I'm so glad this is here again. I'm 57, a widow, have had a three level cervical diskectomy and fusion, arthritis in my hand and feet mostly and I have chronic pain with a 28% disability rating from workers comp. Other than that I'm great. lol
What is the hardest garden challenge for you to overcome? Do you work mostly while seated? Do you have anyone helping you? Yuska
Very little help here. I wait and wait for a day when I feel pretty good, then I suck it up (with a little help from Ultram and a couple of beers) and do what I gotta do. Then I pay for it for a couple of days. I use this method mostly to get the yard mowed and trimed. I guess it's a good thing that I'm allergic to most pain meds, cause then I couldn't have the beers. lol As for regular yard work like the flower beds and garden I don't usually sit to do any of it. The reason is, I have arthritis and degenerative joint desease in my knees, so it hurts more to get up and down than to stand and bend. Can't bend down very long though cause of the neck. However I do take sitting breaks. I map in my mind how much I have to get done before I can take one. My hardest challenge is digging holes. It kills my knees, feet and lower back. Why all the questions?
Luckpup, the questions were asked so that others on the forum can offer suggestions for making life and gardening easier for you. We really do care about each other here on Dave's Garden and will go as far as possible to help one another.
Are you allergic to aspirin or tylenol? How about caffine? I have OA and fibromyalgia so stiffness & soreness as well as chronic fatigue are a real problem for me. I now take 2 Excedrin + 2 Ultrim(Tramadol) 3 times a day to keep me up and going. I also have on hand a muscle relaxer, Percocet, and Neurotin if I need them.
Please feel free to complain, whine, rejoice, etc. at will. Many of us here are in poor health too and still are determined to keep up and going. We will NOT give up and give in to disability at any level.
Luckpup, I didn't mean to come across as nosey! It's just that I've benefitted from suggestions from others who have problems similar to mine, and who have found innovative ways to deal with those problems. I deal with arthritis, too, but the major problem is balance. It's not dizziness - just a hard time staying steady when I'm really actively moving. All sorts of tests haven't found a cause (I'm a challenge to medical science!) So I do a lot of close work such as setting out seedlings from a rolling bench. I had one with a flat seat, but someone suggested the tractor type seat. It's great! Contoured and it swivels, so if I lean in different directions I don't fall. As for mowing - I no longer waste my energy there; the Homeowner's Association for this area has quite strict rules, so I kept the front yard (which is small) as simple as possible. Some planters on the porch, and grass. The yardman does a great job. The back and side yards are fenced and out of sight, so I can grow stuff on my schedule. I fully intend to garden in some form as long as I can move at all. Yuska
"I have arthritis and degenerative joint desease in my knees, so it hurts more to get up and down than to stand and bend"
I thought I was the only one that had to bend over to plant. Thank goodness I have short legs and can bend over a put my hands flat on the ground, but I can't bend my knees or kneel. Also, since I seem to be shrinking from all the Arthritis (5'2" to barely 5") it puts me closer to the ground. *grin* It also makes for some interesting sun tan patterns! LOL
I, too, am so tickled to see this forum.
I have OA and FMS and am awaiting a knee replacement and then having a plate put in my leg in 1984 to be removed because it is corroding... I also have 5 herniated disks in my neck and so I have a lot of pain, all the time.
However, I will practically KILL myself in the garden if I can make myself get out there (which is hard some days).
Right now we are having strange weather -- spring for a day or 2 then winter again, then spring again. It's getting to be that kind of LONGING for SPRING kind of feeling around here. Some of my plants are peeking their heads out of the ground.
My knee replacement is March 8... I hope to be functioning well when it comes time to start weeding and moving things around in my garden, which had its first year this past year. I have a lot of things to move around, I'm removing iris from an old, old bed and planting herbs where it was after amending the soil with compost...
I can't wait to get out there and start digging.
I am not going to give up! I love being out there, the neighbors walk their dogs and talk to me as they go by, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, the wind in my hair, the dirt under my fingernails, it's all good and worth the "down" days afterwards... at least to me.
I wasn't huffy just courious. The only pain med I can take besides buffered asprin is Ultram. I can take as many as six of those a day, two at a time. I also take Neurontin, Robaxin, Zanaflex, and Mobic. The Mobic was added recently, but I think I'm gona have to give it up. It's starting to bother my tummy.
I know what you mean by shrinking. I used to be 5'11" and now I'm 5'9". There are good things and bad things about that. Good is I can wear regular length pants and I don't have to look down at so many men. lol They really resent when you look down at them. lol The bad part is it makes me look fatter. Boo Hoo
My biggest problem lately is my right hand. Sometimes the knuckles go out of joint and it really hurts and I can't completely close it. Sometimes I can't even touch the palm with the tips of my fingers. It makes me drop a lot of stuff. And I'm so right handed. It also makes it hard on me after doing very much like mowing and digging. If I sound like a pitty party, I don't mean to be. I'm just tellin ya'll what's up with me.
I'm just dying to get outside and get stuff planted. Not looking forward to the clean up part. My youngest son is supposed to come over and help me prune trees and shrubs. That's gona hurt with all the using of hand tools, but it's gotta be done. My second oldest son is moving and I got to go to his house and dig up a bunch of plants. Mostly bulbs and tons of Oxalis and Agave's. So there are a whole van full of plants to deal with. Plus I bought five rose bushes. I'm hoping to talk the youngest into digging holes for them. lol Wish me luck for that.
I was very lucky last week. My oldest son bought me a cart with wheels year before last and it had two flat tires. He came over to vist and took it to the gas station and aired them up for me. Do ya'll have kids to help you too?
Luckpup, you are certainly not lacking for things to do! Good for you...all those additional plants will be beautiful. What kind of soil do you have? At my last place it was a beautiful sandy loam that was easy to work up,but the stuff here is a heavy black clay full of rocks, all sizes (I'm convinced they're breeding down there.) I'll post later about some of the challenges, but right now the sun is finally shining after a month of drizzle/fog/rain. Still to wet to do much but at least I can pull some weeds. Yuska
We have the clay soil too. I recently got a book by Jerry Baker called Perfect Perennials and it has some really good ideas about how to amend the clay soil in easy ways.
Well the youngest son came and trimmed the trees, but left them there for me to cut up. BooHoo!!
However, my daughter is going to hire a couple of collage boys to clean up the yards for my Mothers Day present, so maybe they will cut them up for me.
The right hand has been awful lately. So has the left knee. Don't they know I really need them to get all this done?lol Oh for a real man around the house!!! lol
Yuska, have you been tested for dysautonomia? My DH has balance problems. Sometimes simply turning his head can make him nearly fall. Getting up from a sitting position, bending over and rising back up, all these can make him stumble around in an effort to not hit the floor or ground. Do you happen to be diabetic?
No, I haven't been tested for that...never heard of dysautonomia...but will ask my doctor about it on my regular visit two weeks hence. No, I'm not diabetic, thank goodness, and seem to be in good shape most other ways, except doctor wants me to gain twenty pounds. My problem seems to be mostly in the knees and feet, but bending over sometimes is shaky. Thanks for the clue...I really would like to control the problem; it's no fun being clumsy. Some experiments are being done on shoes for us older folks...seems the nerves in the feet can be a bit slow to send signals, and could use some stimulation. What is being done to help your DH?
The nerve problem is a part of dysautonomia. It can cause a myriad of different problems, digestive, heart (mimic heart attack symtoms), balance, walking, on and on. There are some medications to try, but it can be a trial and error process to see what works for the individual. DH doesn't feel the medications were helping him and hates to take meds anyway, so right now is not doing anything for it, but coping.
You probably need to see a specialist for this test. The Dr. that diagnosed DH is a diabetic specialist who has dysautonomia himself. DH is a diabetic for 37 years, but I believe it can occur in folks who don't have diabeties (will check that). At least one test for it is a "tilt table test".
Another possibility is neuropathy. In fact, I get the symtoms of these two confused sometimes. The neuropathy is nerve damage too. Usually starts in the feet or hands. I will read over the info again and look for the website addresses that can give you more detail.
My husband has had diabetes for 41 years. The past several months he has had a lot of balance problems. I doubt he would be willing to take anymore meds. He is on so many now that he gets rebellious when the doctors mention another one for nearly any reason.
Do any of you wear magnets for arthritis? I didn't use to think they would do any good and got a bracelet out of desperation & with much doubting only to discover that it worked wonders for my hands. The one I have has lots of small magnets which are quite strong. I can tell the difference if I do without it even for a few days.
How intriguing! I have wondered about the magnetic bracelets but figured it was just malarkey. Does one bracelet take of both hands? I have the arthritis often as not in my ankles and shin bones. Aspirin gives me some relief about 15-20 minutes after swallowing it.
I understand how your DH feels about so many medications. I'm taking two meds for an anxiety disorder plus Fosamax once a week, and my HMO formulary list doesn't cover any of it. But most of all I truly believe the more meds a person takes the more risk there is of bad inter-reactions.
One magnetic bracelet on one arm seems to help both hands. And the necklace seems to help with headaches. Be sure you get one that has LOTS of magnets all around it not just on the ends. Mine are hemolite and cost about $8 each.
Yuska, I will be interested in hearing if the magnets work for you. My DH uses them for his back and swears that they work. I have tried them and didn't notice much difference if any.
I will certainly report on the results, if any. There are several forms of arthritis, and it might be that magnets are effective with certain types and not others. My doctor has ruled out rheumatoid in my case (thank goodness!) but whatever type(s) I have is enough distress!
I guess I should probably clarify my last post in saying that his magnets are a pad worn on the site of the back pain. We both have spinal stenosis. Mine isn't helped in the least by the magnet pads but he wears his pad almost every day and swears it works well for him. Still wondering how much of that is placebo effect. Guess we will never know for sure.
Yuska, where are you ordering your from? I got mine at a local pharmacy. It is the only place I have seen anything like them.
Dr. Leonard's . I'll also check at the pharmacy tomorrow.
Ahhh, Rosemary, I hear you. My problem is not mobility, but the lung power with my COPD. I'm trying to learn to do things slow and easy, or as you say "in bits and pieces". Not an easy task and very frustrating...
Rose take a chair out there and a hoe and you can do a lot more than you think. If the chair sinks into the ground take a two by four for each foot and plop them down and set the chair on top. I find a good sharp small hoe and a rake are my favorite gardening tools these days. OH and I also use a dog pooper scooper to pick up things plus my grabber that has small ends on it help to pick up large seeds like the acorns that I do battle with each year. I poopscooped and grabbed them into a bucket and took them to town to the city park squirrels. Should see some nice English Oak trees down there in the future. lol
I can't work very long outside but I will come in and rest up and go back out again several times a day. My time is extending all the time now. I just had to make a few adjustments on what I do and for how long. One of those huge umbrellas for tables is great for gardening under. Pick a light color though because I find ya die of the heat under a dark one. If ya need more protection from the heat a shade cloth over the umbrella works great. The shade cloth is available at Home Depot and Lowes and many garden and nursery stores. They have different increments of shade available clear up to 90%.
Hope this helps someone here.
Thank you darius and Lani. I'm sorry I gave in to feeling sorry for myself. It was just a particularly weak moment. Really, I have so much to be thankful for it doesn't do to complain like I did. darius, I know you have it tough, struggling to just breathe is a terrible thing. I hope you're doing as well as can be expected. Lani, those are some great ideas that I will definitly be putting to use. I've got some old chairs out there already, (and a couple of mean sharp hoes), I just hadn't thought about using them while I work. And a tarp and an umbrella sound good too. When it's cool out I can do a whole lot more. How is it one exactly puts shade cloth over an umbrella? Just drape it over and secure with clothes pins?
I've got one of those grabber things too and they work great on the high shelves in my pantry. Never have tried it outside, but I will. This month's Organic Gardening magazine had a good idea about using a hollow aluminium tube to drop seeds if after you make a furrow. Thanks a great idea too. So I feel encouraged and will try these helpful methods. Thanks again. Rosemary
Rosemary, go ahead and sound off anytime you feel the need... we do understand. Although our problems vary, we can gather strength and determination from one another. I'm grateful that our brains are still working well, and we can use them to figure out new ways of dealing with these challenges. Yuska
Thank you Yuksa! I appreciate the support, it means a lot.
Rosemary, There is no reason to worry about feeling sorry for yourself around here since most of us have been there several times ourselves and will be again in that spot. It just seems like sometimes it overwhelms us and there is no way out of it unless we vent to something or someone. Just vent away because at some point you will find us venting too.
The shade cloth as you guessed is just draped across the top and pinned on in some fashion. I have been thinking about buying an umbrella just for gardening and sewing a shade cloth on it to save time and effort.
I use my grabber along our highway frontage to pick up litter and to take the dandilion flowers off between mowings, to move a small potted plant to another spot in my flower bed when I am figuring where I want to place them for planting, pull short rooted weeds, grab anything small that is out of my reach, and many other uses. I call it my third hand. When I take it back inside I put the end of it in the kitchen sink and wash it. I use it almost every day for something. If I lean over I tend to feel like I will fall so instead of leaning over to pick things off the floor I use the grabber. I can pick up dropped coins, pick up lint or leaves on my carpet, pick up my garden tools that I drop, and many other tasks.
I use a trowel taped on a broken shovel handle to dig with and then plop the plant into the hole, adjust the tilt of the plant with my grabber and then put the dirt into the hole with the trowel. Works fine but granted is a little slower than I used to be able to plant things. Do I mind? Nope. I am still gardening and I love it.
Lani, you are an inspiation. What a godsend! You have some great ideas and seem to have a routine worked out that allows you to do the maximum for the minimum effort. I guess I need to get my grabber out of the pantry and put it to work. I looked at some shade cloth today in a catalog but I'm thinking some nylon window screening from the hardware store would work just as well. I'll keep my eye out for an umbrella, a white one.
As an aside, my Mom taught Hawaiian dancing for over 50 years and she picked the name Lani as her Hawaiian name. It's a lovely name.
Rose, the nylon window screen is not shade cloth at all. You can get shade cloth at nurseries, Home Depot, Lowes, and many other hardware type stores these days. I know I got some recently that is 70% shade at Home Depot in a roll for about 20 bucks. For your comfort in the summer you will really enjoy that shade cloth as it makes a lot of difference under that umbrella. We use it to shade our dog kennel, shade our camp trailer and shade our west windows till our trees get big enough to shade them. I don't know what we would do without this great invention other than suffer the summer heat.
My middle name on my baptimal record is Leilani. Dad gave me that name and always called me Lani. My brother and I were born in Hawaii when my parents were missionaries. At one time I could do a pretty good hula but that was a LONG LONG time ago. I think it is a lovely name too as Leilani means "heavenly flower" or "flowers of heaven". Must be one of the reasons I love to garden. :)
I just couldn't resist....the mention of the song brought back memories of my father singing it to me.
Written by Harry Owens
Sung by Bing Crosby and Dennis Pavao
Sweet Leilani, Heavenly Flower
Nature fashioned roses kissed with dew
And then she placed them in a bower
It was the start of you.
Brings tears to my eyes....the song Sweet Leilani, I used to hear it coming up from the basement where my mother had "Lani's School of Hawaiian Dancing". We and all our friends learned the hula and would put on shows at hospitals and nursing homes. In later years, she moved her school to the local YWCA and had a faithful following until she was way up in her 80's. She and her students performed at the NY World's fair. (Sorry, just bragging about her!)My Mom passed last July and I still miss her.
In 2000, she and one of her hula friends made their one and only visit to Hawaii and had the dream trip of a lifetime.
You have a beautiful name.
Thanks for the memories.
Re: the shade cloth, I'll look for it around here. The local stores have a limited selection compared to what others say their local stores have. But I will track some down. My house has a bank of south facing windows that get a tremendous amount of sun and subsequent heat gain. Nice in the winter but awful in the summer.
Thanks again to all.
Hi! I wanted to jump in (figuratively) and say I use a grabber outside all the time. I could not garden from my wheelchair without it. Use it so much I have one for in and one for out. Also have a set of tools that extend and retract, trowel, how, rake and these work great for the beds that were here when we moved in. New beds are always put in with my limitations in mind (including new raised beds 24" from the ground that my wonderful hubby plans to build this year). My new greenhouse is small and compact and completely accessible, too. Not an inch of wasted space.
By far my best garden tool is my 9-year-old daughter. We share so many common interests and she is absolutely gardening-obsessed. She loves to help me, feels good that she has and also loves the results of her hard work. She has taken over the care of our new worm factory, with adult supervision and scolds her father endlessly if he throws out something he should give them. She watches the seedlings, helps me record daily activity and readings, waters, weeds, digs, plants and harvests! No one better but I won't lend her out!
As to feeling sorry for ourselves, someone once gave me this advice... Set a timer for 10 minutes when you feel really awful. Then, rant, rave, throw things, curse, scream, flail, whatever it takes... just really wallow in your self-pity. But, when the timer goes off, stop. That's all the time you get. Once you've done it a few times, it only takes a mental break to achieve the same effect.
Bassetmom, you sure are inspirational. Your daughter sounds like a gem. I'm amazed at all the innovative ways gardeners are making the best of their situations. Thank you for your valued insights.
BassetMom, your daughter sounds like me when I was that age although you would have to add in training of animals too. What a blessing she is to you!
I can remember being told to buy a bag or two of marshmallows just for times that you lose your temper and then throw them as hard as you can at anything and everything. The throwing makes you feel better but the marshmallows won't hurt anything they hit no matter what and you can use the same bag over and over again even after they are hard. I tried it once and got to about the tenth one and got the giggles so hard that I never used them again.
I have been thinking of purchasing a grabber for just outside but haven't found the same one yet and love this particular one so much. It even has a small magnet on it that is a big help if I drop a screw or a nail when I am working on a project and can't see where it dropped. I also use my grabber for laundry duty because our washing machine is hidden partway behind a wall (bad design by former owners hopefully to be rectified soon) and the clothes in the back of the washer are hard to get out so I use the grabber. Use it for the dryer too so I don't have to lean over to get the laundry out. Love that grabber!
There is a funny (I think) story with my Dad and my extra middle name. You see Dad was a priest in the Episcopal Church and my big brother and I were both born in Hawaii so Dad wanted me to have a Hawaiian name as my middle name. Mom had let my sister chose my middle name so she wanted nothing to do with me having two middle names. Well when I was born I was named with one middle name but when Dad was doing the baptismal service he quickly said "I name you ___ ___ Leilani ___ in the name of the Father Son and Holy Ghost. That naming was to a gasp from my Mother saying OH JACK!!!!!! LOL So I have two middle names only one of which is truly a legal name but I loved it when Dad would call me Lani so I have been using that as a nickname for several years now. :~) Dad passed in 94 and I miss him dearly. He had a rich sense of humor and used it in all ways he could even to naming his own daughter against his wife's wishes. lol I am glad he did too because I love the name and its heritage.
Hey, find a grabber you like and glue a magnet on with outdoor cement! I am going to do that very thing this afternoon, thanks to your comments. I would love to be able to pick up a screw or nail with a magnetic end, though my family marvels at just how adept I am with the grabber, given my poor fine motor skills in my fingers! Ha!
We're all learning a lot, which is wonderful.
by process of elimination I think I have finally figured out where I got my good grabber with the fine tip. DH says for me to go get one so I am hoping this next week will find me a little time (hour and a half) to go get a longer handled version of what I have. That will be our outside grabber.
BassetMom, I have gotten plenty adept with my grabber too. It is even nice at my bed so I can rearrange my blankets at the bottom of my bed since my toe tips get to hurting from the blanket weight so I lift the bottom of the blanket to make a pocket of space for my toes. Funny how fibro pain hits a person. I never would have dreamed that my toe tips would hurt.
Well, guess I should be getting to bed. I just looked at my clock and it is 1:11 as I type this and DH will be up at 6 am ready for the day. arghhhhh Sometimes it is rough when one mate is a nightowl and the other is an earlybird. lol What was I thinking????? :)
Nope, wouldn't change a thing about him.
well, maybe one thing
Make him a nightowl too?