to feel like, and I wanted to dance on the spot.  It was late, I only rinsed it rather than a serious blocking, but still.

I’m following it up with a scarf out of topaz Camelspin using the same lace stitches  in a straight line rather than a circle, just to hedge my bets on which article of clothing the recipient might prefer. Either way, I’m quite happy with it.