Thankful

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

As my favorite holiday of the year 2020 has finally arrived, I thought I would do some reflections as I start turning the pages and creating a new chapter in my story.

My family usually does Thanksgiving the day before the holiday due to my sister’s and I’s work schedule and our spouse’s schedules. For five years, I always worked the holidays and made good, double time and a half, union dollars for working my ass off the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving. I was making $25/hour at my prime at the grocery store and I was plenty pleased with that at the time; any money in my pocket was good money.

This is the second year I haven’t worked on the holiday; the first being I no longer worked in retail and now my new non-retail job doesn’t begin until the 30th. Although my sister and her husband aren’t working due to COVID-19 restrictions, he is one of seven siblings so their get togethers are quite large. We decided it was easier to get the six of us (my immediate family and our spouses) and change our holiday than make their family change the date or have two Thanksgivings in one day.

So that is what we did; I went over to my mom’s house around 11am and brought my laptop to do some last minute, new job paperwork. Diego was working til 6pm and would come eat then. My sister and her husband were coming around 2pm. I helped my mom with the scalloped potatoes as she was on and off the phone with her brother who was getting out of the hospital due to a mild stroke. It made me thankful for my own recovering health issues.

Mom needed a couple of last minute things from the store, so when my sister and her husband arrived, the three of us went to Diego and my best friend, Brent’s work aka the grocery store. I gave Brent a hug and a happy Thanksgiving and I saw Diego on his lunch. He didn’t eat anything so he could eat a big helping of my mom’s Thanksgiving dinner.

Once we came back to the house, we played a game of Yahtzee. We are all very competitive in nature. My dad and sister did the most trash talking whereas my mom and my sister’s husband were more or less surprised everyone was playing together in a semi-civil manner! As for me, I was there to take names and win the title, which I was successful in doing. My dad did the best initially, but after I scored my first Yahtzee and then succeeded it with yet another Yahtzee, game was over for everyone else. They all rolled to try to get their bonuses, but I had 150 point advantage. My dad left the last round and nobody tallied up their scores, but we all knew I had won.

Then it was dinner time. We did without turkey this year and had a ham, along with scalloped potatoes, and green beans fried with bacon bits and onion. We all prayed and said what we were thankful for. I said overall health and kind of went into my own little world of what that has looked like this past year.

I started the year off vomiting blood nearly every day until I was finally told I probably had at least one ulcer, but needed an upper endoscopy to prove it. COVID made that procedure impossible to get. After I was medicated for my symptoms, I stopped throwing up for a while which allowed me to finish physical therapy from my first foot surgery at the end of 2019. As I finished physical therapy, I was able to walk two miles a day until I moved in with Diego and had an event causing the cartilage on the inside of my left ankle to finally be done for. In other words, I needed new cartilage in my foot and fast because it was bone rubbing on bone.

That was the end of May. In June, Diego’s mother suffered from what we thought was a major stroke and ended up being a non cancerous tumor in the side of her neck that had to be surgically removed. It was a long few weeks of her being in and out of the hospital. It took a toll on Diego and I’s relationship, but in the end made us stronger.

At the end of September, I had my second foot surgery and my first knee surgery. The cartilage that was done for in my ankle was then replaced with live cartilage from the non weight bearing part of my left knee and put into my left ankle. The only way I could get around for 8 weeks was on crutches and I was actually pretty diligent about being non weight bearing during that time. I was told I could use a knee scooter, but I couldn’t and frankly still can’t get me leg at a 90 degree angle to support my knee on a scooter and be non weight bearing that way.

As I was slowly becoming weight bearing, Diego got super sick with an abscess of cellulitis on his tonsils. His throat was so swollen he could barely talk. After he got that, I somehow got pneumonia which started off as symptoms like his peritonsular cellulitis. It took 3 doctor’s visits and 1 ER trip to finally get a x-ray of my chest to discover half my left lung was covered in pneumonia.

I finally recovered a couple weeks ago, still getting better everyday. Still have a couple of lingering symptoms, but I feel a lot better than I have in a long time. With the pneumonia, I was throwing up blood as well and the doctors were worried that I had a Mallory Weiss tear of my esophagus, which is relatively minor, but again, would need an upper endoscopy to confirm, but cannot due to COVID.

And to think I am one of the lucky ones. I have friends who have lost loved ones this year and didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye. I have friends who have gotten a lot more sick than I have, or know someone who has struggled with more adversity than my family and I combined. I am fortunate to not have lost anyone. I am fortunate to still have my grandparents around, even though I can’t visit them because they are in assisted living. I am fortunate that my immediate family is overall healthy.

I am so grateful to God that I was able to spend today with Diego’s family and yesterday with my own. Don’t worry, they were both small gatherings due to the virus, but special nonetheless. I left my house and spent time with Diego’s mom and little brother before everyone else got off work. I helped with the potatoes and did some dishes as to try to be helpful and earn some brownie points with his mom. She said she was so happy to have her three children home and together, along with the spouses. It had been a difficult year for their family, and I was happy to be back home.

Today my knee and ankle were bothering me from all the standing I had done to clean my own house and then to cook over at Diego’s family’s house, but knowing that my recovery gets easier every day is a blessing within itself.

I should be getting my work schedule tomorrow for where I am traveling to and who I am working with on what days. I hope I am working close to 40 hours, but I am unsure just because I am waiting to take some more exams to officially become a registered behavior technician. Still waiting to hear back on my admittance to the UW, but that will come any day now.

Lots to be thankful for. I am sitting in my warm home with a cup of hot cocoa, blogging, as Diego plays his video games. Things are going well between us overall and we have no major complaints or even minor ones. I am coming up on almost three months clean of gambling which is huge. I may be broke, but my bills are paid, I have a rough over my head, and everything a girl could ask for. That and more.

Much love,

Dani

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