Sunday, August 31, 2014

Some things pretty much have to wait

I've figured out how to accomplish many tasks while I am recuperating, but there are a few things that are very tricky.
Washing clothes and getting them back into the closet is a major pain.  
I bought a cart that I can use to get the basket of clothes to the laundry room, but then the rest is pretty difficult.  I've decided that washing just a few things at a time might be better.  
I'll see how that goes.

I thought emptying the dishwasher would be hard, 
but it's actually pretty easy the way my kitchen is set up.

Sleeping is a struggle.  
But, there are some good nights and I can always nap in the recliner later.

Hauling the full trash barrels to the bottom of the driveway, impossible, 
I have to have someone do that for me.  
Hauling the empty barrels back up to the garage is very easy as they roll real nice on the pavement.

Cooking goes better than I expected, and with my carry bag on the front of the scooter, I can transport my drinks pretty safely and with minimal spillage.

Showering is working out well with the chair and hand held shower that I had for Dad.

But photography is almost impossible.  
I need two hands for the camera, so unless I am sitting down somewhere, I'm not able to take any photos.  Carrying the camera while I am on the scooter is not easy and so, 
I probably won't take very many, if any, photos until I am on two feet again.

I did snap a couple from my perch on the deck yesterday, as you can see, 
Fall is coming.
The impatiens are still blooming nicely as the sunflowers show their flowers

A few sunflowers were planted in the Spring, and they are starting to bloom.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Whatta circus!

I did not sleep very well last night, so after having my cereal at about 7, I got a blanket and took off the front of my boot, got a pillow under my leg, covered up and started to watch HGTV. 
The next thing I know the doorbell rings.
I was really out of it, but I looked at the clock and saw it was mailman time. 
So, I snap down the recliner footrest, the boot flies off my leg, and that certainly surprised me & woke me up!

Of course, for a groggy instant, I had given no thought to the fact I had taken off the front half of the boot when I settled into the chair.  So, I grabbed that, put it back on and scrambled to find the top, got it on, secured the straps, reached for my scooter and pulledit close enough to get up and finally started to the door. 
I had set my cereal bowl on the floor near the recliner so my kitties could have the leftover milk, so of course,  I ran over the spoon with the scooter, it flipped into the air.  Geesh!

Finally, I get safely rolling and, bless his heart, when I FINALLY got there, my verrrry patient mailman was still standing at the door with a package!!

What a three ring circus!

I learned a lesson about napping with the cast not strapped on, but since there is a bulky bandage around my ankle, no harm done. 

But it really made me laugh afterwards. It would have been quite a sight to see me as I was fumbling around!

The package was filled with home made cookies and bars from Colorado pal LeAnna.  She also sent an old cookbook that had belonged to her Aunt Lois. It was a wonderful surprise and the circus of getting to the door is still making me chuckle!

Here is the card LeAnna sent.  I love it, and think I might show it to my surgeon.

Happy Friday!

Wanda Johansen
from my Note II

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Captivity: Day 7

Today is 1 week since the surgery to fuse my ankle.
So, on the plus side:
No post surgical pain, seriously, none.  I'm not sure why, but I"m happy.
Things like shower and kitchen duties are getting a little easier.
Friends and family have been helpful and concerned.
But, on the down side:
Sleeping is a challenge.  My leg gets hot inside the boot, and at night, everything is worse.
The boot is awkward sometimes.
6 weeks is a long time.
When I was in the recovery room, my ankle surgeon came by to me that my surgery had gone very well.  He said it was 'textbook' and took less time than what was planned.
I was home in my recliner relaxing by mid afternoon.
The boot

I quickly learned that the plastic boot is hot and when safe, I need to get some air to my leg.

So, lifting the top off the boot helps cool down my leg and foot.
The dressing is almost like a fiberglass cast, very firm and holds the ankle in place.
But the boot is mostly plastic & rubber, and that is not so good on skin.

Like I said, sleeping is tricky.
The boot is bulky and must be kept on at night & it is best to have it elevated as well.
My night nurse, Hops, was very concerned and out of character, spent the night on the bed with me.

My mailbox has been busy with many get well cards from friends and family.
The bridge group sent over a card and a gift that they knew I would appreciate!

I also received my parking sticker, this will be very handy once I decide I need to drive somewhere.

My friend, Carol, has been a trooper.  She drove me to Eau Claire on surgery day and has made several stops to check on me, and to bring in my mail and do some other chores for me.

I've been able to do everything in the house, but getting down the front steps with the scooter has been something I wasn't sure about.  I thought I COULD do it with my stool to sit on, but the scooter is heavy and awkward, so I had not tried it.

Tuesday morning, I had my first scooter accident.  I tipped it when I was getting out of bed.  I don't think I injured the healing leg, but it did touch down a little.  Mostly, it taught me a lesson about how I have to get on and off the scooter.
No one really gives you any instruction on this scooter and there really isn't any instruction guide.  I picked it up from the Medical Supply rental and they had me kneel on it and sent me on my way.
I can see now, that you MUST put one hand on the knee cushion and one hand on the handle bars.  Two hands on the handle bars just tips the bike over.
I'm going to write something on the survey I get from the Clinic about this.  Both scooter and crutches were given to me and I was to figure the rest out on my own.

Anyway, Tuesday was a nice day, and I had it in my head that it might be easier to take the scooter down the 3 steps off the back deck onto the grass, then cross the yard on the scooter and take it down the 3 stone steps down to the sidewalk & driveway.
So, I gave it a try.
I made it safely, but it was not very easy, and I knew it was too risky to have that as my main access to the driveway and garage.

While I was out there on the driveway, I did discover that I could easily pull my trash cans back up the driveway while on the scooter.  The cans roll easily when empty.  So, I felt pretty proud that I was able to put them away on my own.
I got my mail out of the mailbox too.

I also picked some tomatoes and zucchini off my plants.
But then had to make the trip back the way I came and that convinced me that I needed a new plan.

Carol stopped by for a visit and I was telling her that I needed a pulley system on the front porch to help move my scooter up and down the steps.
I had a basic idea and then I called brother Glenn.
As luck would have it, he was at his lake cottage, not too far away and was willing to come to my house and rig up something to help me.
We discussed what I needed and while we were on the phone, he was finding the necessary hardware and rope in his tool box.

When I had Ronnie build me new entry way, I wanted extra wide steps and now I am so glad.
I cut down a stool to the right height that I can either kneel or sit on it to go up and down the steps.

Here is the how the 'Scooter Mover' works.

I'll show you going up the steps, but it works just the same coming down.
Glenn took some photos on my first try and my second attempt was even smoother.

First, I have to move the stool to the first step.

I get my butt on the stool and then I can move the scooter into potistion.
First, I hook the tow rope to the handle bars of the scooter and then move the scooter wheels up on the first step.

Holding the rope so that the scooter does not move, I move myself up 2 steps.

Once, I'm up then I pull the scooter up and once again use the tow rope to keep it from  moving.

I get myself up to the top step and then pull the scooter up.
I tie off the tow rope so it is there when I need it to go back down.
Then I just have to move the stool into the house.
So, it's a process, but it is safe and pretty easy too.
At first I was trying to pull the scooter with the rope, but that was too crazy.
Moving the scooter and then using the rope to keep it stable was the real key to using the steps safely.

So, Glenn really helped me be mobile, it's not really captivity anymore.
It's a funny thing that knowing I couldn't leave the house made me a little crazy, but now knowing that I can leave the house, I'm not really all that worried about going out.

Eventually I'll want to drive to the grocery and doctor, and now I'm all set.

While we were outside, the neighborhood cat, Sapphire, strolled by.
She successfully hunts in my yard often.
I've seen her catch and eat several little rodents.
A pretty cat, and I always shoo her and send her home.
But, she kind of liked Glenn and even let him pick her up.
Sapphire flirting with Glenn

So, now I'm looking at the start of Week 2.
Hopefully, it will go fast.  
I'll have a doctor's appointment at the start of Week 3 to get an update on my progress.
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just For Men

Last weekend, I drove to Iowa on Thursday and stayed overnight.
The next day, I drove Dad to Baldwin Wisconsin for a day of poker playing with his sons and grandsons.
We went a day early so that we could be checked in Friday night and Dad could get rested up for the Saturday gathering of his sons, & grandsons.
We took the back-roads on our trek to Baldwin.  Since we were not in any rush, why not.
It was a perfect day for a drive, sunshine and puffy clouds.
Our stop in Rose Creek included some ice cream, coffee, and a fun visit with the proprietor of a place that I think might be perfect for a quilt retreat.
Our route North
It was a unexpected to see Andy and Alyxis show up while Dad and I were eating supper in Baldwin at the Phoenix Grill.  A very nice surprise.
Valdemar and Alyxis
Great Grandpa & Great Granddaughter
Saturday was a lazy day.  Dad and I took a drive to see the country side around Baldwin.
The little town of Woodville had a little festival going on called UFF DA Days.
A few folks selling their wares on main street and a few antique tractors.
After lunch, Dad had a nap, and then the hunters started to roll in.

This was a men only day, but I begged my way in to take a few quick photos.
They even let me roll some dice, of course
I had to borrow my ante money, but then I won enough to pay them back, with interest.

My roll in the 6-5-4 game.
It was a winner!
Kyle presented Valdemar with a special bottle to mark the occasion.
Did you know that Brandy is a health drink?
Kyle, Andy, Gus, Kris & Valdemar & the bottle
Valdemar and the special jug

Dad's jug

The Korbel, Valdemar & Kyle
The game went on well into the night, I enjoyed by time in the Jacuzzi tub in my room with a cold beverage.
Sunday morning most had to get on their way, 
but Kyle, Gus, Dana, Jake & I had brunch at The Orchard Restaurant in Baldwin.
I sat next to Jake while we ate.
He's a talker.  He's six.
I asked him the name of his teacher for Kindergarten this year.
He explained to me that her name had been one thing but now was another because she had gotten married.
Then Jake told me that when he grows up, and gets married, his name is going to be Ha Ha Clinton Dix.
(I think this will take some getting used to, but he seemed pretty definite about his plan.)

Dad and I took our time getting back to Iowa, although we took a more direct route, crossing the Mississippi at Red Wing again and enjoying the drive.
I returned the Patriarch to Ev tired but in one piece.
I stayed overnight in Garner again and then headed back to Wisconsin on Monday.

My trip back went through Rochester, MN, where I had lunch with a Coors friend Ann Fahy Gust.
I stood up for Ann in her wedding to Mike Fahy and I worked with both Ann & Mike off and on for years at Coors before she went off to be a global brewer.
Mike is gone, he died too young, but he would be proud of his two children who are on their way to be very successful too.  Conor already is a brewer and Caity is working on her nursing degree.
It was a good visit and we caught up on our lives after Coors.

I got home Monday night, tired but delighted to have had such a fun trip.
The timing was perfect.
I hope we can do it all again next year.
And now, the ode.

Ode to The Johansen Hunters

The plan was hatched during a summer day,
The old hunting group to gather, poker to play.
Like in days of old at the Ol’ Line Hunting shack,
Laugh and lie and play cards, drink & eat a snack.

Kris was the organizer, who got all to commit to the date,
Wanda was the transportation, to make sure the patriarch wasn’t late.
So, we gathered in Baldwin, at the AmericInn, one and all,
The girls weren’t invited, as this was ‘just the men’ you’ll recall.

Kyle and Gus arrived from Luck with ribs and snacks and other stuff,
Kris from Alma, made sure all was in order, and it was, sure enough.
Dana had to work late, so he arrived after a long day cranking the wheel,
Ryan, slipped out of camp in Shell Lake, to make sure he didn’t miss this deal.

Andy and Glenn from Spring Valley came ready to play,
But no one was more ready than Valdemar on that Saturday.
Dressed in his orange gear, toting a money bag big enough for ‘the pile’,
Grandpa – Dad –Valdemar made everyone smile.

A group photo was taken, and then I left them alone,
After that, what happened? Only to those who were there, is that known.
But the cards were dealt and bets were laid,
An afternoon and evening of fun, and memories were made.

Dana, Andy, Ryan, Kris, Kyle
Glenn, Valdemar, Ralph
The Johansen Hunters

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ode to surgery

It is the night before surgery
And I'm ready to go.
The cupboards & freezer are full
I'm ready to be taking it slow.

Nothing to eat after midnight
No coffee in the morning either, an empty stomach is the point.
Then off to Eau Claire Marshfield Clinic
Where a good doctor and his team will fix up my achy ankle joint.

It'll be good to have it done
And to be back home to rest.
So many offers to help and good wishes,
My family and friends are the best.

I checked the trail cams today
For the next six weeks they will be out of reach.
I found a picture of a nice doe who strolls through most nights
She looks like a real peach.

I have lots of photos to post from last weekend
The family men gathered to play poker all day & into the night.
I drove round trip to Iowa twice to get Dad, the miles flew as we chatted
A good time was had by all, and in a few days, a little story I will write.

Friday, August 15, 2014

It seems like a dream

I've been retired 6 years, but sometimes it feels like my Coors life happened to someone else.
A friend asked if I had a picture of a few of us that worked together and I found this golf outing shot.
This was a golf day not long before I left Colorado to move to Wisconsin.
Good friends who worked together and had fun together.
Great Beer.
It was a winning combination!
John Mueller-ret, Rick Paine-ret, Mike Murphy-ret, Wanda Johansen-ret, Mark Dujardin, Al Ramirez, Peter Coors
When this photo was taken, I was the only retiree, now 3 others have joined me.
Those folks back at the brewery have to be sure to keep the beer quality high and sales volumes up, we retirees are counting on them!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Practicing pays

I've been planning to have surgery on my ankle for a few weeks now.  
For many years I've had pain and problems with my left ankle as a result of a wicked ski accident when I was 17.  I've been wearing a variety of different ankle braces for years, and that used to give me some relief.  But, now, the cartilage is gone and the bone on bone thing is just no good.  The past 2 years have been pretty brutal and I find myself not doing things to avoid the ankle pain.  

Recently I was referred to a doctor in Eau Claire who is Podiatrist & an ankle specialist.  He has suggested an ankle fusion to repair the ankle for good.  Ankle fusion is an arthroscopic procedure of putting screws through the bottom of the fibula into the talus.  This fuses the ankle joint.  I already have lost most of the movement in the joint, so I should not see much change in my step.

So, I'm going ahead with this plan on August 20th.  

The recovery includes 8 weeks in a boot, for 6 weeks I will not be able to put any weight on it.  I'll be using crutches and/or a knee scooter.  I'll be able to drive but my plan is to stay close to home.

So, I've been practicing.  I picked up the rental knee scooter early and I've been riding it around the house.  What a wonderful invention for folks who have injuries below the knee!
This thing 'wants' to roll!  I can fly down the hallway on the vinyl.  Of course, once I have a boot on my leg, I'll be taking it pretty easy.  But, the scooter really will make my recovery a breeze.  I can safely and easily get into the shower and any place else I need to go.

Getting up and down the steps to get in the house was of some concern, so I cut down a stool to the right height and now I can kneel on it & move it up and down the steps as I go.  Or I can sit on if I want to do the steps that way.
Being able to kneel and use the hand railing provides a totally stable set up for maneuvering the steps.

So, I've practiced everything I can think of, I think I'm ready.
I'll be sticking close to home for at least 2 weeks after the surgery and likely more, so I've also filled the freezer with some good homemade soups and I've piled up a few books to read, both on my Kindle and on the coffee table.

If the weather is nice, I can be out on the back deck relaxing while my ankle is healing.
If the weather is bad, I've put a riser on my recliner for easy in and out.

Practice make perfect, so I hope it's a perfect 6 weeks for me.

Getting ready for this surgery has given me a chance to review my vulnerability and to think about my future ability to continue to live alone.  Without any family in town who might be somewhat 'obligated' to help, it requires planning ahead and considering the consequences of becoming dependent on someone to help with daily living.
It's not something to dwell on, but planning ahead for my future, to continue to live as independently as I am accustomed, is important.
I confident that having a repaired ankle with give me many, many years of good mobility, but as we are reminded almost daily, these human bodies are susceptible to disease and breakdown, so planning ahead is rarely a waste of time.
I do not regret choosing to live in Rice Lake, a bit of a distance from all family, but it does mean that I have to continue to think for the future and make the right choices from year to year.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fish Lake wiithout the fish

On Saturday I made it to the Crex Meadows Visitor Center for the monthly meeting of the photo club.  It's fun to see my photos on the big screen and I always learn something from the critique of my photos and the photos taken by the other members.

After lunch, my friend Kathy and I went in search of an endangered butterfly, the Blue Karner.  We spent a couple of hours out in the Fish Lake Wildlife Area.

Kathy, in search of ?

Blue Karner, endangered in the state of Wisconsin

About the size of a dime in real life

Remote and beautiful.

Viceroy butterfly

Monarch butterfly

We spooked a couple of Sandhill Cranes as we got out of the car.

Always one of my favorite, the swans.

The swan was not that interested in hanging out by us.

It was a good day behind the lens.
I wasn't as pleased with my photos as I would have liked to have been, but one of my settings was wrong, so I learned a lesson about double checking my equipment.

I didn't see any fish, but I liked what I saw in the Fish Lake Wildlife Area.


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