Thursday, November 14, 2013

Waaaaayyyy Behind!!

Oh, dear!  I've got so much to share and am so far behind, I don't know where to start.  Just overwhelmed with it all.

First of all, we spent the month of October in Kansas at our little house there in Little River.  We went back to check on the farm and on the house.  Prior to our arrival - sometime that month before - a terrible hail storm went though the area.  Hutchinson, where we lived before moving to Alabama (30 miles south of LR), got it far worse than Little River - hail the size of grapefruits!  Nevertheless, we got golf ball size hail, and it totaled the roof, punched holes in the siding on the north end of the house and battered the large awning over the deck on the back of the house to pieces.  Thankfully the roof did not leak.  While still in Alabama, we had contact with our insurance company and adjusters were sent - several times.  So while we were in Kansas, we hoped to make contact with the roofing company and find a siding company as well.  One man came from Great Bend and sounded quite enthused and willing to do the siding, but he just never got back with us on a bid.  Meanwhile, we contacted another company who had many signs in yards all over town, and he gave us a bid on residing the whole house.  Yowza!!!  $$$$$  BUT he could side the whole house for about twice what it would cost to do one end which the insurance company was paying for.  This would also involve "wrapping" the window frames - more $$$$.  Anyway, we agreed to kind of do it in hitches - siding now, windows in the spring.  Who knows when the roof will be replaced (which the insurance is going to cover).  You have to have temperatures above 50 degrees to roof, so it may not get done until spring.

We also wanted to have the backyard fenced, so that we didn't have to take Annie out on a leash every time - that's a pain!  We called one man, who said he was ill (and sounded like it), so he didn't show up at the appointed time.  We ended up going with Lowe's.  After making all the arrangements, we waited nearly a week for them to call us to come out and get started.  I finally called, and they were waiting on us to come pay.  Well, it would have been nice to know that!  As it turned out, he came out to drive some stakes in the ground the day before we were leaving to come home. 

Soooooo.....all that time there, talking with lots of contractors, and not a lick of work actually got done!  Shortly after we got home, the fence contractor's office called to ask me to sign off on the fence job, and I told her I didn't even have any proof that it got done!  I told her to have the contractor take pictures of the finished job and email them to me, and then I'd sign off on the job.  Well, here we are a half a month later and no pictures.  I finally called the next door neighbor there to ask her if they got our fence put up, and she said, "No, I just see some posts in the ground on the north side."  I guess there is no real hurry since we are not there and won't be until next April.  Hopefully when we go back then, we'll have a fenced in backyard, a new roof, and new siding (and awning).

Anyway, we had a great time - just pretty much doing nothing.  Jeannine and the girls came back for a long weekend in the middle, and we certainly enjoyed spending time with them.  The girls are in a new charter school where they are learning all kinds of crafts along with their regular school work.  Here they are playing with clay.

They both learned to "finger knit" which I had never really heard of. 

Jeannine said they are also learning to knit with needles they made out of sticks they sanded into round and pointed needles.  Since they got into the school after the school year started, Sofia had not learned how to knit with needles, so Grandma gave her a lesson, and she caught on very well. 
This was Sunday morning getting ready for church.  The girls had on their shirts that I applique embroidered, and the matching skirts I had made.  Aren't they so sweet?!?!
Jeannine brought her little rescue dog, Pippin.  Boy was he a scrawny thing!!  Bless his heart!
He was sleeping in Annie's bed here.

We also had to eat at Jeannine's favorite restaurant - Taco Hut.  Gotta love those Sancho dinners!!

The weather was actually pretty nice the whole time there.  It was in the upper 60s and low 70s.  There were even a couple days where the wind didn't try to blow the hair off your head!
Oh, wait!  I forgot!  It did snow one of the days we were there!

It snowed enough that the girls made quite a snowman in the backyard.  I didn't get a picture of it until the next day where it was warm again, and he was starting to melt.  I thought he kind of looked like the Alabama elephant mascot by then.  :)  Roll Tide Roll!!!!!!!

We went to a Friday night high school football game.  That was a trip!  A trip back in time!  I remember so well playing in the pep band - trying to keep my mouth piece warm on those cold nights. "Loyal and true, we pledge allegiance to you..."  Yep, I remembered all the words to the fight song!   And it was a cold night that night, too, with a major cold front that moved in.  I sat there looking at all the young people who had familiar looks to their faces, but didn't know to whom they belonged.  One lady sitting in front of us, Jackie, was a year ahead of me in school.  I looked at her, and she looked just like her mother did back then.  Her daughter sitting next to her looked like Jackie did back then.  And the daughter's son was one of the football players.  We skipped a whole generation!  Here we were now the grandparents sitting in the stands, and I sat there wondering if I looked just like my mother did back then.....

One thing I really enjoyed while there was going to the day and evening quilt guilds I used to belong to when I lived in Hutchinson.  I was a charter member on the Evening Star Quilt Guild, and there was only one other charter member still attending now - my quilt buddy from then - LaRue.  I was able to talk with her on the phone and then visit at the meeting.  It was great fun seeing some of the day guild members that I knew as well. 

I also attended a quilt show in a little town nearby and sitting at the greeters' desk was a nurse I used to work with when I lived in Lyons and worked at the doctors' office.  What a great reunion that was!!  Here are some quilts from that show.  This first one I liked because I have a wall hanging made from the red rose fabric.
This one was about the size of a sheet of paper.  Done with that special twist-it ruler.

I like this one because it's Christmas, and it is a row quilt.  I've always wanted to make a row quilt.

I liked the kaleidoscoping affect in the center of each block. 

This one was a picture quilt, celebrating someone's anniversary I think.  It reminded me of the one I made for Mom and Dad's 60th anniversary.
This little wall hanging had a lot of thread painting on it.

I had heard there was possibly a quilt shop in another little nearby town of Alden.  I had never been to that town all the years we lived there.  But I knew where it was and figured, how hard could it be to find a quilt shop in this tiny town??  Someone said it was across from the café.  As I entered the town, I saw a sign to turn left to the café.  It turned out that just about the only thing in town was this café and the quilt shop!  The shop took up about 4 store fronts and that was just about the length of the downtown part of town!  :)  They were the friendliest people in there!  They had fabric all over the place - from one room to the next to the next.  I saw this one quilt in progress on a table, and just had to have that fabric and pattern!  It was all about roosters.  I thought that would look nice in the house in Little River.  So I bought it and sewed it up before leaving to come home.  I just have to quilt it now.  The tan fabric has a chicken wire design.

Now we're back home and into our normal routine - pretty much.  I didn't do any physical therapy while I was in Kansas, although I took a prescription for it with me.  I did my exercises faithfully, and gradually, I went from 2 crutches to one, and then none.  My foot is healing pretty well, although I still have some tenderness when I walk.  BUT the big thing is my knee.  That gives me the most trouble when walking. 

Before going to Kansas, I went to a doctor for my knee, fully expecting him to tell me I needed a knee replacement, since another doctor had told me 4 years ago that I needed one.  However, after looking at the x-rays, he said I did not meet the criteria for a total knee replacement.  The inner part of my knee was bone-on-bone, but the outer part appeared to have adequate cartilage.  He had me flex and straighten my knee, and then he said, "Most people who need a knee replacement can't straighten their leg out or bend it like you can."  Well, the only reason I could do that was all the physical therapy I had been having getting ready for the knee surgery.  Also, I had not tried the conservative treatment route first - NSAIDS, cortisone shot, and PT.  So I left with the conservative treatment plan.  After a month to 2 months on that plan, my knee is no better - maybe even a bit worse.  So I returned to him after coming home from Kansas.  I told him nothing worked, and I'm still in pain when walking.  Was I a candidate for a partial knee replacement?  After poking around on the outside of my knee as well as the inside and feeling pain everywhere, he said I wasn't a candidate for a partial knee.  My whole knee was involved, so he asked me when I wanted to schedule the total knee replacement surgery.  He didn't seem to bat an eye this time.  At first I thought I'd wait until the week after Thanksgiving, but then changed to the week before.  He told me Guy would HAVE to take a week off to be with me, so I figured it would be easier for him to take off the week of Thanksgiving than the week after.  So the surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, the 20th.  He will only have to take off Wednesday and Thursday of that week since he has Fridays off anyway.

I had forgotten that Mark had obtained tickets for Guy and I to the Alabama/Chattanooga game the 23rd.  RATS!  I was SO looking forward to going to that game.  I've been wanting to go to an Alabama game for so long.  Mark said he'd get more next year and that I should go on and get the surgery over with.  I'm a little nervous about this surgery.  I didn't really get nervous over the foot surgery, and there was no pain beyond the initial few days after surgery, because it was immobilized for 11 weeks.  I know there is going to be pain with the knee, because you have to start moving it right away - and keep moving it.  I know you have to work really hard in PT.  I can do that - I did it with my foot.  I just want it to all be over - and 6 months down the road!

I'll close for now and continue with the rest of the update perhaps tomorrow.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Been a busy week.....

Several times this last week I thought I'd catch up here, but just never got to it.  I've been going to PT 3 times a week and working hard there.  And then I have a ton of exercises I have to do at home. My foot is doing pretty well - still some tenderness on the bottom, but my knee is still the major problem. Robert has got my range of motion going well and my extension and flexion measurements are good.  I can ride the stationary bicycle for 10 minutes on the 3rd level with no problem.  And most of the exercises I can do with little problem - all except WALKING!  I just cannot walk without my knee hurting.  I still need to use at least one crutch.  Friday he worked more on my gait.  I started Mobic (an NSAID) for a week with no change.  I called the Dr.'s office to see if they would change me to another NSAID - Lodine.  Back when I first started doctoring for my foot, the first doctor put me on Mobic and when it did nothing, he changed me to Lodine.  As I recall, it did nothing for my foot but helped my knee.  So the knee doctor changed me to Lodine.  I've only been on it a couple days, so I can't really tell any difference yet.

In the meantime, I've been doing some research on partial knee replacement, and from what I've read, it seems to me that I'm a perfect candidate for that.  Those are appropriate for people who have one part of the knee affected, but the rest is OK.  That's me.  The inner part of the knee joint is bone-on-bone, but there is good cartilage everywhere else.  The inner aspect is the part most commonly affected in most people.  PKRs are not nearly as invasive as total knees, and the recovery process is considerably quicker.  The PTs say that they've worked with those who have had PKRs, and they do very well.  So I will get a 2nd opinion and check into this the 1st of November.  That will give me a whole month on the medication and lots of PT.  If any of the conservative treatment is going to work, it will surely do so within that time.  I've got a prescription for PT in KS if I feel like I need it.  Otherwise, I'll just continue my exercises and hope I don't go backwards.  I'd still like to save some PT visits in case I have surgery later in the year.

The rest of the time during the week was getting ready for our Kansas trip.  One of the things I wanted to do was make a couple outfits for the girls.  I'm making a skirt with two different fabrics and then applique embroidering an "S" on a shirt for Sofia and an "M" on Maya's shirt.  I got the initials on the shirts, and they turned out well.  I got Sofia's skirt done except for the elastic in the waist.  When I went to cut Maya's skirt (different fabric), I cut it wrong!  Just as soon as I made the cut with the rotary cutter, I knew I had done it wrong.  Boo!!  And of course I didn't have enough fabric then.  :(  The next day I called Sew Delightful in Tuscaloosa where I bought the fabric.  As I described the fabric, she looked up my ticket and knew exactly what I needed.  HOWEVER, they had sold out of it.  ARGH!  She said she was pretty sure I could go online and find it.  I did, and I found it.  I ordered it to be sent to the KS address.  Hopefully it will come in time, and I can finish it before Jeannine and the girls come to visit, since they are planning to come while we are there.  She just doesn't know exactly when yet.

We always stay in Conway, AR, when we go to KS.  That is about half-way, and we have a hotel we like.  They allow pets and have a good hot breakfast.  The drive today was about the easiest we've ever made and the quickest.  Going through Memphis was a breeze, and the I-40 (perpetual) construction only slowed us up about 10 mph.  So that was a breeze, too.  We usually get here about supper time, but we arrived a little after 4:00 pm today.  The weather was just perfect until I came out from checking in at the hotel, and before we could get anything unload, the sky opened up and POURED on us!!  Thankfully it didn't last long.  With all the stops we made along the way and all the going outside at the hotel, Annie has not done her business ALL DAY!!  I don't know how she can hold it that long.

I don't think I've packed enough warm clothes.  I've heard from several that it is cold in Kansas.  When I looked at the long-range forecast, it looked as though it was going to be pretty pleasant while there - 70s-80s the first week and then into the 60s the rest of the time.  I saw that the lows would be in the 40s.  I don't think I'm quite ready for that!  I didn't pack any regular sweaters.  I did put in several long pants, and long-sleeved T-shirts and a couple cardigans to wear, along with a front-zip sweatshirt.  I couldn't fit anything else in my suitcase.  It seems that every time we go, we have the truck so full, you can squeeze in another blade of grass.  This time we didn't want to mess with a tarp, so everything had to go in the bed of the pickup with the flat top Guy has over the bed and in the cab.  I wonder if we'll ever get finished with taking stuff to the house there.  We still didn't get everything we wanted to take in this trip.  There are still pictures and another bedside table yet to go.  Maybe next time.  BUT I got my sewing machine, table, and quilt fabric in the truck!!!  First things first, you know!  :)  There wasn't room for the sewing chair, though.  I just need to buy one and leave it there.  It is such an unhandy shape to pack anyway.

Well, Annie has found her spot!

More Gifts.....

61.  Safe trip to Conway, AR. 

62.  Minimal traffic all the way today.  

63.  Able to listen to the Alabama game on the iPhone, even though it was a Georgia station - with announcers who were very complementary of our team. 

64.  The very friendly young man who waited on us at IHOP tonight. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

I guess there is a sucker born every day....

A few years ago, we left Charter TV and went to Direct TV satellite service.  I can't remember exactly why we did that, but we did.  We both hated it!  The biggest problem was that when you needed a television the most - right at the height of a bad storm - we would lose the satellite signal. And you know the kind of storms we have here in the south in the spring time!  And we get lots of rain.  When James Spann is telling you where that tornado is - practically street by street - you want to make sure your TV is ON!  So we got fed up with it, and paid to get out of the contract early.  We went with AT&T U-Verse - mainly because we were offered a "deal."  Well, as it turned out that "deal" ended up quite expensive and never seemed to be the amount we were promised.  The TV was fine; I didn't really have any beef with it - it was just costly.

Several weeks ago, I was in Best Buy and was approached by someone who asked who our TV provider was.  I could see he was a Direct TV salesman, and I told him I was doing just fine with what I had - in fact I had paid to get out of a contract early with his company, and I had no interest in what he offered.  He kind of chuckled and walked off.

Then last weekend we were again in Best Buy.  A Direct TV salesman approached my husband and began to give him "the pitch."  He listened and then brought me into the conversation, but I told the man the reason why we got rid of his company early the last time we had satellite TV.  He assured us that the equipment was all new technology now - that 99% of the time our reception would not go out, and it would be constant in a storm.  When he found our old dish was mounted on a pole, he said that was our problem before - there was too much vibration in a storm.  After all the discounts he would give us, the cost per month was over $100 less than what we were currently paying.  All the added benefits of Direct TV plus the deceased amount each month sounded tempting.  Plus we would get a $150 gift certificate to Best Buy.  I called AT&T, and we were no longer under contract with them, so it would cost us nothing to discontinue service with them.  Of course, they tried to keep us by offering to add channels to our current service AND reduce the amount of our bill for 6 months.  When I asked what it would be AFTER 6 months, of course it was more than what we were paying now.  I promptly told them NO!  So, to save money, we decided to give Direct TV another try.   I told the salesman, "If I get to bad weather season, and our reception goes out, I'm coming back to chew your ear off!" The installation appointment was made for last Tuesday which I had to put off to Thursday due to the doctor's appointment for my knee.

Thursday arrived and the installation tech arrived.  When he looked outside to see that we already had a dish, he told me that the dish we had used previously was the same they use now.  Even the center apparatus was the same as what we had before (i.e. no new technology).  That had been updated about 3 years ago.  The only thing that was updated now is the receivers - the boxes that go in the home.  They are about 3"x4" now.  I told him, "Oh, wait a minute now!  Do you mean to tell me that there is not "new technology" that will give me continuous reception in a storm???!!!"  He said, "No, whatever reception you had before is what you'll have now.  It is like shining a laser at something - if you put a piece of paper in between, you'll cut off the signal.  It is the same way with rain and with cloud density.  That's why we don't like to install them on really cloudy days, because you can't get a real good signal."  When I asked him about it being mounted on a pole, he said the pole we had was solid in cement.  That was not the problem.  AARRGGHH!!!  I said, "So what you are telling me is that lousy salesman just fed me a line?!"  He looked kind of sheepish, hung his head a bit, and said rather softly, "Well.....pretty much. I'm not going to lie to you."   AARRGGHH!!!  I told him to wait a minute - that I had to make a phone call, because we may not even want this!  I called Guy, and furiously told him all the tech had told me.  Guy reminded me that the salesman also told us that even if our TV reception went out, we could stream our local channel over our computers, so we could still get the weather reports as long as we had power.  The tech again told me that if the satellite goes out, there is no streaming over your computer other than through your internet - not the satellite.  Well, there you go....salesman lied again!  Guy and I mulled it over and decided that we would go ahead with it because it was saving us enough money, and we can stream the local channels over our internet, which we are leaving with AT&T (because we don't want the hassle of changing our email addresses everywhere!).  I said, "Well, in two years, we'll probably be ready to change service providers again anyway."  So I went back to the guy and told him to install the equipment.  He did put a new apparatus in the center of the dish since the old one had been sitting out there over two years, and this was a new contract.  We have several months until our main storm season rolls around.  We'll see what happens then.  Actually, Alabama has it's 2nd tornado season in November, so I guess we'll find out then.

As he was installing the equipment, he told me that the TV out on the screened in porch is too old for the connections, so we won't be able to hook that one up.  It was hooked up with AT&T service through a splitter, but splitters don't work with satellite.  Guy sits out there and watches TV a lot in the evenings in the spring, summer and fall.  Oh, more.  The TV we had out there was given to us by our neighbors when they had a garage sale.  Guy put it out there because, if someone came into our backyard and stole it, we wouldn't be out much.  Putting one of our flat screens out there doesn't seem like a wise option.

After all the equipment was installed, the guy said "We've got a bit of a problem.  The activation service is down, so I can't finish my installation.  I've got another install an hour away, so I can't come back after that one to finish here.  When the service comes back up, I'll activate it, call you, and walk you through all the rest of it."  He briefly told me the steps I'd take, and there was no way I could remember those.  But what could I do?  I reluctantly signed his papers, and he left.  And I had no TV.  That was OK because I don't turn the TV on until Jeopardy comes on.  But when it came time to watch Jeopardy, I tried streaming it over my computer - no luck!  :(

Considerable time passed, and I received no call.  I finally called him, and he was just finishing up his last installation, and he was going to call me on his way home to walk me through it.  He walked me through the steps on the main TV, which were numerous.  I then went to the kitchen and activated it, trying desperately to remember all the steps.  Then I did the one in the bedroom, hobbled upstairs to do the ones in the guest room, and in my quilt room.  (I know, we have too many TVs!)  In the meantime, I had to call him back a few times.  When they were all activated, I still had to use one remote to turn the TV on and control the volume, and the new remote to activate the satellite.  When I called him back to ask about that he told me how to program all the remotes.  The one in the living room and kitchen went just fine, but the one in the master bedroom would not program.  I tried about 20 times - until my thumbs were about to fall off.  I called him, and he told me to go do the rest so I was sure I was doing it right and come back to that one last.  I did that, and all the others went fairly smoothly.  The one in the master bedroom was a no-go!  He had me reset the receiver - no-go.  He had me do it a different way - no-go.  He finally said he would call his supervisor to see if he had an install this direction the next day, and he would come by to see what the problem was.  I told him I was sorry.  I had programed all the rest, so I knew that I was doing it correctly!  So I gave up and shut that unit in the bedroom off.  By this time, it was nearly 6:00 pm, and it had taken me nearly 2 hours to hobble all over the house and do this man's job.  Guy had come home, and I had no supper prepared.  (Aw, shucks!  Now we'd have to go out and eat!)  Later in the evening, I went back to the bedroom to try one more time.  I turned the receiver back on and after 3 more tries, it WORKED!!  I called the tech back for the ump-teenth time to say he didn't need to come back after all.

Do I need to tell you I was not a happy camper?  Here this slick, nice-dressed salesman (who, incidentally was training another salesman) had BOLD . FACE . LIED to me, and then I had to do half the install tech man's job.  In the midst of all this Jeannine called me.  When I told her what was going on, she just laughed and told me that I was crazy to believe anything sales people tell you.  And she said, "Good luck with getting the $150 gift certificate!  When we tried to get our $200 one, they told us they didn't know anything about that!"  What has this world come to????   I think it is a crying shame when you have to look at everyone in business as though they are lying to you!!

I will say that once I got everything going, I do believe that the picture on the TV is better.  It is a beautiful crystal clear HD picture!  But, let me tell you....I'm headed for Best Buy the first chance I have to give that sleazy salesman a piece of my mind!  And I hope his little trainee is with him because he needs an ear full, too.  He needs to know that his role model is a leading him down a path he should not be taking.  What I need to do is find out who the salesman's supervisor is and report him. 

OK, now that I've let off all that s.t.e.a.m., I'll move on.  Time to get ready for "the game."  ROLL TIDE!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

More Good News, from Knee Dr.......I think

I went to see a doctor today, fully thinking he was going to tell me I needed a total knee replacement.  4 years ago another orthopedic doctor told me I needed a total knee, but I didn't do it then because I could still get around without a lot of trouble.  Some of my peers told me not to have it until I couldn't walk across the room without pain, or it interfered with things like grocery shopping.  Now I'm at that point.  I just figured 4 yrs later, the knee was surely in worse shape.  After several x-rays, the doctor came in to tell me that I didn't really meet the criteria for a total knee replacement.   I have to say that I was shocked.  He explained the criteria: he said that the x-rays would have to show bone-on-bone pretty much in all areas - I saw my x-rays, and the interior side seemed to be pretty much bone-on-bone, but the outside area showed nice space as well as good space all around the patella (which means there is cartilage in those areas).  I would also need to have severe arthritis.  He felt I was on the borderline between moderate and severe.  I would not be able to straighten my knee completely out, and mine (carefully) would straighten.  (That's because I've been doing PT to get it to do that!)  I would not be able to bend my knee much past a 90-degree angle, and I could bend mine past 45 degrees.  (Again, PT working on that.)  I would also need to have tried all the conservative treatments and failed them - cortisone injections periodically, anti-inflammatory medications, a knee brace, physical therapy.  He said that for people who were borderline needing a total knee ended up with more complications after surgery than those who clearly needed the surgery.  He said he could go in and do a partial knee replacement, but didn't really recommend that either.  He felt that being off the knee for so long (with my foot surgery) and having arthritis all contributed to all the pain I'm having now.  So I went with his recommendation and got a shot in my knee with cortisone and a local anesthetic (oh, how I hate needles in joints!!!!).  He gave me a prescription for Mobic, an NSAID, to take orally to reduce the inflammation.  He didn't want to put me in a brace because he felt it could possibly hinder the continued recovery from the foot surgery and weaken the muscles of the knee I'm trying to build up.  He gave me a prescription to continue physical therapy to concentrate on my knee, and told me to come back in 3-4 weeks. 

So I've got three months until the end of the year to see if this all works.  I'm going to work hard and give it all the work out I can give it.  He said if we can get the inflammation down, I might get 5-10 more years out of it.  It just seems to me that someone in their 60s would tolerate and recover from surgery better than someone in their late 70s.  While I'm not ready to jump into major surgery that is not needed, and do appreciate a surgeon that is not chomping at the bit to cut you with his knife, I'm just skeptical as to how all this conservative treatment will work.  I have so many friends that have had total knees and wondered why in the world they waited so long and have never regretted having them done. 

And then I'm just very concerned about health care in the future for people my age.  Being in this very large group of baby boomers, who are just coming into the stage of our lives when we are going to need more and more health care,  I just think we are going to end up on the short end of the stick, and it just won't be available to us.  I look at my parents and all the things they needed in their old age, and it was all readily available to them, allowing them to live into their 90s in relatively good health, enjoying a good quality of life.  I just don't think those kinds of things will be available to me.  More and more doctors are simply going to stop seeing patients who are on medicare, so you'll not even be able to get the chance to see if some procedure would help you. 

I guess I'm feeling just a little discouraged this evening, because I wanted a definite FIX for this knee.  I was psyched up for it and ready to do it!  That's the kind of person I've always been.  If something is wrong, I've always been the one to find a solution and fix it.  I'm a fixer! I'm not a very patient person, either.  I hit this 4-month "bump in the road" with this foot surgery, and now I'm ready to move on and get back to my usual pace.

I thought about getting a 2nd opinion, but perhaps this is the road the Lord has set out for me right now.  I'll travel it until He turns it a different direction. 

"Lord, help me to accept your road and your time line."

More Gifts.....

58.  The cartilage that my knee does have.

59.  Soft, soft hair of Annie after giving her a bath. (After she rolled in "stink" found in the yard!)

60.  Guy's work being so flexible they told him today he can take off time to go to Kansas.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Some Good News Today

I went for another physical therapy appointment this morning.  Boy, Robert does work you hard!  He repeated some measurements of my foot that he had taken at the beginning, and there was a lot of improvement.  He said my foot was not quite 100% yet, and it would probably not be until I got my knee fixed.  He thought I should continue a little more therapy on the foot, and he's also working on strengthening the muscles around my knee.

This afternoon I went for my orthopedic appointment, and got good news.  He said the foot was doing great!  The x-rays showed it was healing fine, and I could get rid of all my stuff (crutches).  I told him that I thought, even though the foot was still a little tender, I probably could just walk on it without the use of assistance, but I still needed the crutches because of my knee.  I gave him the report Robert had sent with me, and he said that I could probably cut back to once a week on the PT.  He agreed that I needed to see someone about my knee, and he told me I was free to have the knee surgery whenever it could be scheduled. When I asked him, "If your wife were to need her knee replaced, who would you have do it?" he gave me three names.  Then I asked him to choose on of those three.  The doctor he named was the one I was leaning toward, so that seemed to answer my prayer.  In fact he said he would call him right then and set up an appointment for me.  As soon as I got to the car, I called this other doctor and made the appointment for next Monday.  While I was on the phone, I got a call, and when I hung up and listened to my voice mail, it was the nurse saying she had already called, and they would see me tomorrow at 1:00.  So we'll see what he says.  This particular doctor used to be in practice with Dr. Lemack, who is a pretty well known orthopedic surgeon who operates on famous athletes, but went out on his own.  Mark took Dylan to see him when he was having some issues related to soccer, and Mark was very impressed with him.  I'll try to schedule the surgery for November since there is still a possibility that we may go to Kansas for some time in October.

More Gifts....

56.  Bones that heal nicely.

57.  My grandson's 12th birthday.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall is Definitely in the Air

Today is the first day of fall, and I definitely felt it when I opened the door to let Annie out before church this morning.  It was plum cold!!  Well, to me, anyway. 

So many people say that fall is their favorite time of the year.  I don't know.....while the fall foliage is simply spectacular in Alabama, to me there is something kind of sad thinking about the lovely green leaves dying and falling to the ground, leaving the trees to face a bleak winter.  I just don't enjoy seeing naked brown trees, brown grass - brown, brown, brown everywhere.  I guess that must be why I have so few brown pieces of clothing in my wardrobe.  I know most people love the cooler weather.  I'm just not one of them.  Don't get me wrong - I'm not a lover of hot weather, but the cooler temperatures of fall signal that the cold temperatures of winter are not far behind.  I would say that spring is my favorite time of the year because of the birth of "green" and flowers everywhere, BUT that brings on my terrible allergies!  Even though I was tested, I'm not sure what the main culprit is.  It's something when the dogwood trees bloom.  They say people are not generally allergic to dogwoods, but as soon as they pop, I enter the land of misery!!  Last year I escaped it because we spent April in Kansas.  That sounds like a good plan next April, too.

Anyway, if I could just enjoy fall for what it is and not think about what is going to follow it, I would be a lot better off.
Here's the beginning of some trees turning in our backyard.
I liked this pictures because it has the turning leaves, but the rose bush below it is still blooming. (rose is seen to the far left)
We've sure enjoyed the tomatoes from our plants this summer.  As you can see in the background, the bush is about to give it up.  There are a few more on the vines still ripening.  Nothing like a good home-grown, truly vine-ripened tomato!

I guess we should think about trying to have some fried green tomatoes.  Although, I do prefer the red ones.

Guy's little miniature gardens came back this year all on their own and did quite well.

Changing the topic a bit now.  I'm continuing to go to PT twice a week.  I'm not sure how much longer I will do this, since I need to save as many visits as I can for after my knee surgery. My foot seems to be progressing well.  I'm wearing an elastic stocking (because it swells so badly) and tennis shoes and able to navigate with one crutch - unless I'm going to walk a good distance; then I need both crutches.  I think I could just about take right off and walk on this foot (with a little discomfort) if it were not for this pesky knee!!  When I walk, I end up thinking about my knee more than my foot.  I cannot put full pressure on my foot because of my knee hurting - and I can't walk on it straightened out.  My physical therapist says that is good - footwise - because that means the foot is healing. Tomorrow (Monday) I'll be checking back with my orthopedic doctor.  I hope he thinks my foot is healing well enough that I can make an appointment for my knee.  The only reason I've not already seen someone about my knee is that I want to ask him, "If your wife needed her knee replaced, who would you send her to?"  When I get that name, I'm calling immediately to get the appointment set up.  I just think there is going to be a whole rash of people having major surgeries before the end of the year, and I'm so afraid of not being able to get mine scheduled.  Everyone I talk to who has had a knee replacement has said, "Why did I wait so long," or "I've never regretted doing this and would certainly do it again." I just want to get it all behind me, so I can get back on both feet again!

I have this portable wheelchair that I've been using when I really need to hurry in the house (or I'm lazy) or have an armload of things to carry - like laundry, but the back wheels are dry-rotting.  As a result, it leaves little pieces of rubber all over the house, and makes the ride bumpy.  I try not to use it and use the crutches mostly, but sometimes when I'm in the kitchen cooking, crutches really get in the way.  I do walk around the center island a bit with only the assistance of holding onto the cabinets, when I only have to take a few steps.  That's real progress, because I couldn't do that a week ago.  Anyway, I called M.A.S.H last week to see if they could order me some new wheels, and he said he thought he could, but he has not called back.  I ordered the wheelchair from QVC several years ago to transport Mom and Dad to and from places.  It is in great shape and looks brand new, other than the back wheels, and they are just disintegrating. 

Yesterday the neighborhood geese paid us a visit.  There are two of them that have these deformed wings that will not allow them to fly when the others go south for the winter.  One of them stayed here last winter and the other one is a new one this year.  I guess they'll have each other to keep them company.  In the video below you can see one of them coming forward on the left.  Part of the wings just stick straight out.

In our Bible study this week, one set of verses really spoke to me.  Zechariah 9:16-17 The Message says, “And now here’s what I want you to do: Tell the truth, the whole truth, when you speak. Do the right thing by one another, both personally and in your courts. Don’t cook up plans to take unfair advantage of others. Don’t do or say what isn’t so. I hate all that stuff. Keep your lives simple and honest.” Degree of God.

If everyone took these verses to heart, our whole nation would take a 180-degree turn.

More Gifts......

52.  Sunday afternoon naps.

53.  Great friends with which to eat lunch after church.

54.  Times of just sitting in the backyard, drinking in the coziness of it all.

55.  The majesty of beautiful creatures of God - like the geese.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Most Beautiful Day!!!

This morning we awoke to a different feel in the air.  What was that???  Could it be just a hint of fall???  It was great!  We were waiting for the mosquito man to come by to spray, so we can once again enjoy the outside.  We had a particular company come last year, and it seemed to work well, but this year, whatever they were using just didn't work.  I had to call them back during one of the months, and the guy did come and respray without charging us, but it still didn't work.  When he did not come back or call this month, I was glad.  I didn't want to tell him that I didn't want his services anymore.  So I called another company.  He came this morning about the time we were getting ready to leave.  His method was completely different from the other guy.  AND his fee was $15 cheaper!  We were pretty much gone the rest of the day, so tomorrow I'm going to test it out on the backyard patio.

We left about 10:30 to watch our grandson, Chris, play soccer.  I had a birthday card and present to give to him.  I don't know when I've seen a more perfect day!!  The sky was blue, temperatures were in the 70s and there was a slight breeze - absolutely perfect!! It was nice to see the boys again.
 You can see that the place was very handicap friendly, too. I chose to wear my boot and take the wheelchair since I didn't know how far I might have to walk.

This week, I've graduated to a tennis shoe with crutches.  It's still rather painful to take an actual step - to bend my foot, but I keep trying.  I only wear the boot if I'm out and know I'll be doing a good bit of walking.

It was fun (and nerve-racking) to watch the "Game of the Year' - Alabama vs. Texas A&M this afternoon.  We sure started we often do, and then had to place catch-up.  But after we scored 35 unanswered points, they never caught us.  We stayed 2-3 touch-downs ahead until right at the last when we won by 7 points.  Whew!  I like it to be a game, but I like to stay comfortably ahead.  I guess we showed "Johnny Football" tonight, and that's what we wanted to do (or at least I did).  Now maybe the media will shut up a bit about him!!  Our quarterback played one of his best games (and he's a really nice guy, ON and OFF the field).

I spoke with Jeannine this week.  They had purchased several pieces of furniture from Ikea.  The price is right from there, but it comes in boxes, and you have to put it together.  She told me, "If I call home wanting a divorce, don't let me get it!"  :)  It came Thursday, and she had to work yesterday.  She went to work with a migraine (from all the weather fronts blowing through out there), and when she came home, a whole group of their friends had come over to the house earlier and helped Charles put all the furniture together.  She was just overwhelmed!!  That was so nice of them!

Looking forward to Sunday school and church in the morning.

More Gifts......

46.  Beautiful deep blue Alabama skies.

47. A slight breeze in my face and fresh air to breathe.

48.  My grandsons.  They are growing up soooo fast.  Sweet guys.

49.  My son.  He was under the weather today.  Please say a prayer for him.

50.  Jeannine and her family are safe from the Colorado floods.

51.  Having Guy home 4 days in a row again.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lots of Mxed Emotions Today

With this being 9-11, we are all remembering.  I hope we never forget.  I was thinking today about Lori Preziose and her three children.  They would be 14, 20, and 21 now.  I often wonder if she has remarried, and how her children are doing.  I wish I had not lost contact with her.  I prayed for her and her family today.  I went back and reread the article about the quilt I made for her.  I hope it has brought her comfort through the years.

Below is a picture of Mom and Dad in the summer of 1987 when they took a trip to see my sister who was living in New Jersey at the time.  They visited New York City, and you can see the twin towers just to the right of Mom's head. 
I love this picture.  It was two years before I moved to Alabama, and about 8 years before they moved here. I like to remember them this way.  They were so full of life and still got around so easily.  They seemed so young then even though Dad was 73 and Mom 69.  If they could have just stayed that way forever......but time does march on.  It will be a glorious day when I'm reunited with them!

I making some real progress in my walking.  I've gone from wearing the boot and hardly being able to put any weight on it, even with crutches, to being able to take some steps in it without the crutches.  Yesterday I decided I would wear my tennis shoes on both feet and do my standing exercises with the shoes rather than the boot.  Then I got to thinking that perhaps I should first learn to walk with the boot well without crutches before going to the tennis shoes.  But, today, Robert, my physical therapist, told me to go ahead a wear a tennis shoe and use crutches until I feel comfortable going to one crutch and then none.  He had a couple PT students with him today, so he took some extra time with me to teach them.  He had me walk for 5 minutes in my sandals while they evaluated my gate.  If I had known he was going to have me walk me like that, I would have brought the tennis shoes.  Wearing the boot does not allow your foot to bend - only to get used to weight-bearing.  So when I went to the sandal that I took along today (or the tennis shoes yesterday), the discomfort was in the fore foot as I would bend my foot and put pressure on the ball of the foot.  He explained to the students that was most likely because my foot had not been bending for so long and also due to the swelling I have yet.  It feels much like the back part of the foot felt when I first started putting weight on it.  So I'm sure it will just take a little more time before the whole foot feels more comfortable.  I just have to get on both feet soon, so I can get on with this pesky knee.  He's doing a lot of knee exercises with me to get me ready for that surgery.  I've walked so long with that knee bent that the ham strings are shortened, and I've got to get those stretched out.  I can tell when I'm walking that the knee hurts about as much as the foot.  If I'm walking around the house with the boot and no crutches, I have to at least be near something that I can grab onto at any moment, because my knee just gives way without warning.  I think the knee surgery and recovery will be more painful than the foot surgery has been, because you have to get right up on it and start walking and going to PT, but I don't think it will be nearly as prolonged as the foot has been.  With the foot surgery, I had to just stay off of it until it healed.

I was able to go to my quilt guild meeting on Monday.  That was great to be among my quilt buddies again.  The program was given by two of our local guild members who have authored a book on making hexagons by a different method than the traditional English piecing.  It was quite interesting.  The one thing I think I found the most interesting was that one of the ladies had her knee replaced at the end of July!  Here she was standing up there the whole time, and even stepped up and down from the raised platform.  She said she had worked really hard on it, because she is going to quilt market in Houston in October, and knew she had to be up and going well by then.  So that gave me encouragement!

This week someone posted a picture and recipe for funnel cakes.  The first thing I thought of was the Kansas State Fair that I'm missing this week and all the fun I could have had.  I'm just having a hard time accepting the fact that I couldn't go this year when I had planned all along to do so. 
Here is the recipe:
Funnel Cakes

1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ cup all purpose flour or coconut flour to make gluten free ...
2 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
Oil for frying, enough to cover the bottom of the skillet
Powdered sugar for topping

Mix egg and milk. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to milk mixture, beat until smooth.

Preheat oil in fry pan to 375 degrees F.

Pour batter into hot oil with a funnel with a ½ “ or ¾” hole. Let batter drizzle into hot oil. Spiraling to create a circle.

Cook about 1 minute, flip over, cooking both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with fruit preserves while still warm.

More Gifts....
39.  The fond memories of growing up with the Kansas State Fair - went every year, and as an adult went several times each year.  I can close my eyes and smell the hamburgers and onions cooking on the midway.....
40.  Robert, my physical therapist, who is very patient with me, but yet pushes me to do more, and takes extra time with me to get the muscles around my knee ready for the surgery.
41.  The progress being made with my walking.
42.  The opening for Sofia in a charter school that Jeannine very much wanted for her.
43.  Cook's Pest Control who is going to come spray for mosquitoes either Friday or Monday, and hopefully I can get back out in my porch swing and enjoy the fresh air once again.
44.  Getting though the book of Ezekiel, which at the end was very tedious with all those measurements for the Temple.
45.  For God's protection over me as I've been learning to walk again.  Sooooo thankful I've not fallen, and I trust him to keep me from falling the rest of the time.

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm Driving Again!!!! Woo Hoo!!!

Wednesday a dear friend from my Sunday school class took me to physical therapy.  My usual guy, Robert, must have been busy because a lady put me through the paces.  She wasn't quite a vigorous with me as Robert, but she did add some exercises.  I was able to ride the bike for 6 minutes without any problem.  The part that I hate the most - the pressure and cold pack at the end - was not quite so bad today.  They didn't use the electrodes, and she set the pressure a little lower, so I stood it a lot better.  Next time I need to bring a shoe for my other foot as I ride the bike.

Thursday, I really needed to go to the credit union and I had to mail a small package at the UPS office.  I didn't want to ask anyone to take me, so I decided it was time for my "maiden voyage."  The first time in nearly three months!!  I felt confident I could drive with a shoe on my right foot.  So I got the boot on, which is a bit of a chore.  It is large with 2 Velcro flaps and 5 large, long Velcro straps. 

I crutched to the car with my stuff, took off the boot, put on the shoe, drove to the credit union, took off the shoe, put on the boot, crutched in to do my business, crutched to the car, took off the boot, put on the shoe, drove to the UPS office, took off the shoes, put on the boot, crutched into the office to mail my package, crutched back to the car, took off the boot, and put on my shoe.  I thought to myself, "While I'm out, do I just want to get a bit of lunch?"  Naw!  Too much trouble!  So I drove home, took off the shoe, put the boot on and crutched into the house.  Time for a nap!!  But now I'm no longer a prisoner in my home!  I feel like a bird set free!! (Even if it is a major hassle!!)

I've been cutting up shirts this week.

Sometimes as I cut up a shirt, I wonder - who wore this shirt?  What did he look like?  Was he a husband?  Did he have children?  Since it was a nice white shirt, was he a banker, a preacher, a lawyer, or a school principal?  Was he a happy man?  Did he have fun in life?  You just wonder where all this shirt has been!  I'm sure if it could talk, it would tell me a lot of interesting stories.

And speaking of cutting up shirts, I used some of the nice white material from above for this cute little needle minder.
Ever since I got my Bernina 830 LE and have been using the embroidery part of it, I've been using different needles.  In the past, I just used one kind of needle to do all my sewing, but now, sometimes, I need to change to an embroidery needle, or a ballpoint needle for knits, etc.  This always poses a problem - what do you do with the needle you take out?  You need a place to put it until you need it again.  The printing on it is so teeny tiny you have to have 3 magnifying glasses to read it.  When I load a particular needle into the machine, there is a place to tell the machine what type you are using.  So when you take out the needle, you can just look and see what kind it is.  But if you just lay it down somewhere, you have no clue what kind it is the next time you pick it up.  I don't like putting it back into the original container, because you then don't know which ones are used and which are new.  SOOOO, this was my answer!!  It is an in-the-hoop design.  You layer the top fabric, a piece of cotton batting, and a mesh stabilizer in the jumbo hoop and stitch it out.  You then take it out of the hoop, cutting 1/4" around the outside line, cut out a backing, and bind.  It takes about 45 minutes to stitch out.  The binding probably takes the longest - and we quilters know how we all luuuv bindings.  (NOT!)  I found the tutorial in an online Bernina magazine, "Thorough the Needle," issue no. 9.  It gave step by step instructions for making the design using the Bernina software.  BUT, I do not own that software; I have the Floriani design program.  If I had worked really hard I probably could have figured it out, and done it in my software, but I'm not that efficient using it yet.  Somewhere along the way, I found it already designed and available in a file in this large tri-fold size and a smaller single-fold size.  I didn't download the smaller size, because I knew I wanted the larger size.  It came with a page of directions.  Now I'm racking my brain trying to remember where I got the completed design, and for the life of me, I cannot remember!!  ARGH!!  Usually directions will a name or a company listed on them, but this one does not.  I have a quilting/embroidery friend who would like to have the design, and if I had to pay for it, I don't feel like I can pass it along to her.  I'm sure she would be willing to buy it, if I did, but I just cannot remember!!  UGH!  I just hate when my memory fails me, and it happens waaay too often.  Below is a picture of it folded.  I haven't put the snaps on it yet, so a pin is just holding it shut.

Today we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  As we were leaving we had to go around behind the building because there was a bus in our exit area.  As we came from along side the building, I yelled at Guy, "SHE'S NOT GOING TO STOP!!!"  He threw on the brakes as this lady came barreling through the parking lot in front of the restaurant, jammed around the corner in front of us, and NEVER so much as looked our way!!  And we had the right-of-way!  Oh, boy, had I been driving, she would have GOT THE HORN!!  I was going to give the "the eye" as we went by her to turn right, but she was digging in her purse and never looked up.  ARGH!  It was awfully early for the crazies to be out!!

I had another session of PT at 11:00, and I drove myself.  Robert was back.  He put me through the paces and talked with me about some exercises that would strengthen my right leg and knee in preparation for my eventual knee surgery.  They are so good there, and I really appreciated him getting me ready for the knee replacement so I'd have a jump on getting my muscles in shape.

I keep seeing news and FB posts about the Kansas State Fair that opened today.  Guy told me a final "No" the other night on getting to Kansas in time for The Fair.  *sniff*  I know it would be a chore, but I so hoped we could make it this year.  I guess it just wasn't to be.  I know we can plan to go next year, and I'll hopefully be walking on my own, but, at our age, one never knows what will happen in a whole year's time.

More Gifts.....

36.  Able to put more pressure on my foot, and sometimes walk with only one crutch.

37.  Still have not fallen during this recovery - SO thankful!!

38.  Being able to drive again and not having to rely on someone else to take me, although many dear friends have been more than willing.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

Saturday was the LOOONG awaited day - SEC college football!!!  It seems to take so long to roll around each fall.  Of course, we are huge Alabama fans!
I found the cutest applique embroidery pattern over the weekend from .  I'm going to put it on a shirt and, instead of monograming my initials, I'm going to have RTR (Roll Tide Roll) coming out of the trunk.  I'll probably do the body of the elephant in black and white hounds tooth fabric.
We watched football all day long.  Guy wanted to go to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bessemer, so I tagged along, and then we ate lunch at Bright Star.  That is where we started watching the first game.  12 hours later, I was a bit tired, but enjoyed the whole day - especially since our team won!! 
Sunday we enjoyed going to church.  I could not wait to WALK into church (with the help of crutches) - something I had not done for 12 weeks.  I'm sure Guy was happy to not have to haul the wheelchair in and out of the car as well.  It was nice to not have to worry about getting down the somewhat narrow aisles and stashing the wheelchair between the pews.  I was actually able to stand a bit now and then for the singing. 
I'm trying to walk more, using the crutches.  I still cannot put full weight on my foot - just too tender.  I've got to build up the other leg and foot as well, because it gets tired really quickly.  If I need to get around quickly or have to carry a bunch of stuff - like laundry, I'll revert to my portable wheelchair.  It sure is a lot easier using the wheelchair, so I have to force myself to walk with the crutches.  I'm faithfully doing my exercises the PT told me to do, but it sure is slow progress.  I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO DRIVE!!!
I've been working on cutting up my shirts that I got at The Foundry last Thursday.  Here are the piles of lights, mediums, and darks after washing and drying.

I would have had two more in the light pile, but Guy latched onto them.  They were his size and really nice shirts.  I spent much of Saturday during the games cutting.  Here is my stack at the end of the day.

It really takes a good bit of time to cut up one shirt because I first take off the labels with a seam ripper.  Some of these labels are really sewn on there well.  If it is black, and if often is, it is hard to see the thread to stick your seam ripper under.  Next I take off the little buttons if it is a button down collar.  Next I take off the pocket with a seam ripper.  Some come off easily and some not so easily.  Once you get them started, it doesn't take long, but that area at the top of the pocket which is sewn on so the pocket does not come loose, takes some time to get started without ripping a hole in the middle of the front panel.  After that, I go to the collar, then the cuffs of the sleeves.  I don't remove individual buttons (other than the ones that hold the button-down collar).  I just cut the whole strip of the shirt with the buttons intact.  I save that and cut a strip off the sleeve cuff to save those buttons, too.  This way, if you have a shirt with a button missing, and you just can't find one to match, you can replace all the buttons with a matching set saved from the ones you cut off.  I stuff all the fabric with the buttons in old empty Puff's tissue boxes - just because that's what I had on hand.  After that, I cut off the yoke, then the sleeves, removing all the seam allowances.  Then I cut the fronts from the back.  This will yield a good bit of fabric, especially if you can pick up mostly 2X-3X.  I just can't decide how to cut the salvaged fabric.  I know Bonnie Hunter has a plan for the sizes she cuts up, but I'm not that organized, and I generally wait to cut until I know what pattern I want to use and the sizes needed.  Just as sure as I cut them in 1 1/2  and 2 1/2 inch strips, I'd need a 3" square.  It's actually about as much fun cutting them up as it is to make a quilt with them.

Today we took Annie to the vet to get her annual shots and exam.  He said she was very healthy, but just a little on the top end of normal for weight.  She is 17.1 lb and should be about 15.  So we'll have to cut back just a bit on the food - or the treats.  We started out giving her a treat whenever she went out and did her business, but now she just likes to go outside to play and thinks she needs a treat when she comes inside from that.  It's really hard to refuse her when she sits there so patiently, looking at you with those big brown eyes,  anticipating the treat each time.  I remember our last dog, Maggie, learned the go-outside-and-get-a-treat very quickly.  She would beg to go outside, and immediately beg to get back inside so she could beg for a treat.  They are smart little boogers!

More Gifts....

32.  A nice long 4-day weekend for Guy.

33.  Slow progress for my foot.

34.  Trees still green outside my window.

35.  Slightly cooler temperatures.  It has been a really mild summer in the south.  Out highest temperature has been 96, and most days have been in the 80s to low 90s - just my kind of weather!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fun & Not So Fun

Last week my friend Tracy said they would be going shopping one day this week, and did I want to go?  Oh, YES! I can't tell you what that means to me, still not being able to drive and stuck home all week!  It gave me something to look forward to all week.  She and daughter, Courtney, came by to get me yesterday afternoon.  We took a trip to The Foundry.  I had never been before but had heard of it.  Their motto is "Where lives are shapped by the hand of God."  The Foundry is a Christian rescue mission and recovery center, and they have a superthrift outlet center that is the largest thrift store in Alabama.  Their online site says, "What's the secret to our success?  Quality products, low prices and attentive customer service."   I've been to thrift stores before and usually find them very crowded and rather dirty.  Not this place!  It was very clean, and the workers were very friendly and personable.  You seldom find that in any store any more.  It was really a pleasant shopping experience.  I was in my wheelchair since I can't yet stand for long periods of time, and it was easy to get down the nice wide aisles.  I found the prices to be less than the Alabama Thrift Store, too.  I went straight to the large men's shirts.  Where most of the shirts at the ATS are $2.99 and $3.99 and up, here most of them were $1.99 and $2.99 and up.  I found a few for $.99 and some of *them* were even on sale.  One I got for $.40 and another for $.74!  I got all the bags below, and only paid $2.99 for one shirt.  It was a 5X, so I splurged for that one since it had so much fabric in it.  The rest were $.99 and $1.99.

HOWEVER, tonight as I pulled them all out of the bag to wash, I took a look at the receipt and noticed the first shirt listed was $6.99!!  What???  I couldn't believe that.  I just knew they had to have made a mistake.  There was no way I'd pay that much for any shirt.  I went back through all the tags I'd just thrown into the trash, and sure enough - there was a tag for $6.99!!  And I have no idea which shirt it even was.  So all my careful sleuthing for bargains just went out the window paying that much for one shirt.  When I checked out, I noticed the amount was more than it I thought it was going to be, but just figured I got a few more than I thought I had.  Oh, well.  I'll have to be more careful next time.  Any way, it was fun and I came home with a lot of cotton fabric.  Cutting them up will keep me busy for several evenings.

That was the fun was the not so fun part.  It was my first physical therapy visit.  Those people are so nice at Therapy South.  It was all great right up to the last part where they put the electrodes on my foot and then put this wrap on it.  The wrap got VERY cold and VERY tight.  When he took it off, I could then see what was so uncomfortable.  The little plastic pieces that hook to the electrodes were nearly embedded into the swollen part of my ankle.  I hope next time they can somehow put those little plastic pieces on the outside of the wrap.  I remember when I was going to PT back in November, the cold therapy at the end was just the worst

I told Robert about my knee, and how I really needed it replaced.  He agreed that I better get it done before the end of the year.  He said he if I would work really hard on the foot exercises at home, I could come twice a week rather than 3 times, and that would save enough visits for me to come back after the knee surgery since Medicare only pays for X-number of days of PT in one year.  I'm really hoping I can get this done.  I'll bet the surgery schedules will explode during December with everyone trying to get their surgeries done.  I better get mine scheduled way ahead of time.  Robert is going to give me names of good knee doctors since I forgot to ask my doctor who he would recommend.

And speaking of exercises, I bet get started on mine so I can get to bed.

Night all!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some things are easier than others.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I ventured out with my walker and boot into our screened-in porch.  The fresh air felt so good.  The weather has actually been pretty nice this week - little lower humidity.  I sat in my favorite place - my porch swing.  After retiring, I spent most spring and fall mornings out here, because it is just so peaceful.

In previous years, Guy has aways put out hummingbird feeders right at this corner of the porch, and that has been so much fun to watch.  But this year, for some reason, he just didn't want to keep up with them.  I've seen a few, through the kitchen door occasionally, come around that hibiscus plant you can see there at the corner, which at the current time has no blooms on it.

Annie certainly was happy to have me out there.

This morning I was finally able to get a shower and scrub that nasty leg and of mine.  MAN, did that feel good!  When I got out and dried it off, I rolled enough dead skin off that thing, you would have thought someone had crawled into my trash can and died!  And there is still lots to go, but that is for another time.  I lotioned it all up, and let it dry a bit before having to put on the support stocking.  Whew!  That took a good bit of effort - made me break out in a sweat!  But I got it and got all the straps fastened on the boot, and I was ready for the day.

It would sure be a lot easier to just reach for the wheelchair each time I have to get up to do anything.  In some ways it is a lot easier, and certainly a lot faster.  But I'm forcing myself to use the walker or crutches.  I'm trying to figure out what I can use and get the most natural gait with.  Believe it or not, it takes a good bit of concentration to walk as naturally as possible.  I can't put a lot of weight on that foot yet.  I started out with Mom and Dad's old walker.

While it does have wheels on the front, with all the throw rugs we have in the house, you do have to pick it up a lot or the tennis balls on the back roll up the rugs.  I can't seem to get much of a natural gait going with it.  So I asked Guy to get out another walker I had bought Mom - a Rollator.  

This seems to work better, and I can sit on the seat when I'm wearing out - and it doesn't take much!  Wow, I have so little stamina right now.  Discouraging.....

My living room is looking like a physical therapy gym.

I had high hopes of being able to use that rolling knee walker, but my knee just would not tolerate it for long.  With its wide turning radius, it was difficult to maneuver easily in the kitchen.  I hope I can sell it.  The wheelchair is rented, so it will go back soon.  I have a portable wheelchair stored upstairs, that I bought for Mom, but someone either has to push you, or you have to maneuver about using your legs, because the wheels are small.  You can't use your hands to propel yourself.  

I've tried using the crutches a little more now, since getting on my feet.  It seems that they might be the best to use since I seem to have the most natural gait with them.  I just feel a little safer and more stable with the walker. Those crutches also were Mom and Dad's. I knew that keeping all their equipment just might come in handy someday - and I was right!

More Gifts.....

28.  Quiet mornings to sit on the porch and have my devotions.

29.  A sweet soft companion to sit beside me.

30.  Two feet to help me keep my balance when I stand.

31.  Answered prayers.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

FREE! FREE AT LAST - well....almost

Today was my much anticipated day.  I had my orthopedic doctor's appointment at 9:00.  All week I've been dreaming about what it was going to be like out of this cast and in a boot.  And then I would catch myself and say, "No, don't get your hopes up.  It just may not occur.  You have to be prepared in case you come home with a cast."  So it has been a roller coaster week of emotions for me.  As I was sitting in the waiting room, I found myself starting to get anxious.  I checked FB, several times, just to pass the time and try not to think about it.  FINALLY, they called me back.  A man came into to remove the cast.  It is such a weird feeling when that cast comes off.  You feel like your leg is going to fall apart.  The first thing I did was set about trying to remove some of that dead skin and scratch the itch!  He told me "those wipes there are to use on the leg when the cast comes off."  So after he left the room, I set about wiping and wiping.  That didn't remove much dead skin, so I opened another container and sneaked out some gauze.  That was a little rougher, and did a better job. 

You just can't imagine how good it feels to scratch/rub a leg that's been in a cast for 10 weeks!!  Every inch of your skin itches.  I felt around on the bottom of my foot, and the only place that was fairly tender was right in the pad of the heel.  That made me wonder how it was going to feel when I started walking on it. I noticed that the right leg has shrunk, too

You can see how much more swollen one is, too. 

I wonder if there is any hope for this heel. 

It seemed forever before they took me to x-ray.  Shortly after I got back to my room, a lady doctor came in and introduced herself to me - can't remember her name, but she gave me the good news!  It was healing well, and someone would be in shortly to put on my boot.  WOOOO HOOOO!!  It was really happening!!!!  No . more . cast!!!!  I was having such a hard time containing myself, it was really hard to hear anything else she was saying.  I asked her about physical therapy, and she said I wouldn't really need it. She said not to worry about all this dead skin and not to try to take it all off at once, because it could cause an infection. In about a week of showering and applying lotion, it should a come off. 
And then she left!

Hmmmm......wonder what kind of scar this is going to leave.  It looks worse because it still has their purple making pen on it.

 Then Dr. Krauss came in.  He said it was doing well, and I would be in the boot for three weeks.  If at the end of 2, I was doing well, I could go into a tennis shoe.  He told me I should begin PT right away.  I told him what the other doctor had said, and he said, "No, I want you to have PT.  You'll just recover faster if you do."  Then he said, "When you go to PT, make sure they only move your foot up and down, not rolling side to side.  If they start to move to wrongly, you tell them to STOP and call me!"  He was very emphatic about that!  I assured him, I'd follow those directions.  He said to come back to see him in 3 weeks.  I told him that we might be going to Kansas for an extended time, and he said that was OK; I could do PT there.  I was to not walk without the boot for these 3 weeks.  I can shower and sleep without the boot. That will be so freeing to turn over in the night without lugging that cast over the pillow between by knees.  He moved my foot up and down, and pushed here and there.  It was kind of tender along the outside of the foot but he said everything looked good.

Shortly after that, the cast man came in with this big black boot, putting all the many straps together.  He said that I was to wear this white support stocking during the day, putting it on first thing in the morning, to keep the swelling down.  There was an extra sock so I could wear one and wash one.  He then showed me the best way to get the stocking on.  It is hardest to get over the heel.  I was kind of afraid it was going to hurt, but he seemed to put it on so easily.  I've worn support hose before, but they were very heavy and very tight, so maybe these won't be as hard to get on.  He asked me if Dr. Krauss had told me I could not drive.  I told him, "No.  I thought maybe I would be able to drive with my left foot."  He said, "It doesn't matter what foot you use.  If you drive with a boot on and have a car accident, your insurance is no good."  YIKES!  I did not know that!!  Here I was planning to drive to my PT appointments.  Now, that complicated matters.  Well, that's just something I'll have to work out.  He got the boot on and told me I should just go back to the wheelchair here in the office and wait to try it all out when I got home in familiar territory.

I went to the front office to make my appointment and pick up the prescription for PT, and then we took off.  Leisa was nearly as happy for me as I was.  She's been in my position with a broken foot before.

As we started to leave the parking deck, I suddenly remember a very important question I was going to ask Dr. Krauss - if your wife needed to have her knee replaced, who would you send her to?  RATS!  I really wanted to ask him that!  I was just so excited to get rid of the cast, everything else went out the window!  I must remember to ask him when I go back.

As Leisa dropped me off at my house, she said to call her for help getting to PT; she would be happy to help.  I told her that between her and my neighbor, we could probably work it out.  My neighbor, Angie, has repeated told me that she would help get me to PT.  Angie works at a preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I called to ask her what hours would be best for her on Mondays or Wednesdays.  She seemed just tickled to help.  Maybe if Leisa can take me one day, and Angie can take me the other day, then Guy can take me on Fridays.  I have to go 3 times a week for 4 weeks.  I then called Therapy South, where I went before with my foot, and they are going to try to get me started on Friday.  She said she would have to move some around and would let me know.  If I didn't get started Friday, I could start on Monday.  I would like to get as many times in here as possible if we do go to Kansas.  It will all depend on how I get along.

After I got in the house, I got Mom and Dad's walker that I had, and tried my new wings.  It was not all that easy!  I can see that I'll definitely need the assistance of the walker for awhile.  It's fairly tender along the outside of my foot, and that is the part that I'm walking on since I no longer walk on a(flattened) arch. 

The other issue is my knee!  I can't walk with it straightened out, and I found that it was subject to buckle on me at any moment.  If only.....if knee was OK.  Oh, well, I just have to deal with it.  I found I had to resort to my wheelchair while getting supper since I can't stand for very long yet.  But it feels so much more stable standing when I have both feet on the ground!  Just very thankful for this day!

More Gifts....

23.  NO CAST!!!!

24.  Healing bones!

25.  Sweet, sweet friends that messaged me early this morning to let me know they were praying for me.

26.  Dear friends that are so willing to help in any way they can.

27.  Safety and protection over my grandsons during their soccer games.  One of Dylan's teammates, right in front of Dylan, went down going after a ball and suffered a compound fracture of his leg - 2 plates and pins.  Praying for this youngster - and his dad who was sitting right next to Mark.