When I wrote to you last, we were in the mad scramble to get the master bathroom in working order so that I would no longer have to go to the barn to shower. I didn’t mind it, though I really was looking forward to having a toilet, shower and sink just a few steps away from my bed, but it was going to be very difficult for me to get down the steps of our wooden front porch and across the way into the barn to shower after my foot/ankle surgery.
The wonderful men in our church did an excellent job of getting the major bones of the bathroom in place. We just needed to make some completions. As usual, something always comes up to impede progress and this time the flu came through. Tom was sick first, then I managed to catch it. Lots of coughing and fatigue kept us from getting much done, but we did manage to get the shower and toilet functional before the surgery. That was a relief.
While we were recovering from the flu, my youngest granddaughter, Ivy, got very sick herself. Her mother took her to the minor emergency clinic to be told that the toddler had a stomach virus and to let it take its course. The next day, Ivy was so weak, she couldn’t stand up, so they took her to the emergency room. She was diagnosed with a double ear infection and given IV fluids and antibiotics before being sent home. The day after that, they returned again to the emergency room where the baby was diagnosed with strep throat and given more IV fluids. Poor baby had a really rough time. She’s much better now and we are all grateful.
On December 13, the weather was beautiful and I decided to spend some time working outside while I could. I took my scythe and did some clearing around the tomato cages we use to protect some patches of asparagus. It was wonderful to be in the sun and get some work done. I posted the video “I Forgot to Plant My Garlic” a couple of days later. It can be seen here:
Kinzie’s basketball season was in full swing before the Christmas break and I had scheduled my surgery the day after her last game of the “year.” December 19, Tom and I got up early in the morning to get the chores done before driving to South Tulsa. Two bone spurs and a calcified knot were removed from my left foot. To do this, the surgeon had to partially disconnect my Achilles tendon. The surgery went well and I was soon on my way home. I did fall up the steps on my crutches and jammed my big toe in the process. The leg was numb with a nerve block so I didn’t feel it, but it looked like a might lose my toe nail on that foot. I slept a lot for two days, then we returned to have my surgical wrap removed and a cast put on. I chose hot pink.
A wonderful friend loaned me a knee scooter. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was scooting around at home and at church. I looked for someone to race me on the scooter, but it didn’t happen. I did manage to fall a few more times, but I was getting the hang of maneuvering around on one foot. Before long, I was able to either scoot on my butt or crawl up and down the steps. I did not fare well with crutches on the steps and it was really stressing Tom out. He took a couple of weeks off to care for me and for the farm animals. The day after Christmas, I bundled up and ventured out to the barn. My closet is still out there and I was trying to take some of the tasks off Tom. By the time I got to the barn on my crutches, I was exhausted. It took me a long time to get back up to the house and into my recliner. I was definitely glad for the now functional bathroom. I was disappointed though at my lack of stamina. I really expected to take a week to recover enough to participate in chores and be more useful around the house. The best I could do was cook dinner in the evenings and I found that as truly exhausting. I had lots of footage and podcasts lined up to produce while I was down and I just couldn’t get enough energy to get much accomplished. I watched a lot of football. It’s a good thing I like football.
I did manage to get the video “I Had to Get Help” edited and posted.
All the while that I was lying around watching football, my brother in Florida has been struggling with a series of family crises. Dad is declining and has developed some serious dementia issues. While in the hospital, he began to believe that my brother was stealing Mom and was going to run off with her and marry her. Furious with my brother, he has accused him of several things. That’s been hard on my brother. He and Dad have always had a close relationship and it has been difficult to watch a peaceful, loving man become vehemently angry and even a little violent. This has sent my mother into a deep depression and she has decided that she no longer needs any of her medications. When Mom and Dad are not in the hospital or a rehab center, they live with my brother and his family. He is having to make some tough decisions and I support him completely.
Finally, on January 4, I was strong enough and the weather cooperated and I was able to venture outside to help with the chores. I tied a rope around my waist and then to a wagon and was able to take feed to all the animals. I couldn’t check eggs or do any watering, but I felt good with what I was able to get done. And then recovered the rest of the evening in my recliner. Ugh! I did manage to record and post Episode 52: Surgery Prep and Recovery the podcast.
After the new year, basketball games restarted in full swing. I relied heavily on that knee scooter and have been very grateful for it. To go to a basketball game, I shoved my crutches down the front porch steps, then carefully scooted myself and the knee scooter down. I then loaded the scooter into the trunk of the car and crutch-ed to the drivers seat. At the games, I scooted on my butt to the level I wanted to be on to watch and record the games, dragging the scooter up and down the steps with me.
After getting home from one game, I was standing too close to the back of the car when trying to open the hatch to get to the scooter. I leaned away from the car, hoping it would be enough to get the hatch open, but I lost my balance. I hopped around on one foot several times before finally falling about ten feet from the car in the gravel driveway. This fall hurt. I had fallen sideways and I’m old enough to feel the many old joints that were jarred as I crashed to the ground. My exposed big toe on my injured foot dug into the driveway and Tom had to dig bits of gravel out for me when he got home from work.
I laid in the driveway for a moment, assessing any injuries, then had to start thinking about how I was going to get back up again. I certainly did not want to crawl in the gravel on my hands and knees back to the car to pull myself up. Luckily, one of the crutches took the trip with me and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could pull myself up pretty easily. Another good things was the snow that had fallen that morning was already gone by noon and was one less thing to wrestle with on the ground.
That same day, both my livestock guardian dogs came home injured. It appeared that they had squared off with some coyotes. Poor Candy had a nasty cut on her snout and limped on left front foot. Beethoven had a small cut on his snout and limped on his rear left leg. They laid around for several days recovering. I’m very proud of my big dogs and love them very much.
By now, it has been about three weeks since my surgery and I am getting a little restless lying around the house. I pruned and watered the house plants and dug out seeds that I want to get started soon. I also put some apple seeds I had been saving in the refrigerator for several months in a paper towel to test them. It was good to do something that go me thinking about spring.
The next day, it was cold and windy, snowing in the morning, though most of it melted later. That is typical of weather in Oklahoma. I did manage to post a short video of some chicks in the brooder shed that I had filmed several months ago. “I Don’t Have Anything!” can be seen here.
Just before the weather was supposed to get really cold and snowy, Kinzie’s car broke down and we had to put it in the shop for a few days. With her busy schedule, it was a little difficult to keep us all going in our own directions but I still was able to get straw and other animal supplies together before the extreme cold weather hit. After the preparations, it wasn’t so bad as I really didn’t want to get out in it anyway. Then the real cold hit. The lowest temperature I recorded was negative six with a wind chill of negative 18 degrees. Tom braved the weather twice a day to care for the animals, making sure they had feed and water. The eggs froze and cracked so the pigs got extra protein and calcium on those days. Most of the animals fared okay, except the heritage turkeys. My tom turkey started looking rough and after about three days finally died. One of the hens of the breeding trio also died. I now have one turkey hen that I am trying to decide what to do with. With these deaths, I began to wonder if I should just sell the animals. With me out of commission, it was a load on Tom. My energy is flagging and I wonder how much longer I can do this kind of work. I’ll have to spend some time truly evaluating this issue.
Even though the bathroom is up and running, it is not finished. On one of the cold days, Tom finally finished gluing down the flooring. The room still needs trim, two light fixtures and a light switch. Still, I am really grateful that I did not have to go all the way out to the barn to shower in that weather sporting a cast on my foot.
I am saddened to say that I did not get nearly as much work done as I had wanted to regarding video and podcast production, and writing. I slept a lot. Whether I liked it or not. Apparently, that was part of the healing process. I did manage to post a video and a podcast regarding my word of the year. The video can be seen here.
After a month in a cast, I then graduated to a boot. I knew that it would have its drawbacks too but I was still so very glad to be able to take off the boot, especially to sleep. I slept like a rock that first night. I was able to sleep good while wearing the cast, but there is nothing like a bare foot and leg to get comfortable. Now, it was time to learn how to maneuver in the boot. My left knee was incredibly relieved to get off the scooter but I couldn’t put full weight on my foot, even in the boot. I soon discovered that one crutch worked just fine. Another step to mobility!
The day before my first physical therapy session, we had an ice storm. We did not lose electricity and I am so very grateful for that. There was no way I could go outside at all in a boot and on a crutch. The wooden steps, even with salt thrown down were treacherous. Our whole property was one huge ice rink. The ice was not melted the next day, but we managed to get me loaded into the car to get to physical therapy. The closer we got to town, the better the roads got.
The next day, I felt so good, I removed all the old staples and nails from the old wall outside our bathroom in preparation of putting up the new wall panels. The ice had melted and I was able to help with the chores a little too. Even though the weather was cold, cloudy and very foggy, I was grateful to be able to to be a little productive outside. I am walking some without a crutch by now and that made things even easier.
After several days of cloudy, foggy weather, the sun came out! Glorious! So very grateful to be able to be out in the sun a little. Over the next few days, I did a little scything to give my animals some grass and get out of the mud. I even took Roger, the rabbit out of the barn and set him up where he can enjoy the sunny, cool weather. Today, I worked to clean up a little in the barn. Apparently, I’m pushing myself too hard and my foot is swollen and painful in the evening. That’s discouraging but I am so very happy to be able to do the work I love again, even if it is in small bites each day before I run out of steam and come in to put my foot up in my recliner.
I am grateful that I had the surgery and also grateful that recovery is going well. I am certainly looking forward to being able to get fully into the work I love. Spring is on the way and I want to be ready for it!