Thursday, December 22, 2011


What an eventful 2011 has been for us! As bookends we started out with my two hip replacements that began in January and ended around July with my being able to walk and sit pain free. The other beng Lib’s extensive back surgery where two rods and screws were inserted to correct the curve of scoliosis and other assorted lower back conditions. That was this December so she’s just beginning recovery as it were.

Between those we were brushed by the remnents of a hurricane and lost power for several days. Then we experienced our first ever earthquake!

Otherwise we have been blessed with relative good health for our age and ability to participate in group activities; (Lib -water arobics) and I with symphony orchestra performances and quartet sessions. We were also able to make some day trips to Roanoke and Harrisonburg to see friends
and family. This summer and fall we attended numerous baseball games to watch our grandson and his team. He’s also growing as a violinist/fiddler/guitarist.

Our other family in Delaware has a daughter graduating this school year and two sons actively achieving in their sports and intellectual interests.

The ability to keep in touch with several groups of family and dear friends via the interenet keeps us up to date in their lives and helps immensely for us to maintain community. We aere especially grateful that Lib could do her convalescing at home instead of at Charlottesville!

Thank you Lord for your loving kindness, for all your mercies and grace.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Heavenly Creator,

I’m grateful for life in this beautiful busy exciting world. Really grateful that I can walk and move without the pain that I had this time last year. Thankful to be surrounded by a loving family of children, their mates and grandchildren. Thankful that Lib selected me to share these many years with her. It’s been an interesting journey and we look forward to relishing whatever time we still have together.

Thank You for friends old and new and the happy memories associated with those who are not physically present in my life, but who contribute to it through their messages of interest and goodwill. 
Thank you for the memories of a loving father and mother, their exemplary lives, and the lively family which still manages to be lively when they gather together. 

We look in anticipation to Christmas and the good news it proclaims.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Musical Dream

I was six years old when my father bought my first violin in Landour, Mussoorie and presented it to me with the challenge to pluck out “Twinkle Star” as it didn’t yet have a working bow.

For several years he would teach me by rote and later by note how to play this instrument. I have no idea what his dreams were for me..only that he continued my instruction and then handed me over to another teacher when the time seemed right.

When we returned from India the second time I was a young adolescent and at a pivotal point in my musical journey. Wasn’t making progress and about ready to chuck it...but a Providential link up with the concertmeister of the newly organized Roanoke Symphony swiftly got me back on track.

My father continued my lessons with the instructor at James Madison University when we moved to Mathias, WV. Later Shenandoah Conservatory at Dayton, Virginia accepted me as a freshman and pointed me to part time employment in the town.

Another coincidental relink up with the Roanoke Symphony led to a career teaching strings in the
Roanoke City Schools for 34+ years.

Four years ago when we moved to the Richmond area, it was apparent that our 6 year old grandson had more than his share of musical interest and talent. I was allowed to work with him as often as possible. He has made good progress and is now literate at an intermediate level.

This past Sunday was part of a dream come true. I had signed us both to play in Richmond Symphony’s “Come and Play” orchestra event. Wasn’t sure his baseball schedule (his other interest) would allow him to participate. But, I went on faith, downloaded the music and prepared
him the best I could. Sure enough, his Dad and Mom came through and supported this effort.
For that I’m SO grateful.

At the rehearsal and concert it was gratifying to see him enthusiastically match me bow for bow and passage for passage as we shared the  music together. I hope he was impressed enough to want to continue this adventure. Violin music covers such a wide range of genres. From my 74 year old perspective as a teacher and musician I see the great advantages that might accrue from advanced skills in this area.

Most string musicians are VERY interesting people worth knowing, whether they’re professional or just advanced amateurs. Most are interested in making music with other musicians. They are
multidimensional folks and can carry on interesting conversations besides current team scores.

In Roanoke I became acquainted through my church with a musical group whose interests and playing included pop, blue grass, and Celtic genres. They were lawyers, a physician, and  school and government employees. We met once a month and had the best of times.

So, I will sow the seeds and do my best to cultivate my grandson’s musical abilities and hope
that long after I’m gone he will be able enjoy the fruits of his musical journey which began
beside his Granddad.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Autumn Memories

The advent of Autumn always puts me in a mellow mood. I have loved this time of the year for the great memories it returns to me year after year.

In my early teen years I attended Woodstock School in the foothills of the Himalayas.  Fall was the season for hiking the nearby mountains and valleys and enjoying treks over to Mussoorie without the fear of being inundated by rain. It was also a melancholy time as the Fall Line foretold Going Down Day and separation from our classmates and friends. It was around this time that I became acquainted with the popular“September Song”

Marriage and the birth of two daughters found us living in Roanoke, Virginia. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through Roanoke and our family spent some great Fall weekends  as a family driving down to the Peaks of Otter and climbing to the top of Sharp Top mountain. It is one of Virginia’s treasure’s especially in autumn. After the girls left home for college and marriage Lib and I enjoyed some trips to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, a mountain city resort area resembling Mussoorie. The tall pines and cedars at the 4000 foot altitude were uncannily similar to those adorning the Himalayan foothills.

Then a request to play for dinner at the Greenbrier resort hotel began a new sideline  which would add to my Fall memories. The back country road Va.#311 from Salem to near White Sulphur Springs has to be one of the finest drives when the leaves are at their peak. The road runs over two mountains and the view from near the summit of Pott’s mountain when the sun is low on the horizon is a sight to behold. Over on the West Va. side of the trip the road winds through miles of valley scenery of farms and homes nestled among tall oak and maples.Then #311 junctions with I-64 and shortly one is arriving at the Greenbrier.

I performed on a fairly regular basis at the Greenbrier for nearly 20 years and always enjoyed being there in the autumn. There would be a fire in the huge main entry hallway. My accompanist and I would play for tea, go to supper in the basement where all the supporting people ate, and then play for three hours in one of the many dining rooms. Our diners always appeared  happier and more jovial during this season. And for whatever reason my violin seemed more resonant matching their mood. Then we moved to Richmond, Va.

Last year Lib and I celebrated this time of the year with a bus tour to New England. It was a little earlier than the present blog and rainy weather made some of it rather dreary. However, there were some really fine days especially toward the last when we were in the northern Vermont mountains. One afternoon in particular we were at the summit of a ski resort and could almost see over into Canada. The air was crisp and the vista stretched forever, a beautiful unforgettable panoply of low mountains one after the other in scarlets and russets.

This year we haven’t trekked anywhere. Some health issues await a procedure to eliminate the pain from walking and movement for Lib. Instead when I see a beautiful tree in all its flaming glory it will remind me of days past in this wonderful season of the year.


Monday, August 29, 2011

IRENE...reflections on a hurricane.

It began day before yesterday Friday, Aug. 26th. We began to realize from online weather maps of a visit from an unwanted weather event named Irene. From TV and online media there was some indication it might reach a category 3-4 before finally going out to sea. Friday evening at Lib’s suggestion I went to our local Kroger store, bought some bottled water (two gallons), some other small items, and some cash money. With increased interest we watched her move up alongside the North Carolina coast and checked on the weather forecasts there from official weather stations. We worried that Mike and some of his family were in for a bad night. They live in Greenville, NC. I also emailed my brother John who lives on the coast in Lancaster county, Va. only to discover when I opened my Google mail, that they had wisely left home and ensconced themselves in a Richmond motel across town.

Late Friday night or early Saturday morning we could hear a light rain on our roof and skylight. Saturday morning at daybreak it continued. TV and computer both indicated we would have significant rain and wind later in the afternoon. We ate a light lunch. Soon Cathy’s family called and volunteered to tie down our deck furniture. My estimate was that we would escape high winds, but Lib wisely invited them over to check out things. It’s great to have family living close who can help out this way. A little later it began to rain in earnest. They came over and secured the deck furniture. It was nice just to visit with them and get their take on the situation.

The electricity had flickered most of the afternoon, but the winds from our perspective weren’t any more severe than a summer afternoon thunderstorm. Around 3:15 the current went off and except for the radio and a cell phone we were isolated from what was happening in the larger world. Later the wind picked up and rumor had it that we had some gusts over 50 mph. Around 5:30 we had ice cream for supper. We checked out the contents of the freezer side of the fridge and were satisfied by their state of frozenness.

It began to be dark by 6:30. Lib and I made preparations for a long night. Before the light faded I took movies of the blowing trees. Some of the time, as I was filming, it would be very calm. Then when I shut the camera off there would be an impressive gust and the trees would dance wildly. It was sort of frustrating not to be able to capture significant action on demand! Lib did see a a small tree fall across the drain ditch near our neighbor’s house.

Around 10:30 the radio announced that 75% of Richmond’s houses had lost power. I called a friend several miles away at whose church we were supposed to play on Sunday. They had power and that was encouraging as was the fact that most of the familiar radio stations were broadcasting. We turned on some small electric candles and went to bed. The concern we had was whether sometime in the night, without warning, one of the nearby trees would finally lose its grip in the wet soil and drop on our roof!

Around 1:00 AM I was awakened by the Verizon phone "battery losing power" signal. It took me a few minutes to find where the beep was coming from. I went to the kitchen for a drink of water and monitored news on the small radio. There were still occasional gusts and then it began to be quiet.

Dawn peeked through around 6:30 and we started the day by 7:30. We ate our traditional cereal breakfast. Our neighbor who brings us their paper to read came over and we exchanged mutual
questions about how we had survived the night. I was sort of hoping we would have electricity soon, but the radio discouragd that. Seems that state wide there was over a million without power and some 300,000 in the Richmond metro area. That’s a lot of lines and transformers to replace!!

Cathy called and brought us over some hot coffee. That helped immensely to put a positive cast on the day. The morning was spent reading and planning for the day. Food in the freezer was still frozen as was ice from the ice maker. We ate bagels and cream cheese with jelly for lunch and planned to have pork chops for supper. They would normally be grilled anyhow. It had been exactly 24 hours since the electricity had been off.

That afternoon we read and listened to the radio to pass the time. Lib and I had several conversations about family and our recollections of past hurricanes. Around 5:30 we grilled the
chops and warmed up some store bought mashed potatoes. That was supper.

Afterwards I drove out in the neighborhood to see if there was any ice to be found. There was
frozen food we hoped to save until the current came on. In a 45 minutes of driving I saw numerous trees by the side of the road. The few stores that were open were out of ice. It was
interesting to see what Irene had done with just 40-65 mph gusts.

We talked by candle light until 9:30 and then went on to bed. Sort of reminded us that this was
how people used to live just a few decades before we were born. And that there were many who
lived much closer to the whims of the weather around even now. Thought about women who daily had to walk a mile or more to carry water from a stream, lake, or well back to their homes.
Where cooking was done with wood or cattle “chips” over an indoor fire area that filled the whole hut with stinging smoke. Where going to the bathroom meant carrying a little container
of water for hygiene early in the morning before daybreak to a wooded area for a bit of privacy.
Whatever time left in the day would be devoted to back breaking hoeing and cultivating crops
to feed the animals and the family. We thought about how delicate is the web that connects we moderns to life through electricity! Without it, it doesn’t take long for life to return to primitive modes!

Around 5:00 am the current returned thanks to round the clock efforts by Dominion power. As
I finish this at 1:30 pm there are many still without, including I suspect, our daughter and her family. Hopefully, when she returns from work it will be on.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Virginia Earthquake

Our first earthquake hit here in Richmond around 1:51 PM EDT! Lib and I had just finished lunch and were in our living room when I heard what I thought was a distant and low helicopter approaching us. Shortly after, the house began to rattle just a little and the sound became louder. In a few seconds the rattle became quite alarming and stronger. Since neither of us had experienced a prolonged quake we didn’t know exactly what it was. (Earth quakes don’t happen ever in Richmond, do they?!) About the time I had figured out what it was the rattling began to subside and it was more of an item of interest.

Since we have a computer I went on FaceBook and discovered that some of my friends had experienced it also and that their friends in far away places also felt it! Next I went to Twitter and reported briefly our experience and then looked for others. Sure enough there was all sorts of news that was being reported first hand. I went back to Google News but they didn’t report it for several minutes. It was a window rattler for sure!! I search with NOAH and discover that the epicenter was Mineral, Virginia and officially it was 5.9 on the Richter scale. We may have after shocks but they shouldn’t be as severe.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Three and half decades teaching strings in Roanoke

It’s a warm August afternoon and there has been a new surge of Face Book friends in the last few days. It all started with Lisa Garland Manley, a former student, discussing our class in the context of old Roanoke, Virginia days. I responded and quickly there was a covey of students, friends, and their friends who replied or commented. Some asked to be friends on Face Book and I was happy to include them. If this serves to add to the happy recalling of those halcyon days then so be it!

Shortly after I earned my Master’s degree from JMU around 1963, I came to Roanoke to be the new strings instructor at Patrick Henry High and its affiliate feeder schools. Preceding me were David Burgess, the band director, and Gene Ferguson, the choral instructor. The three of us managed a cordial and friendly relationship and worked in and shared the same music room. Our groups maintained high levels of competent musicianship. The Art and Drama were across campus and they, too, had a statewide reputation for excellence. We were able to do a creditable performance of the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah” for several years. About half way into the first decade David Lipps and then Joan Steele were added to our string faculty and developed strong programs around their centers.

In the second decade it became more difficult to maintain the string program. Andrew Hull and the Roanoke Symphony gave me backing when I began to feel the pinch from new computer and
language requirements. Our good Festival ratings also provided credibility to enhance the continuation of the program. Other societal changes were calling into question how strong the
arts ought to be and where in the educational milieu they should be allowed to exist.

A new superintendent and “the Middle School” concept which he inaugurated made it increasingly difficult to schedule in school time for music instruction. Classes at the high schools were scheduled at “0" period before the normal day. In the winter that meant beginning class just as day was breaking. Instruction at the elementary level ceased. I truly believe that administration grudgingly wanted us in the curriculum as a strings program indicated some sort of excellence; all the big systems continued theirs and Roanoke needed to keep up. They just didn’t offer us much help. So we had to improvise on our own. At least I had a full time job.

The last decade was sort of a mixed bag. Instead of one high school I was at two which split loyalties. For some concerts and Festival contests I merged the two for a strong ensemble.
There were several rough years at inner city schools trying to establish string classes which
were not the instrument of choice. We accepted whoever applied, and some just couldn’t sit
still long enough, or pay attention in a way that was beneficial to them or the class. No one
seemed in charge so we did our own thing as best we could.

After my full time stint was over I taught the morning class at William Fleming for several
years. That was a happy experience with the students. We met at “Zero” period, put on
creditable concerts twice a year and represented our school at District Festival. Physical problems due to age and arthritis finally led me to full retirement.

This is an off the cuff recitation and is an approximation of things as I remembered them. If
you are a student or an administrator who lived through one of those decades you may have a
more accurate recollection. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Flory Reunion

The Flory family will soon be meeting for their annual summer reunion/picnic. We will gather at the little park in Bridgewater that has been our rendezvous spot for a number of years now. We will all be a year older which is great for the children, alright for the middle year folks, and possibly problem laden for those above 65. Two of the older sisters require some oxygen and my wife Lib, has some “back” associated issues that will be addressed by surgery in late Fall. Though the baby sister of the original family, it is her turn to be "in charge" and host.
Already we're assembling the items and planning for this occasion.

It will take some time to set the tables for the expected family, arrange the food for easy access, greet the family as it arrives, and give the necessary introductions and invocation. Afterwards we will catch up with a year’s absence, especially with those who are some distance or are one or two generations removed from the original family. For a few it will a little daunting to meet so many they are supposed to be kin to. For we older folk, it will be a joy
just to know that we have made it through another year. How we will relish the telling of
our aches,pains, and the rare maladies our physicians have pulled us through. The oldest children, new grandparents themselves, are learning the nuances of this patter. We will recount the exploits of our children and grandchildren. Our grandchildren will resemble those of Garrison Keillor's "Lake Wobegone". They will surely be above average!!

Most likely we’ll have 30-40 for a 12:30 lunch. There’ll be the traditional assortment
of meats and drinks. The weather prognostication is for a hot day near 100 degrees. Too hot for a really good gathering, but maybe a cold front will move through or clouds cover us and make it more comfortable. At least the gurgling of the river nearby may create the illusion of coolness.

Among our family we have teachers, at least one physician, business and sales folk, transport expert, former farmers and a large group of retirees or near there. Most of us are “church” folk, meaning we attend at our local congregations. After all, Walter and Emma Flory, who begat this large clan were pillars in the Church of the Brethren, first at Garber’s and later at the Dayton, Virginia CoB.

I particularly look forward to this gathering because my stuation is SO different this year. My two successful hip replacements from the beginning of the year have made it possible for me to move almost as easily and pain free as seven years ago. It’s hard to remember how different it was from the debilitating effects of osteo arthritis which really made me an “old” man. Many who remembered me walking slowly and painfully with a walker or cane are going to be surprised at the change in me. I’m truly grateful for the skill of my surgeon and the prayers of my family and friends.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Church of the Brethren Annual Conference/Prospect Point

For the next several days our Church of the Brethren will convene at Grand Rapids, Michigan for our Annual Conference. There is the possibility that some small remnant of the India missionaries who are also computer savvy will be in attendance. I’m trying to reach those who stayed for some time at Prospect Point in Landour, Mussoorie and who just may know a little of its history and background. Some of the families who lived there were: the Shulls, (two families), the Brooks, the Blickenstaffs, the Cunninghams, the Bollingers , and possibly the Alleys. I’m the oldest of the Kinzie family who stayed there about 1942-44 and 1949-1951 .

I’m particularly interested in its early history before its use by the Church of the Brethren.Who built it, when, and why. It was a beautiful residence with an unparalleled view of the Dune Valley from the front yard to the majestic snows of the high Himalayas from the side yard. If you can contribute some history about this place....or a tale or two of something you remembered there, please write me at Would very much appreciate it.
Blessings, Bill Kinzie

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Hip Replacement...last installation

A month yesterday I was groggily coming out of anesthesia from my second hip replacement. I knew that it would take a month to recuperate.

Here I am at a month plus one day. This morning I walked five laps around the house with no support and after sitting awhile have been walking around without a cane. Yes, my left leg is considerably weaker than the right, but I can now put weight on it and there is little pain.

This past Fall I certainly had a different perspective on the rest of my life...that shortly I would be confined to a wheel chair and that any sort of walking would always be accompanied by considerable pain and discomfort...that the inevitable spiral downward was irrevocable.

After the first hip joint was replaced in January I was truly amazed at how
rapidly the recovery was. That I might be whole again was just another operation....which I had.

I’m now off the coumadin and pressure hose. My left leg muscles are gaining
strength each day. In two months I’m hoping to report that I can walk several hundred yards to a half mile with or without a cane, preferably without!

I literally have my life back. I thank my Lord for allowing me this new hope. I appreciate the skill of Dr. Jessup, my surgeon, and the encouragement of my close family and friends.

It has not been a grueling recovery; the two nights in the hospital were the most uncomfortable, but it was all bearable and doable. If you’re an older person suffering from arthritis in your hips and you’re in good health otherwise, this is a wonderful way to get a new lease on life. I’m truly grateful!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Other Hip Replaced..

Well, here we go again. It is the eve of my second hip replacement operation. This time tomorrow I’ll be groggy and in recovery if every thing goes according to schedule.

Today we’ll watch our grandson play a baseball game. Think he will be pitching at least part of the game. It promises to be humidly hot at 1:00 pm when he plays.

If you’re arriving at this blog for the first time, or are remotely interested in what a hip procedure is like just back up three or more entries on my blog for a day by day account. It should work out similarly...if there is something excitingly different I may write a new entry. Thanks for reading! Bill K.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sounds of the Mountain

Camp Bethel near Troutville, Virginia hosts Sounds of the Mountains this time of the year and Lib and I make it a point to attend. It's a growing regional event dedicated to the art of "story telling" and includes some musical groups who play blue grass or Appalachian music. Camp Bethel is in the Blue Ridge mountains and its rustic ambiance is almost a perfect venue for this weekend event.

I was particularly interested in seeing and hearing the The Wright Kids , a family group of four siblings from around six years of age to sixteen. They have already attained some national attention and since they play stringed instruments and came from nearby Franklin County had aroused my curiosity. They were most professional in their performance individually and together and should be around as professional entertainers as long as they can maintain their unique niche in the business.

And then the cloudburst happened! It was just after lunch and the afternoon program had just gotten underway when it began to rain. At first it was just the ordinary pitter patter of raindrops falling on the roof of the auditorium building. The first story tellers did theirs to this accompaniment. Then as if in a huge orchestral crescendo the patter turned into a thunderous roar which came in waves and lasted perhaps over an hour. It was soon obvious that this was not the usual rainstorm and Camp Bethel is not designed to deal well with such inundations. The first sign that there was something to be concerned about was that many of the vendors were moving their tables away from the walls. Next there was an announcement for owners of  RUV's to meet with the camp manager. Rising waters were posing a threat. The rain continued for some time. Then
there was the announcement that flooding had become critical enough to close the road that leads out to the main road...that it would be at least two hours before the water would be low enough for people to leave.
The Wright Kids must have been on the premises before lunch or we would probably have missed hearing them.

After their very fine presentation there was a supper break..thanks to vendors who provide ample meals so people don't have to leave the premises for food. Finally, around 7:00 pm the camp manager announced that
due to the efforts of a farm family close to the camp the road was now open but that VDOT had said
"at your own risk". Lib and I opted to leave; it was the time we had planned to leave anyhow to return to our place in Midlothian by 10:00 pm.

As we drove through the camp grounds we could see rivulets crossing the road at several places. Some were the size of small creeks. Near the entrance to the camp ground the road was inundated by ponds of water  inches deep   that one prayed was just that, inches deep. A brown rushing stream of water ran under the bridge that lead over to the main highway. As there were a few cars coming into the facility I was comforted that the bridge was structurally sound and crossed over.

We followed the storm home, but it was always ahead of us. Just as we drove into Chesterfield County I saw one lightning flash just on the far horizon. At home I checked out this weather event on the news and wasn't surprised at the extent of the flash flooding that had occurred in many places all over the region. An ordinary excursion to attend a favorite  event became an adventure  to remember!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Har Ki Dun

I wrote this for my writers club. Thought my India and international readers who might visit Mussoorie would be interested.

There is a beautiful vale to the northwest of Mussoorie called Har Ki Dun “The Valley of the Gods”. I have never been there, but came to know of it through Jill Jornson, a NGO architect designing a school building for a nearby Himalayan village. She was attending the well known Landour Language School and blogging of her adventures there during the 2007-8 years. By this time it was easy to troll for information about Mussoorie on the Net and this is how I encountered her. That she wrote almost poetically of her spiritual journey had me coming back to learn more about her and why and how she had arrived at this place in time.

On one of her entries she described a trip to Har-ki-dun. She was a photographer with professional abilities and took some fine pictures during her trek. One in particular was of a wooden mountain cabin taken near sunset where a golden misty light seemed to envelope the whole scene. The cabin was on a knoll and surrounded on each side by towering peaks bathed in this same beautiful light. It was not part of a village but perched in its own splendor almost as if it were a destination. When I Googled Harkidun pictures, others had sometimes taken this same shot, but none so dramatic and colorful as hers.

It is not easy to get there. First there is a drive from Dehra Dun to Taluka, possibly taking a half day or better as one passes Kempty Falls and would surely stop there to enjoy their beauty. At Taluka is a rest house for those who journey on. Next morning motorized transportation is exchanged for real trekking by foot. It takes about seven hours to the next village which is Osla.. My impression is that it takes about the same time to actually reach Harkidun the next day.

Ir’s still relatively new as a Himalayan destination fot it requires some arduous hiking to get there. It is not on the way to a climbing destination so is a place valued for its aesthetic qualities alone. Even though there are habitations in the valley they are few and far between. The vistas are overwhelming, of a mountain stream gushing over huge boulders and great snow capped mountains at the end of the valley, beckoning for several more days of hiking if the resources are available.

In the Spring many varieties of flowers bloom there. Thus Harkidun is also sometimes known as the “Valley of Flowers”. If you can’t go there in person you may do as I do...visit there via “YouTube” on the Web. Wealthy healthy young people who enjoy this kind of adventure are arriving there, taking pictures or movies of this remote valley and posting them on line. For spiritually sensitive souls it must be a special place where great natural mountain beauty whispers of God’s presence.

Here are three "YouTube" links to Har-ki-dun:

Harkidun 1

Harkidun 2

Harkidun 3

Monday, February 28, 2011

Six weeks since the hip replacement....

It/s been six weeks since I had my hip replacement operation. Family and friends are pleasantly surprised at my current status. I get around well with a cane or a walker and have significantly lengthened the distance I can manage with neither (at least a hundred yards inside on level carpet),Yes, my left hip still screeches at me, wanting equal treatment which we plan on sometime soon this spring or summer. It has made a significant improvement in my life outlook and I’m truly grateful for being able to have this procedure.

Thursday I hope to get together with some string friends and read through
Schubert's Quintet for two violins, viola, and two cellos. That should be GREAT fun!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thursday through Monday

These four days have been nominally uneventful...except to say that each day saw some more healing, more flexibility, and more endurance. Thursday I began a regiment of PT and laps around the house. Biggest problem was getting into bed, a little quick pain as I raised my repaired limb up into the bed. I ran a low grade fever which the nurse explained as my body trying to “Kill” the steel intruder by raising a small fever. In subsequent days my temperature has returned to normal.

Friday: My PT began showing results....more flexibility in my exercises and getting into and out of bed was less painful. Lisa, our older daughter , came down from Delaware to help Lib with the household chores. I noticed some swelling of my right leg and was assured it was within normal limits. Continued walking around within the house, possibly 50 -60 yards total.

Saturday and Sunday: Noticing 2-3 % improvement each day on ability to flex legs. Phone calls, answering emails, and FB queries as to my progress and well being. Thanks to all who inquired. .

Today, Monday the 24, our pastor dropped by to check on me and had a pastoral prayer. I really appreciated that. Later my home nurse came by to test my blood and take my vitals. She removed the dressing and gave me the option not to have one as there had been no real drainage for several days. Decided not to have another applied and just let the air do its thing.

I went over to Cathy’s, with Lib and Lisa this afternoon to oversee Devin when he came in from school. Was concerned about the steps leading to their front door...but following protocol I ascended with little pain or feeling of imbalance. After Cathy came in from work we returned home. It was easier this time descending her steps.

Lisa fixed supper and later the Miles (Cathy’s family) came over for a last visit with Lisa before she returns to Delaware tomorrow. It’s been a good day!

Lord, thank you for all my family, doctor, and friends who have been faithful in prayer to bring about this new opportunity for service. Let me learn again to trust You when I’m called to be one of “good faith”

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wednesday 3rd day

At six o’clock I phoned in a breakfast order for French Toast with butter and maple syrup. About 6:45 the waiter brought it in. I was exhausted from the l-o-o-o-n-g night of insomnia and had fallen asleep, head dangling over my right chest. He gently awoke me and announced breakfast. I was momentarily confused, thought I had already eaten breakfast, but he insisted I hadn’t and when I uncovered it, it confirmed what I had ordered. I greedily chomped it all down.

There was a parade of “vitals” and ingestion of pain pills. My PT took me for another walk down the hall, and also confirmed that I could get up and down from the toilet. Rosita, Dr. Jessup’s assistant came in and told me that there were two more small hurdles to accomplish and if they were I would be going home today. Now that was a BIG surprise to Lib who was basking on the assumption that I would be spending another night at St. Francis. Rosita explained that 90 % of Dr. Jessup’s patients went home in two days after surgery day.

Another doctor entered the room and checked my vitals and my general progress. If I had contested leaving the hospital it would have been his word against mine. But I indicated all the right criteria for discharge that evening pending the completion of two more requirements.

Lib made a round of phone calls to Cathy so they could arrange for my transport back to our home. Lunch was chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans.

Around 3:00 I was wheeled down to the “gym” and given instructions on how to ascend and descend steps, using both the hand rail and a cane. With aids nearby to steady me so I wouldn’t fall I gingerly ascended 4 steps, each about 5 inches tall, and back down again. I also walked a 100 or so feet back to the room, where I sat in a chair.

The final test required some chemical prompting. I was given a suppository and waited for a half hour. No indication of any sort of action. Next I was given a choice of hot coffee or a cup of hot prune juice. Opted for the prune juice. In about a half hour I experienced success!

Nurses were so advised. At 5:00 the cafeteria called about the supper order and I was happy to tell them I would soon be leaving.

It took another hour for the nurse on my case to gather up the requisite paper work and get my signature on all the release papers.

By 6:00 Cathy and Lib had all the transportation together as well as the clothes and stuff necessary to a protracted hospital stay. I was put in a wheel chair and we made a parade down to valet parking where Lib had them leave our car.

As per instructions, I lowered my posterior onto the passenger front seat, and with some assistance my two legs were swung into the car and we were on our way home.

Our house has two steps, each about 3-4 inches tall. We arrived, my walker and cane were placed within easy reach and my legs were gently swung around. I grasped the handles of the walker and walking in the prescribed way I came to the steps. Using the cane the left foot stepped up to the first step. Grasping the railing, the operated leg was lifted up. Then the operation was repeated for the second step. Once again and I was on the stoop! I was home!

What a great feeling. Jeff and Cathy bought us a nice grilled chicken supper which we wolfed down at about 8:30. We visited awhile and then I was ready for bed. The toughest part was getting into bed. Lib helped me swing my legs up. There was a momentary sharp pain because of stiffness in the operated leg. She pulled up the covers, got herself ready for sleep and we slept a happy but fitful night.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tuesday Day 2

Day 2.

Tuesday was much better, was hungry and the St. Francis hospital has an impressive menu. Cream of wheat sounded good abd that's what I ordered and some hot tea.

Therapist came by, got me out of bed and walked me down the left side of the hallway. When we got back she reminded me of safety precautions getting in and out of bed and up and down from chairs. Went over the list of physical exercises I was to do. Many of them similar to the back ones associated with a laminectopy.

Cathy, our daughter, came in on her way to work for a visit. St. Francis doesn’t have visiting hours... that makes it so convenient for family to visit. And family and church support make the whole experience bearable. Around 10 am Lib came in and spent the morning and part of the afternoon with me.

In the afternoon several people including my surgeon evaluated my progress and said I was on course. They took me off the I V drip for pain and started a pill regimen. Must say that they do an excellent job of managing post operative pain. Never experienced any above a 2 rating on a scale of 1 - 10.

The nursing staff were competent, cheerful, and able to answer the questions I had. Sometime that day a “patient advocate” came to see if I was happy with my hospital stay. She quizzed me on several aspects and went away with a positive report.

In the afternoon the therapist returned and walked me a little further down the hall and again reviewed with me the precautions I should take while exiting the bed, the kind of chairs I should avoid when at home and the kind of support that would be provided by in home care.

Supper was a fish entry, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. A fruit cup I ordered was my dessert.

Tuesday night was long. A friend who had a wrist operation called me to inquire how I was doing. Other folks called ...and then the night set in. I COULD NOT SLEEP. Tossed and turned from side to side. The only relief was the visit by nurses to check my vitals. The minutes dragged by and I was miserable.

When 6:00 am finally came around, I phoned in my breakfast order. When it came in my head was on my chest and I was fast asleep!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Operation Day

Thank goodness our hospitial is only 10 minutes away, We were supposed to be there by 7:00 so got up at 5:15 and took my final shower and scrubbed the hip with a special salve for 3 minutes that sterilized the general area. No breakfast they want you clean .

Arrived on time and checked in. A whole list of pre op questions that were reiterated and confirmed several times over. Around 8:00 they brought Lib, my wife, and Cathy our daughter back for final hugs and kisses. Think our pastor, Dave, was also there for a brief prayer.

After they left my surgeon came and marked the leg he was going to install the prosthesis. Next thing I knew I was in the recovery room.
Part of the anesthesia was a “hip block”. Therefore I couldn’t communicate with my lower limbs. Couldn’t wiggle toes or move my legs at all. Now I know how people feel who have injured their backs severely.

Because of the heavy sedation, I was in no pain. So for several hours
I was there “recovering”. A little later I could squeeze my thighs together in one of the first PT exercises. As the block wore off I began to be able to just slightly wiggle my toes. Around that time they wheeeled me into my room and I was introduced to the staff that would oversee my recovery.

Somewhere in the afternoon I was encouraged to take a few steps using a walker. Hardest part was getting my uncooperative right leg off the bed and on to the floor. I walked to the window and back to the bed. Felt good about that.

Lib and Cathy were in and out to check on me and to prepare things at the house for my return. In the late afternoon Barbara our church secretary/administrator came to visit. We had both received Kindle’s for Christmas and were discussing their various features, when the first wave of nausea hit quite suddenly with no warning and I was quite sick. Nurse brought me some anti nausea medicine and soon I was all right.

I had my first meal...some soup. Didn’t really feel like eating more.

Later in the eve ning, Jeff, Devin, and Cathy came for a visit. Enjoyed talking to them and then put on my second nausea show. Felt sorry for Devin, he gets sympathy nausea .

After they left I had a very long......uncomfortable night, something to be expected. Nurses checking on vitals, drinking the requisite fluid, breathing into a machine that makes the lungs take dep breaths to ward off pneumonia.
I should say that the pain was managed well....first nights are bearable....just not a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Prologue to hip replacement

After nearly a year of increasing pain while walking I followed the advice of my wife, daughters, and family physician to see a specialist and discover what options were plausible. X-rays were taken that showed severe arthritis. The doctor said there was no hope of improvement. My options were to continue and or to have a hip replacement.

Tomorrow, January 17, I will have an artificial ball and socket joint installed in my right hip. Much of the area now infested by the pain causing arthritis will be replaced by a prosthesis which will reduce the pain considerably and allow me a much larger range of free motion. I am a 73 year old male and in general good health with no known allergies so I have a good prognosis.

My intention is to keep a journal of of this adventure. Should be back to this blog by the end of the week unless we’ve run into complications. Follow along if you're interested in my experience. Blessings!