12 November 2009

Hip Ginger Beret

Hip News

I attended my Pre-Admission Clinic for my hip replacement this week, which took about 3 hours. I had blood and urine tests, baseline readings for blood pressure and so on, hip x-rays (so my surgeon can measure what size implant to have ready), and spoke with a nurse, anaesthetist, and my surgeon's intern. It all went smoothly, and I managed to be surprisingly calm throughout.

The main problem is I can't have a femoral nerve block for pain relief post-op. As I suspected, my hip/groin area is too mangled and abnormal from previous surgeries, with a lot of scar tissue, and very little muscle - the anaesthetist couldn't even find my femoral vein, let alone the nerve. And an epidural isn't recommended; apart from the risk of permanent paralysis, it reacts badly with the DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) anti-clotting med Clexane which I'll be on for a month. So that means nothing that will numb just my leg for the first 2 days. My surgeon can flood the hip with local anaesthetic which will give me about 12 hours coverage after surgery, and I'll have to rely on PCA (Patient Controlled Analgesia) for the rest.

The one slight up side of this is I won't have an entirely numb leg, and this may make getting mobile (which happens very fast, the day after surgery) a bit easier. But my pain levels may be higher. For joy.

Anxiety is setting in pretty badly now, have started on Diazepam at the lowest dose, but it's probably not enough ... They'll give me a couple of Temazepam as soon as I get to hospital next Tuesday to hopefully knock me out for the 3-4 hour wait for my turn. Surgery will probably be early afternoon, and last several hours.

My bag is packed and ready to go - my main task now is to figure out some good hospital knitting projects! Morphine Lace probably isn't a good option ... I'm thinking a wash cloth or two, a pair of socks, and maybe another brioche stitch beret for when I'm more with it? Any other ideas?

Windmill Beret

It's done, and it's gorgeous! I did the bind off about 5 times ... the main problem was getting the diameter just right to fit my little head. I used the pretty braided bind off that the pattern specifies. It's rather inflexible, though (hence needing to redo it to get the size just right).

Glacé Ginger
This was a bit of fun, trying to make candied ginger at home. I finally managed it on the third recipe. This one works the best. The key is repeated overnight soaking in sugar syrup. The recipe takes 5 days, but only has around 2 hours of cooking time, which is much better energy-wise than many recipes which call for 5+ hours of simmering. It tastes wonderful, too - but basically the same as store-bought ginger.

Did you know you can peel ginger with the rim of a spoon? It's true, and it works well! Hold it so the bowl of the spoon faces away from you. Takes a fair bit of strength, but it goes around all the lumps and bumps, and you lose very little ginger in the process.

My only adjustments to the recipe : I added some water to the syrup each day, around 100-200 ml, otherwise it gets too thick and can caramelise/burn (ask me how I know!). I recommend cutting the ginger into thin slices, around 2-3 mm (not chunks like you buy). Use the youngest ginger you can find, too. Breaking down the thick cellulose fibres is the main obstacle to good candied ginger.

This is how it looked on Day 2 :

And on Day 4 :

But you know what - as fun as this was to make - and OMG the leftover syrup forms the most amazing ginger "toffee" - it's not cost effective, unless you grow your own ginger, or have a very cheap source. I priced crystallised ginger from Woolies at $16/kg, and glacé ginger (on sale) at $24/kg. My batch cost around $20/kg to make ($6 for 300g).

Economies of scale win here - I'm sure the commercial suppliers pay much less than $15/kg for their raw ginger root!


  1. Love the way you managed to incorporate EVERYTHING in your blog title!! Love the beret, beret nice and fabulous ginger. I reckon it's worth it because you know exactly how it's made!!
    Some good news then for your surgery, some so-so, but nice drug work there!!!

  2. Pawsome beret, pawsome ginger treats.

    : ( Pain following surgery. You WILL make it through with flying colors tho' - I am sure - just like you do with everything you touch or that touches you.

    If I miss your send off, good luck gal and yes, best to move around as soon as you can to get the juices flowing again and avoid clots, etc.

    Best wishes for a smooth surgery and speedy recovery, although I know it will take lots of time and be very inconvenient for you going through it all. Hugs!

  3. They do get you up and moving right away. I'm thinking positive pain free thoughts and sending them to you!

  4. Good luck with your surgery!

    For hospital knitting, I like plain stocking stitch baby hats, knit in the round on a single circular needle. Mindless, and soothing, and you can never lose your place or lose a needle if you get an unexpected visitor :)

  5. Ooh, candied ginger! Perfect for my mother-in-law's Christmas present, I think. Thanks for the recipe and tips!

    I just finished a Damson shawlette which I found to be fairly simple and fun to knit--maybe that would do for hospital knitting.

  6. I Love Ginger! I'm making a ginger syrup for my herbal teas to help with after surgery blues. I've been thinking of you & I actually marked my calendar with your surgery date. I can't wait to hear all about your recovery. I will be weeks behind you w/my THR. Sending you many healing thoughts.

    (((hugs))) Ina- aka Ladyfoxgluv/Anita

  7. Good luck with your surgery! I'll be thinking of you.

  8. What a charming little minx you are! That hat flatters your naughty sparkle.

    You got through the pre-op with surprising calm. You can survive the next step as well. Meanwhile, read absorbing escapist books, watch funny movies, and plan your wardrobe for that upcoming trip. Do you like these shoes with that outfit? Maybe the sandals instead since they're lighter? Which socks? Focus on pleaseant things.

  9. We're here to support you on your surgery. And the beret looks fab!

    (you also had me drooling for the ginger)

  10. I'm a ginger fan AND a brioche-stitch fan, so it was as if you'd written this post just for me.

    Glad to hear you have stayed so calm! Good luck next week!

  11. My suggestion for knitting is not a particular project but choose a luscious yarn. Find some yarn that you've been dying to work with and treat yourself with it.

    Thanks for the ginger peeling tip. I don't think that I'd make candied ginger but I do use it in cooking.


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