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.   

 

IMG_20190701_170725 (2) 4x6 self-portrait

 

 

 

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?

Handsome 4

 

Three Years Later

As I write this, it’s been 3 years and 3 hours since The Scout fell 23 feet from a broken branch to the hard ground beneath. Miraculously, he wasn’t killed instantly and while we don’t know if he only blacked out from having the wind knocked out of him or if he was unconscious for more than that brief time, he did manage to get up and walk home with great effort.  His back held the greatest pain felt at first, but the wicked headache made itself known within 36 hours; with no other name to give it, his symptoms have been labeled as post-concussion syndrome and he lives with chronic headache untouched by medication (we tried) somewhere around a level of 4 out of 10 on the pain scale (on a good day).  He graduated from high school more than a year ago and we are grateful that we did not have to fight for appropriate accommodations — a stellar scholastic reputation prior to his injury and compassionate staff made a big difference. Since then he has worked part-time, spending the best hours he can give to his employer during the busy season and enjoying occasional good days with family and friends. But like all of us, he wanted something more; unlike many of us, The Scout has made that something more happen.

Hart's Pass

Last week he began hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. 

His first 30 miles were spent hiking north to the Canadian border — the northern terminus of the PCT — and from there he turned around and headed south. If all goes well, he plans to hike all the way to the southern terminus of the PCT at the Mexican border.

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.

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.

Friendship Friday

Karen and Diana, Pali Overlook, WEBSIZED

When we first met 15 years ago, there was time spent trying to figure out where we had met before, because each of us felt that other was familiar.  It wouldn’t have been impossible to have run into one another; both of our husbands were in the medical field and Army life often means we run into people more than once over the course of a career. But no, we were meeting for the first time.
Eventually the two of us decided we were simply “Sisters from another Mister.”

DSCN7855 (2) FRIENDS, WEBSIZED

Over the years we have played many rounds of card games and gone camping together. We had the honor and privilege of attending their oldest son’s wedding in September of 2017, and at that time they asked when we were going to come to visit them in Hawaii. SuperDad was still recovering from his brain bleed so we were noncommittal on a date.

They were cold at the beach, WEBSIZED

This past fall, they let us know that they had less than a year left before they would be moving back to the other side of our state. The clock was ticking.

Taukea and Diana, WEBSIZED

I cannot begin to express what a priceless gift it was to stay with them and have them as our tour guides.  MAHALO, dear friends!

DSCN8834 FRIENDS at PCC, WEBSIZED

 

 

Life’s a Beach

No one person can own a beach in Hawai’i, nor can a hotel or a corporation buy up the beaches. There are a plethora of parks — some owned by the city of Honolulu, some owned by the State of Hawaii — and of course many hotels perched alongside the beaches, but the beaches are for the enjoyment of everyone.

DSCN8342 (2) Blowhole, WEBSHARE

DSCN8325 Hike to spitting cave, WEBSHARE

I did not traipse down this steep path, but SuperDad and our hostess took the trail between million-dollar homes to check out the “spitting cave” and a memorial marker for those who had lost their lives jumping from the rocks (it’s not a good place for cliff diving).  Beach access is part of keeping the beaches open to all. 

Day 1, Hickam beach, Honolulu airport, WEBSHARE

Bellows Beach boogie board, WEBSIZED

Bellows Beach Rainbow

Bellows Beach, getting tanned WEBSIZED

Paradise at Bellows Beach, WEBSHARE

Truly Paradise.  *sigh*

 

For the Love

red leaf HEART 4x6 October 2010

Wedding picture

Whoosh! That’s the sound of February zooming past us. The adage about time passing more quickly as we age must be true. How does one otherwise explain these gray-haired people? We were young so recently! (Wedding picture on the right –> was taken 31 years ago.)

SuperDad and I took the trip of a lifetime a few weeks ago. We flew to Hawaii on February 4th and spent 10 nights/9 days exploring the island of Oahu with our friends who have been living there for the past few years. I honestly can’t say enough about how wonderful the entire experience was, from flying first class (!!) to the beauty of Hawai’i and time spent with beloved friends. It was incredible.

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Photo taken at the very windy Nu’Uanu Pali Lookout on Oahu

DSCN7863 sunset on Waikiki beach (2) using Icarus filter set at 64 WEBSHARE

Waikiki Sunset on our first full day

Here are a few pictures from the more than 1,200 photos I took.DSCN7925 (2) WEBSHARE

The USS Arizona Memorial is still closed due to needed dock repairs, but we were taken out on a boat to view it as closely as was safe. That sunken battleship is the tomb of many people and since the memorial is situated at a perpendicular angle over the top of the USS Arizona, it isn’t a simple job to repair the loading dock.

DSCN7969The process of going through my too many pictures to weed out the bad ones and decide which others to keep, along with the necessary editing for printing and/or sharing (putting here on the blog requires resizing) is taking an inordinate amount of time.  So here’s a few to whet your viewing appetite and hold me accountable for more in the coming days and weeks.

DSCN7927 Mighty Mo 4x6 of the USS Missouri

The USS Missouri, also known as “Mighty Mo” and BB-63, wasn’t built when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. However, this battleship was where the surrender was signed in the Tokyo bay on September 2, 1945., and is now located close to the USS Arizona, representing the beginning and the end of the United States’ involvement in World War II.  

DSCN8233 Honolulu overlook WEBSHARE

Despite fantasies that probably every visitor to the Aloha State entertains, we knew we couldn’t stay. Our hearts belong here at home with our family, including these two Valentine cuties. We hadn’t seen them since the beginning of the month and my heart melted when I saw this photograph. Chomper is now 8 months old!

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photo credit: Forever Photos

We flew back into Seattle and spent the February long weekend there, relaxing in a humble & cozy Airbnb and attending a wedding. It simply didn’t make sense to drive home on a Friday, then turn around and drive back across the mountain pass the next day (nearly 600 miles round-trip), and staying put in the temperate zone likely helped with our re-acclimation to winter. Seattle high temps were around 40 degrees — a nice middle ground after leaving a place where 65 degrees means folks bundle up in winter coats and before returning home where it was 15 degrees.

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This is one of two 8′ tall “Soulless Snow Sentinels”

Our resident young men “held down the fort” in our absence. Amazingly, the fridge wasn’t empty when we returned this time, even though we left them with fewer eggs. My mention of their ability to grocery shop might have had something to do with it.  Even better, the house was clean and the driveway had been regularly shoveled.

In the 2 weeks we were away, approximately 2 feet of snow fell and so did the temperatures (into the single digits Fahrenheit). I’m just crazy enough to be sorry to have missed the excitement although there’s still plenty of snow on the ground, including residential roads. There might be an igloo in our back yard.

Yes, there is an igloo in our backyard, but it’s too cold to go out and photograph it. Sorry.

Icicles IMG_20190219_155739213_HDRDaytime temperatures warmed up to just above freezing for a few days, which has made for some epic icicles. The icicles are sticking around because we’ve plunged back down to single digits.

I’m so grateful to have had a respite from February’s never-ending winter weather.

Happy New Year 2019

We spent a lot of time driving in December, seeing the grandsons and their parents every weekend for various activities (some babysitting, some special holiday events, and a certain 3-year-old’s birthday). As I write this post, Christmas has come to a close with the passing of Epiphany; the new year is one week old and I’m still slowly addressing envelopes for the annual Christmas letter between attempts to pack away tree ornaments and other decorations. Sometimes I suspect I drag it all out because I am sorry to see it all gone.

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These two boys ♥♥

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Little Foot is now 3 years old.

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We’re calling it the T.S. Enterprise. It’s awesome! #goingboldly

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Home improvement gifts was a theme this year.   #grateful

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Post-Christmas visit to extended family while Mama and Daddy went to work.

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My BFF knows me and loves me. ♥

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Not everyone can receive a magical flying unicorn onesie and pull it off with aplomb, but SuperDad most definitely can and did. The video is awesome and slightly horrifying.

dscn7456 (2) websized family pic christmas 2018

Me, my ankle brace, and my great loves ♥                                                              Standing (L-R): The Barefooter, Humorous-Juniorous, The Scout, The Engineer & The Author

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Chomper and I sent everyone else to bed and had a late-night party. Then we rock-a-byed to sleep.  H-E-A-V-E-N.

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.