And suddenly…

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The zucchini we came home to on Friday night was one of the few we’ve been able to grow this year despite wonderfully warm and sunny days but WOW, was it a whopper!

Since I’ve only been walking with crutches for a few weeks, my personal experience of summer is that it just started. — so it was a bit of a shock on Sunday to discover that it was nearly mid-September — although that did explain why it was raining and kind of chilly. Tonight I looked longingly at the wood stove for the first time since early spring, and a glance at the candle holders made it blazingly obvious that I need to find where I hid stored the candles. In other words, it appears that autumn has arrived.

The neighbor’s treetops agree.

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Nine Weeks and More

It’s been nine weeks since ankle fusion surgery. Unlike my searching at this point after the original ankle repair surgery, I have been unable to find any blog posts from others about this fun experience. I did find some trusted medical sites that gave much of the same information I already knew along with some research that tells me that in approximately 20 years time, I will likely be suffering from severe arthritis in my foot because the pressure relieved by fusing the ankle will be transferred to other places. Oh, joy.  And also? Oh, well! I put this surgery off for as long as I could, and here I am — basically in less pain now than I was prior to surgery, despite not being able to walk. I’m hopeful, in a desperate sort of way, that this really-and-truly works. I need it to work.

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Little Foot and Chomper 

Our oldest son and his little family came to visit on Tuesday night. The mama and daddy went to see Les Miserables while Oma and Opa babysat. We are so blessed to have them less than 80 miles away, and we had a terrific time with the kiddos (and their parents on Wednesday morning).  The Engineer‘s company had purchased the tickets nearly a year ago, so they had really good seats.

 

 

The Barefooter has been working 15 days on, 6 days off for the US Forest Service as a timber cruiser (not barefoot). We only see him when he comes home for his time off and Colorado has been keeping him busy, so I don’t have a photo to share.  He was home for the week of his next-in-line brother’s last week here, which was nice for both of them. Air Force, Tom

 

Humorous-Juniorous began his USAF career last week and is currently in Alabama for Officer Training School (OTS).  He has been able to send us a few e-mail messages to let us know things are going well.   

 

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The Scout, who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, southbound (PCT, SoBo) has completed the Washington State section and is well into Oregon by now. He called us last Friday from Cascade Locks and met up with extended family near Timberline Lodge. Hooray for safety, family, food, shower, and clean clothes!   

 

Basically, our family has become a far-flung entity while I’ve been stuck at home. I know the latter is only temporary and the former is perfectly normal. And yet… Facebook memories keep popping of from 10 years ago when we all lived together. They were so cute and young and living at home then! But birdies grow up and fly away from the nest, don’t they?

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MTM: Spokes in the Trees

While I’ve been sidelined with ankle repairs, SuperDad has been taking care of everything around the house and still occasionally getting out to do fun things. This past weekend was a big outdoors festival, so he hopped on his bike and put in a good 15 miles or more getting out there (and back) to check it out. Luckily, he took some pictures and videos to share with me.

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The riders are not small children, but older teens and young adults who are hoping to turn professional (or in some cases already are well on their way to becoming pros).  SuperDad enjoyed watching but decided to not spend money or riding some of the demo bikes.  He still does a bit of mountain biking — nothing this crazy, but enough to take the bike along when we travel with the trailer.

SuperDad took multiple short video clips and I had planned to share some with you, especially one that made me grin because it had one of the riders audibly exclaiming “Ouch!” upon landing, but Vimeo is no longer a free service. Technology can be frustrating. You’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that the jump was over six feet in height and the riders were at least 20 feet in the air with each jump.

You can try to see if this link works — please let me know!

It’s been a while…

…so why not a Ten on Tuesday post?

  1. Dad died at the end of March. In April we took our already-planned trip to Tucson, which felt odd because we weren’t there to visit him anymore.  SuperDad and I, along with my younger brother and his wife, were at the assisted living facility for a small celebration of life (which was very nice) with the residents and staff.
  2. All 9 of us were here for Easter. The Barefooter and I sang with the choir (it was my last hurrah with them for a while because of travel plans when I am actually able to travel again).
  3. Little Foot stayed with us the week after Easter while his Mama and baby brother, Chomper, returned home for the week and Daddy went on a business trip.  We love having him with us and he had a great time burning through the energy reserves of every single adult in the house.  Little Foot, Oma, and Opa shared their first night of sleeping in the trailer. He loved it!
  4. The Barefooter was briefly in the news for his determination to run the annual 12km race in his usual form: barefoot. He’s run it 5 times in the past 6 years, always barefoot.
  5. I enjoyed my annual K2A weekend with two friends in an area with a lot of wineries. We’re slowing down and making it to fewer wineries in our advancing ages (ha!) but still had a great time together. Another friend joined us on Saturday which was a real treat.
  6. Dad’s memorial service was a weekend filled with family. The celebration of life was held at the church where I grew up and most of us stayed in one house together. Had everyone slept in that house, there would have been 20 of us! Those 20 people are my dad’s children, their offspring, and spouses. The weather was perfect: not too hot, not too rainy. Bonus: we all still like each other.
  7. After another 5 days at home, SuperDad and I left on our first big trek with the trailer. We spent 8 nights camping (9 days on the road).  Success! It was also quite the learning experience. Have you ever tried to back a truck and trailer? Pull-through sites are much easier than back-in sites.
    Bella and Beast, Olympic Peninsula, May 2019
  8. We returned home on Sunday, June 2nd. After helping to unload the trailer on Sunday afternoon/evening, I had a pain day on Monday — meaning I got very, very little done.
  9. Ankle fusion surgery was on June 5th. The surgery itself lasted about an hour and a half; we were home before noon. Since then I’ve been confined to lying on the top of my bed, ankle elevated, with the exception of using the bathroom (that is accomplished by holding onto a walker and hopping with my “good” foot).  On Thursday morning I have an appointment to (hopefully) remove stitches and get a new cast. My skin looks forward to 15 minutes of air time.
  10. There are a lot of changes happening for the young adults living in our house, but they deserve a post of their own. Of course, blogging about family members includes considering what is mine to tell vs. what is their own stories.

Ankle surgery, take 2

ankle fusion surgery

Twelve days ago I had ankle fusion surgery, adding to the long saga of my trimalleolar fracture back in November of 2015. When I finally took myself to a new orthopedic doctor last fall, I was told the metal in my ankle was perfectly wonderful, doing its job, and was likely only 15% of my pain. That was the good news; the bad news was that my cartilage in my ankle was basically destroyed and the pain was from bone-on-bone rubbing… scraping… grinding…

So! I’m spending the minimum 2 weeks with this view (above and below) and the rest of the summer off my foot/ankle/lower leg. Once released from constantly elevating my ankle I have a knee scooter to use, along with my trusty yard sale walker and an old wheelchair. But no walking allowed for three months! Let’s get this ankle thoroughly fused and let go of some chronic pain, shall we?

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Stunned

I’m on the road again, heading for Tucson and tapping this out on my phone’s tiny screen. Although this trip was planned several months ago, I won’t be seeing my dad, By the time we reach our destination Dad will have been gone for a week. He passed away rather unexpectedly last Thursday night. Thankfully both of my older siblings were visiting at the same time and were with him when he died.

It’s been a busy week of phone calls and messages between siblings and there’s more work to do. I can’t figure out how to upload a picture to the post via this phone so that will have to wait.

This is my bullet journal

  1. Three years ago today was when I misstepped, broke my ankle three different ways, and propelled myself into a new trajectory of life.  So… crappy breakiversary to me!
  2. I noticed new/different pain about 7 months into my metal-infused life, so I called the clinic. My surgeon had moved; his replacement told me it was too soon to do anything about removing metal (true) and the placement of all pins, plates, and screws was still in perfect form. The proof was in the X-ray. Tramadol is not my friend, so I was left with tears of frustration and chronic pain.
  3. I saw a new orthopedic doctor a few weeks ago. It wasn’t just my imagination that the pain was getting worse! While the metal is still in perfect form (kudos to Dr. M), the cartilage above my heel is nearly useless now, and I have a large bone spur on the front of my ankle.  The new X-ray isn’t pretty so I’ll leave it to your imagination.  Since it’s too soon (according to Dr. B) to talk ankle replacement, I’ve been cast for a serious ankle brace.
  4. Dr. B told me the metal was only about 15% of my pain; the rest is being caused by the grinding of the bones together. I’m trusting that he’s right about this and that the ankle brace will bring about relief by holding things in place.
  5. I’m obviously now a woman of a certain age and at least half of my topics of conversation are about health concerns.  If you take cholesterol medication, that can raise your blood sugar readings, which might then take you from pre- or borderline diabetes into Type 2.  And if you are stressed in the clinic, your blood pressure will be elevated; if you take BP readings at home with a smaller-than-you-need cuff, you will get false high readings, and then you end up on BP medication as well. Or maybe they’re not so false because this chronic pain is pretty stressful.  It’s the middle aged version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
  6.  I’ve been trying out a new class at the YMCA.  They use some of the same exercises but it takes place in the lap pool instead of the therapy (warm, 4′ deep) pool. In this new-to-me class, we strap on pool jogging belts and utilize deep water. Standing on a pool noodle in 10 feet of water as if it was a skateboard is a balancing act I can barely manage. I’m getting a better (harder) workout but my ankle is pretty much DONE for the day after this class.  Leaving my job was supposed to get me to the pool more often, and that does seem to be showing success.
  7. October was my first month of being retired (or should I just say “not working”?) but I kept quite busy.  I started the month with a 4-day crafting retreat up north, then had one day at home to do laundry and pack before SuperDad and I drove off for a 2-week trip by ourselves. We visited misty geysers at Yellowstone National Park in the cold for a few days, then headed for Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park. The weather there was sunny and cold during the daytime; the skies at night were amazing with a visible Milky Way.  I had thought my tent camping days were behind me, but I was wrong. (For trailer news, check out this previous post.)
    The rest of the trip was warmer: we spent several days in Tucson to visit my dad before driving home via Las Vegas. It was really nice to not be in a big hurry to drive home before school started back up; my pain level ratchets up during long car rides despite keeping my ankle elevated, so an 11-hour drive in one day is excruciating.
  8. Las Vegas is much more enjoyable on a Thursday evening without impressionable children than it was on a Friday evening during spring break with the kids! Or perhaps The Strip has tamed down a bit?  We don’t gamble, so this was all about seeing the lights and some of the amazing scenes. Walking through the Venetian, it’s easy to forget you are indoors.  We stayed in a simple place about a 10-minute walk off The Strip so it was fairly quiet.
  9. The annual quilting retreat closed out October and brought me into November. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped, since I had to take regular breaks to elevate my foot/ankle, but I am close to being done with the quilt for Chomper. Next up: squaring (trimming) the sides and sewing on the binding. I’ll be able to finish it before Christmas.
  10. One of the things I’ve discovered about not going to work most days of the week is that I am often clueless when it comes to knowing what day it is! When I was a SAHM, I knew each day because it was my job to know it; the kids had activities and school buses to catch, and SuperDad had long hours being gone for work. With us both at home and 3 young men coming and going all the time, I lose track of days of the week — at least Monday through Friday. One thing I do know is that Thanksgiving Day here in the USA is coming up in another week. By not fighting pain brain while working, I’ve actually managed to plan the menu, contact those coming to divvy up some of the food assignments, and make a shopping list! This might not seem like a big deal but I recall last year when I had no brain power left for such things.

Time

I’ve had Triumph’s Thunder Seven CD on autoplay in the Beast for the past 2 weeks, and some of the songs have been repeated multiple times. It’s how I listen to music: fill up with the tune and the lyrics until I am sated.

Time. Time. Time. Time. Time.
Time never waits. Time never ends.
Time after Time after Time.

This evening at home, because I don’t have any of their songs on CD, I’ve been using my computer to listen to a playlist of Linkin Park.

Time is a valuable thing.