Archive | June 2012

Over the Rainbow

More random thoughts heading your way!  Today’s thoughts may be more random than others due to the pain medications I’ve been taking.

Thought #1.  Some of you may be thinking this blog will have something to do with the Gay Community because of the “Rainbow” title.  Wrong.  I was actually trying to reference the fact that I am post-surgery.  This is my first post since telling everyone how nervous I was about my upcoming procedure.  (There’s a blog in between the two posts showing my response to the Yarn Harlot about the USOC’s cease & desist letter to Ravelry.  If you’re a knitter, a copyright attorney, or an Olympic fanatic, you may be interested in the debacle.  Otherwise, we can simply move on.) So, pre-surgery on one side of the rainbow; post-surgery on this side.  Get it?  Okay, enough then.

Thought #2. I’m a lot less reticent to discuss my procedure now that it’s over than I was before.  Perhaps that’s because I’m not nervous anymore; it’s done.  Truth is, I had a hysterectomy.  They removed my uterus and did some repair work to other organs while they were in there.  The repair work required using a muscle from my abdomen as a sling so I have a rather long incision where they harvested the muscle.  My husband, Wes, would argue that the muscle wasn’t exactly “required,” since there was an alternative synthetic mesh product they could have used.  I saw a video online.  It looked like chicken wire.  No thanks.  As of today, I’m 18 days post surgery and the incision still hurts.   Quite a bit, sometimes, hence, the pain medications.

Thought #3.  The more people I talked to about the surgery, the less alone I felt.  I’d had no idea just how many of my friends and acquaintances have had similar surgeries.  Women talked to me about their caesarian deliveries and how they coped with recovery.  (One friend’s strategy to get out of bed led me to tie a bathrobe belt to the footboard of our bed.  I could pull on the belt with one hand until I was upright enough to lean on the other elbow, then roll off the bed.  It worked, but it was certainly not graceful.)  Many women told me that they, too, had had hysterectomies.  So many of them that Wes was prompted to ask, “Does anyone we know still have a uterus?”  In general, women I spoke with concluded that my procedure was going to be a bit more complicated than most, and everyone’s story was slightly different, but they all ended with the same, “You’ll be fine.”  And I am.

Thought #4.  My hospital stay wasn’t that bad.  Actually, it was rather nice.  The nurses and aides were helpful, caring and attentive.  My roommate was friendly.  The time passed rather quickly.  One very helpful item was my “puppy.”  He was a gift from my Uncle John years ago for Christmas.  He’s been used mostly as a decoration over the years but, for some reason, when I left for the hospital, I grabbed him.  He was the perfect choice.  He’s soft and squishy and full of “home.”  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a name.  I’ve always just called him Puppy.  If anyone has a name for him, leave it in the comments and I’ll take it under consideration.

Thought #5.  I’ve gained weight.  Or have I?  I weighed myself before going in to the 50 gramshospital and again on the day I came home. (Don’t laugh, I can’t possibly be the only woman who’s done this!) I weighed 6 pounds more when I got home!  How is that possible? I barely ate for three days and they removed one of my organs!  But the scale doesn’t lie.  I’ve been told, though, that it’s probably only fluid, or it’s because I’m still healing.  My research (that is, Google) showed that the uterus commonly weighs about 50 grams, about the size of a skein of sock yarn, like the one shown here.  Sigh.  Not nearly as much as I was hoping.  But for the past few days people have been telling me that I look like I’ve lost weight.  So maybe the scale does lie.  Either way, I’m enjoying the compliments.

Thought #6. When someone says things will get better, they don’t mean immediately.  When Wes & I started dating, he had lost his wife of 26 years just months before.  It was a tough year; an emotional roller-coaster of “firsts.”  Every holiday, birthday or anniversary was the first one without her.  The day would pass, he’d recover from the emotional trauma and life would get a little better.  Until the next landmark date.  Everyone said the first year is the hardest.  When March came around and we reached the one year anniversary of the day she passed away, I thought, “Now things will be normal.  He’ll be okay now.”  Ummmm… no.  Things did get easier for him over time, but it didn’t magically happen on a specific date once all the checkmarks had been ticked off.  She’s been gone 10 years and he still has moments when it hurts.  It probably always will.

I guess I didn’t learn that lesson well enough because when the doctor told me that the first two weeks would be the hardest, I expected he meant that once I hit the 2 week mark I’d be home free.  All downhill from here!  Ummmm… no.  For the most part, every day is a little better, but some days are even harder than the day before.  It’s like looking at a stock market chart: Up one moment, down the next, but with a definite trend in one direction.  That’s encouraging.  I have to look at the bigger picture – especially when I have a day like yesterday.  Wes had a couple of places to go, so I joined him for the ride.  That’s all I did: ride along in the truck for a few hours.  By the time I came home, I was wrecked.  Totally exhausted, from being a passenger.  That would make me feel terribly old except that, as everyone keeps reminding me, I’m still healing.  I am a bit older, though, because:

Thought #7.  Today’s my birthday. And I’ve got the day off.  No place I have to be, no chores I have to do, and all day to not get there and not do them.  It’s gonna be a good day.  Happy Birthday to me!

My response to the Yarn Harlot’s response to the USOC

You can read the Yarn Harlot’s post here: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2012/06/21/now_that_you_ask.html

It is nice to have a calm voice rise above the mob. I agree with much of what you said. However, I believe you missed the mark on this one.

You are correct that the USOC is not asking Ravelers to abandon their games, only rename them. (I say “their games” because I don’t personally play along, although I am an active Ravelry knitter.) I don’t know much about copyright laws, but what you said made sense, except that I agree with the people who pointed out that, unlike your Sock Summit example, nobody would confuse what we do with THE Olympic games.

You missed the mark in your comparison of knitters to athletes.

The difference is NOT that we are knitters and they are athletes. The difference is that they have a world-wide competition every four years to find who is that best at running 100 meters or playing table tennis or shooting an arrow. We have not had a forum, on the global scale, to compete with our peers. If we did, I’m sure we would be eager to see who would win at Cable Construction or Turning a Heel or Working Without a Pattern.

You said, “We are not, however, spending our whole lives trying to be not just someone who can run 100 metres, but trying to be someone who can run 100 meters better than every single other person on earth.”

Perhaps not. But we would! If there was a global competition to be the best at something knitting-related, there are those of us who would train and compete in those events. At whatever cost. In my home state of Connecticut, our local fair is having it’s 100th annual event. (http://www.goshenfair.org/contests.htm) Among it’s contests are Needlework, which include knitting and crocheting. Competition is fierce. Those medals are displayed with much pride.

The Olympics only highlights athletes. (Can I use “Olympics” here? Is there a jar I should throw a quarter into?) We don’t know, every four years, who is the best typist on the planet. Or the best electrician. Or what construction team can frame a house the fastest. For some reason, long ago, certain sports were chosen to highlight achievement, and we continue to raise our athletes to demi-god status. Perhaps it’s because it’s not as much fun to watch someone type, or wire a house, or even knit a sock. It doesn’t make for riveting television programming.

You said they “put more sweat and training and work into that than anyone else ever has in the whole world.” I understand that physical training is different than knitting but you, of all people, should know how hard we train! Just like the athletes who want to be coached by the Great Ones, knitters travel to your Sock Summit, or various retreats to learn new techniques, training with those in our field who are recognized professionals. Somehow these knitters find time, funding and passion to better themselves at their chosen endeavor. It just happens that they are improving knitting skills rather than rowing or sailing skills.

You said, “We are not like elite athletes.  We are really great, but we are not the same as they are.” Well, of course not. The same way my surgeon is not the same as my accountant, but if I said that my accountant, by doing a great job on my taxes, “saved my life,” I’m not denigrating the work that my surgeon does. In the same way, Ravelry’s competition, using a derivitive of the Olympic name, does not somehow belittles their athletic efforts.

As for being an elite athlete: You are not, perhaps, an elite athlete (recent bike-riding notwithstanding), but you are elite. Let me say that again really carefully: You, Stephanie, are an elite knitter. You belong to a small, select group. You are paid to travel, teach and learn about knitting and knitters. Many of us would choose that as a vocation were it an option, however, because our craft is not held in high regard, there are few people who could command enough money in this field to make a living at it. You are an exception. You are doing what many of us would like to do but can’t. Your profession is made possible by the devotion of knitters to their craft.

The USOC said that by spending time knitting, competing amongst ourselves, and doing it in our own forum during the same time the Olympics are held, we were, being “disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fail(ing) to recognize or appreciate their hard work,” which in turn implies that anyone can, without any time or training or effort, pick up needles and knit something – basically failing to recognize or appreciate our hard work. I’m not advocating pitchforks and angry mobs but is it any surprise their words were met with such hostility? They added their voices to the many who already can’t believe we pay upwards of $20 for yarn to make one pair of socks or that we value giving a handmade hat that took 15 hours to make instead of simply buying a store bought item. And you defended them.

It’s a fine line to walk. I agree we must “Stay Classy.” That doesn’t mean we should accept the abuse, nod our heads and move on; it means we express our outrage in a civilized manner. I don’t know how sincere the USOC’s apology was, but we wouldn’t have received one had the knitting community not risen up together in anger. Now, I believe that, for the most part, we have been heard and it’s time to move on.