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Posts Tagged ‘BigFoot’

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Yesterday I actually drove to downtown Lexington, Virginia all by myself. I parked in a nicely arranged parking lot with stairs at the end, and went for a walk. And then I climbed up one stair and back down and then two stairs and down and then THREE steps up and down.

Talk about self congratulatory pride! I felt like Rocky!

And then I walked on level ground for about 20 more minutes.

HURRAH!

Big Foot complained a bit but we managed to ignore all that. “I am woman. I am strong. I am invincible!”

Of course walking in a parking lot is not too exciting. There are certainly not many photo ops, but the sun was shining yesterday with a cool little nip in the air, and the traffic was nil, and I took my trusty cane for balance. That little parking lot is now my personal training track!

In the good old days around 1998 the goal was to walk 10,000 steps. But my pedometers don’t work anymore. I suspect it is because the goal is now low low low! What pedometer would be caught displaying 150 steps anyway?

So out with the pedometers.

Now the goal is just some time moving….. any time moving….. just moving.

Today I feel pressure to enter a blog post.

What about all that beneficial walking?

To do or not to do? That is the question.

Walking is more important really.

But blogging is a good excuse not to do what I set out to do yesterday.

I promise I will start walking again tomorrow.

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I never expected to be skipping along or roller skating or even running from a potential bear attack after hip replacement surgery. I did hope however

  • to be more mobile
  • to be able to carry laundry from the hamper to the washing machine
  • to get down on the floor to play with Elsa-the-Dog
  • to stand long enough to peel six cucumbers for cucumber salad and not feel exhausted
  • to walk without a limp or a gimp
  • to wear pretty little shoes to accentuate my pretty little feet.
  • And more.

Such is life however, that after a total right hip replacement done July 16th none of those wishes came true.

Oh, the right hip is pain-free! Let me tell you, it is a miracle of modern medicine. I consider it my “good leg” now! Kudos to my cute young surgeon who did an exemplary job.

I LOVE my right hip now. And I LOVE my cute young surgeon even though I wouldn’t recognize him on the street.

The problem though is my LEFT leg! The BigFoot leg. The one that had been causing problems since 2015.

Maybe in the process of preparing for the right hip replacement surgery, I forgot about BigFoot?

And now that the right hip is happy, my brain needed to send out reminders that all is not well on the other side.

At any rate, I am still gimpy.

The family doc said he is thrilled at my progress “considering your age and underlying factors.” Not flattering but probably true.

Why didn’t anyone warn me about the great bowl of perilous problems that arrive uninvited with the onslaught of age?

Ah well. “Such is life,” said my once aging Mom who transferred all her wisdom to me except her secrets for aging with a smile.

I will see my cute young surgeon for the last time this month. I met him once before surgery when we talked for about 20 minutes. Then I saw him through a haze as I was awakening from the operation. The extent of our conversation at that time was him saying, ‘You have a brand new hip.” He had a mask on so I am not sure it was really him.

“HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR SURGEON?” MY FAMILY DOCTOR ONCE ASKED. “I DON’T KNOW”, I SAID. “HOW WOULD I KNOW IN JUST 20 MINUTES?”

The next and last visit (unless I get knee surgery on BigFoot) will be an opportunity for another 20 minute conversation. WilI I then recognize my cute young surgeon on the street? Doubtful.

But the goal now is to walk normally. Bill went out and bought me a full length mirror to lean on a door at the end of a long hall. I can see myself coming if not going and try to correct my gait.

“Practice makes perfect” but Bill says ,”You still walk like a duck!”

Such is life and the miracles of modern medicine.

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Hospitals are for other people.

Hospitals are o.k. if you are young and strong.

But now in a golden year and facing a hospital visit soon, I am grinning and bearing the notion that I am now one of those others.

Putting my right hip in for removal and replacement sounds easy peazy these days but the preparations and advance appointments are daunting, especially when a “post-op appointment” is scheduled for 3 days before the surgery.

Good thing my golden year left me with a golden eye that is able to catch errors!

Then there were two sets of lab work (in better words – “blood letting”.)

The first blood tests went well.

The second was conducted by a novice who, in an effort to collect seven vials, left my left arm a rainbow of black, blue, yellow and red bruises as evidence of cruel and unusual punishment.

My tests are clear though.

The Dentist says I am good to go.

The General Practitioner says so too. And after he proclaimed a clean bill of health he actually gave me a big hug and wished me luck. This had the dual effect of making me smile in the knowledge my doctor of over 20 years really cares and/or making me worry that he is secretly afraid he will never see me again.

Speaking of never seeing me again, I happened to be scanning Google stuff on surgeries and came across the little known fact that more people die in surgeries performed on Fridays! Wouldn’t you know it? I am scheduled on a Friday!

But, going on the premise that I will be the standout survivor of a Friday massacre,

I am practicing breathing into a gadget, doing simple exercises, trying to walk, and

the pre-op appointments that were scheduled correctly are now almost over.

Note: BigFoot is still affecting the Left extremity but sends regards. I keep mentioning to the orthopedic experts how BigFoot started over on the left ankle, swelled, moved around and is still capricious. But no one in the medical establishment pays a bit of attention. Evidently surgeons specialize in only one thing at a time and BigFoot will just have to wait.

Well the day is drawing near!

Please wish me luck my friends in the blog-us-fear.

There will surely be stories to tell when this is all over.

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I was waiting to be called in to see the doctor re BigFoot (now on the opposite foot!) Feeling sorry for myself too, out in public in the middle of a pandemic, masked among other anonymously masked people.

On top of the doom and gloom mood I was in, it was raining hard and I wasn’t feeling a bit cozy even though I was dry.

Then a beautifully dressed woman came in. She was maybe in her 60’s. And with her was a little stooped man, also impeccably dressed. He looked like an English magazine ad for what to wear to look prosperously elegant.

“What an interesting duo,” I thought.

They went to the reception counter where the little man was asked his birth date. Around here in Virginia’s medical communities we seem to be known more for our birthdates than for our names. Anyway, here was the little man’s answer:

“July 12, 1918 – I have been around for awhile.”

That makes him 102 years old!

And then he walked by me, looked down and said, “Good morning.” It was 2PM in the afternoon but so what? And I replied “Good morning to you.”

That encounter literally made my day, cheered me out of my doldrums and gave me hope. I have never met a 102 year old person, have you? What a wonder that was. And I could tell he must have been and probably still is great fun.

A people person. A man who lives for rainbows.

A man who is young at heart.

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Many steps from house to pool.

Thirty years ago, when we built our little house in the country, we had an in-ground pool installed at the same time.

I insisted we live by water and Bill insisted on a woodstove instead of a fireplace.  It was a compromise.

The end result was a heavy-duty woodstove in the middle of the living room and a swimming pool!

As it turned out, that woodstove grew on me, maybe because it saved our lives through many a frigid winter.

And the pool meant happy memories with our son and the grandgirls, friends who visited, and our two golden retrievers who loved anything water.  Swimming in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has always seemed to me to be the ultimate luxury.

Oh, and I forgot – there was once a horse in our pool, but that is another story.

But now (due to sheltering in place from Covid-19)  we are pretty much the only swimmers.  We invite Elsa-the-dog to join in but she is suspicious of so much water.

On July 3rd I was determined to get into the old pool and paddle around as a prelude to celebrating Independence Day 2020.  A swim would also be good for Old BigFoot.

But as enticing as it is, getting to the pool is now an enormous challenge.  Navigating all those steps is out of the question since there are many steps down, and the only other way (I thought) was walking down over uneven terrain.

Then there were the endless preparations… What to take…

  •  A water dish for Elsa.  Treats for Elsa.  A leash for Elsa.
  • Towells, walking stick (cane), suntan oil, bug repellent, sunglasses, first aid supplies.
  • How to get down there.  The pool is not far if you can walk.  May as well be to the moon for BigFoot.
  • Bill to the rescue!   “We will take the car!” said he.  And Elsa jumped into the backseat thinking it was another ride.
  • And off we went for a one minute drive around the house to wind up at the pool.

It was an unceremonious but successful arrival. 

Elsa would not even consider getting near the water.

Instead she began tentative explorations and found shady spots (to shelter in place).  In fact she found a cave under one of the big evergreen bushes where she was cool, hidden from danger, and could watch for bears in case the peeps needed protection.

BigFoot loved the swim and was already plotting how to get down there again without the mortification of being driven! 

The only concern is that Bruno-the-Bear or his sister would decide to join in, but there is always Elsa for protection.

Do you think she would emerge from her new private dog-cave-digs to scare off another bear? 

 

 

 

 

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Rockbridge Aquatics Center

No, I am not the type of person who wants to run into an icey sea for any reason.

However, I continue to miss swimming in a warmer pool of water.  BigFoot has also been crying out for a bit more exercise.

About BigFoot:

For any newcomers to my blog, please know that BigFoot is the nickname for a problematical left foot that swells off and on.  There were nine different diagnoses. The latest concensus is a combination of arthritis and a damaged nerve.

Submersion in water seems to help the swelling.  But mostly there is the proud reaction I get from simply sinking into the water and hanging on a noodle.  If I kick my feet I feel like I’m exercising!

I suppose you can tell I have begun to visit our community indoor pool – our local Aquatics Center.  What a joy!

I have been there one time and ready for the second visit this week!

It is a dome covered pool.  It is also the largest pool I have ever seen except on t.v. for the summer Olympics.  There are eight very long lanes and at the time I went, I had two of them all to myself.

I think those open two lanes are reserved for un-serious lap swimmers, who simply dog paddle on a noodle from end to end.

Wait a minute!  Isn’t EXERCISE really a subjective term?

In my case it means BigFoot is engaged in gentle kicking.

On Day One I even abandoned the noodle for short periods of real swinning.  Now that is EXERCISE –  right?

Like I said, “subjective.”

Now please stay tuned for more excitement after my Day Two visit this week.

 

 

 

 

 

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macro photography of black sunglasses on sand

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Although we have had a few tooth-chattering days here in Camelot, it still somehow feels like summer.  I have almost forgotten that Virginia has a temperate climate but still boasts the four seasons.

But here it comes January and I never finished retrieving winter clothes and never packed away bathing suit or shorts.  First of all, it stayed warm enough for cooler garb than sweaters.

And for a true weather guage there is always my curly-er and frizzy-er hair which usually only happens during the muggy days of summer.  I suppose winter frizz  is due to a mountain version of seaside dampness.  Who knew?

And those lazy hazy days are here again and I am sweating (not whistling) while I work.

This sleeping beauty is also doing a bit more tossing and turning on over heated body-warmed sheets.

This morning there was a summer-like drizzly rain with no coat necessary – just short sleeves for dog walking.

The stink bugs are happy and back in plague mode too, accompanied by a competitive lady bug infestation.

I am confused.  Should I switch the heatpump to “cool”?  Should we re-open the outdoor pool?

Feeling a chill where you are?  Virginia may be just the place to go for the excitement of an off-season-summer.

 

 

 

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adult alternative medicine care comfort

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The BigFoot story is not over – until it is over of course.

Big Foot has been somewhat reduced to a visibly normal size.  At the same time, it is still bigger than it should be.  Sometimes I can walk fast but still cannot run with abandon.

Today, on the way to PT (Physical Therapy), I was walking with my cane in front of a young couple.  They eventually passed me and the young man said, “You don’t need that cane.”  And I said, “Yes, it is only for balance.”  Wasn’t he the sweetest thing? He actually made my day and I am still grinning and thrilled that someone said I don’t really need that cane.

But this story is about today’s journey through PT (Physical Therapy).

PLAYING WITH ELSA-THE-DOG

“I want to get down on the floor to play with Elsa,” I said to Anne-Marie (my physical therapist) today.  “The problem is, once I get down, I am not sure I can get up.”

Anne-Marie is a very sweet and expert therapist who will work on whatever problem I present. She understood immediately and she promptly demonstrated her technique for gracefully lowering herself to the floor with one bent knee.

I explained my own technique for getting down there.

“It’s like this,” I said. “ At home I collapse face first and chest first onto an easy chair.

Then I push off in a pre-aimed sideways fall to get the rest of the way to the floor.”

“Uh, I don’t like the word collapse,” said Anne-Marie. “Don’t collapse on anything but remember stomach in and accomplish goals with slow determination.”

O.K.  I made it to the floor in front of my therapist and anyone else who was watching of course. I got there by holding a death grip on Anne-Marie’s wall mounted ballet rails and kind of hanging my way down.  There was nothing graceful in this.

NOW HOW TO GET BACK UP!

I explained to Anne-Marie that at home I arise from whatever position I fall in by

  •  hoisting my upper body onto the seat of the easy chair,
  • swinging BigFoot as far forward as it will go and pushing it a little further with my hand,
  • then not so gracefully heaving myself up to a somewhat wobbly standing position.

Do you have a mental image of this action?

IT IS NOT A PRETTY PICTURE!

Again, my lovely therapist urged me to use thoughtful, slow, determined movements to hold onto the chair but to bring that foot around and to lean on my own bent foot to rise with strength and grace.  I will be a picture of graceful moves.  Ha!

I did it there once again using the ballet rails and arm muscles instead of abs!

I think I can do it at home.

It will be a move in the direction of physical fitness.

Not today though.

Maybe tomorrow.

I will try not to collapse onto the chair, but to lower myself, abs in and with goal-oriented determination.  If you are young you have not read this far. Getting up is not a challenge.  If you are old, stick with me.

Lowering my body to the floor and then hoisting myself up from the floor was not the only goal today but it was the major one.  After all, this session was designed specifically for Elsa-the-dog so we can play face to face on her own level.

For more pretty pictures of Dor managing to live happily ever after with BigFoot, stay tuned.

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Elsa

Elsa is beginning to love and trust, but it’s a long haul.

As difficult as it is, I now aim for the floor to meet her on her own level. Elsa is our little rescue dog who has been with us for three months. 

Getting up from the floor is the challenge of course but Big Foot (swollen foot that is now Slim Foot) is allowing weight bearing moves!

At first Elsa seemed confused and suspicious when I hit the carpet but she decided in two days it might be acceptable (if not alarmingly odd) human behavior.

She comes closer now when I am down there, close enough for a belly rub but not quite near enough for a hug.

We are making slow but positive progress.

Yesterday while Elsa and I were connecting on the floor,

the looming shadow of a man-person emerged. 

Gentle Bill wanted to join the party too and was on his way down.

Immediately alarmed, Elsa gave a mighty jump and hit her head on the coffee table. Then she crouched nearby in a terror pose.

She finally realized we humans were down there for family love and noone wanted to hurt her.

She inched closer, sat between us, and rolled over for double belly rubs.

This is true progress because Elsa cringes when we try to pat her head and shows unmistakable signs of previous abuse.

For now,  with patience and gentle handling,

Elsa is beginning to love and trust, but it’s a long haul.

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BigFoot was on the road again.

On the mend again.

Shrunken to a normal size.

Ahhhh!

And after nearly three years in and out of a Big Boot or hobbling around with a cane or crutches, or gliding on a knee scooter, BigFoot FINALLY started WALKING!

But wait.

There is now a BlueToe on the SkinnyFoot, thanks to a “maintenance visit” for a Podiatrist’s professional pedicure!

I always liked my podiatrist even though he frightened me occasionally with ragged pedicures.

But who am I to question the cutting techniques of an accredited podiatrist?

Note:  Old people tend to elevate doctors to godly pedestals of eternal wisdom.

On this visit the good doctor once again cut a ragged edge and managed a very jagged cut on the SkinnyFoot’s Big Toe.

And this instantly caused a blue spot at the base of the nail.

Ever so politely, I asked, “What is that?”

And the doc said, “You must have stubbed it or something fell on it.  Not to worry, it will heal in time.”

I took him at his word of course even though I knew there was no blue spot when I walked in and I had not stubbed my toe or dropped anything on it.

Old people tend to accept anything a doctor says, particularly if he is wearing a white coat!

And it was only a little blue spot after all.  It would undoubtedly heal with time.

So off I went to PT (Physical Therapy).

And the Physical Therapist immediately gasped and  asked, “Who butchered your toe?”

After hearing my story and since the entire toenail had turned a beautiful blue, she said, “Go see your family doctor ASAP!”

Metallic blue toenails are the “in” thing now.  And that’s how BigFoot’s Big Toe looked….. blue.

Hmmmm.  Do you think I should I go to a salon and get the other nine nails painted to match?

“A good thing you came in,” said my family doctor.  “Looks like a blood blister. It will probably be fine. But watch and come back if you notice red streaks going up the foot or there is swelling or fever.  Also soak the toe in salt water twice a day and apply antibacterial ointment.”

That was two weeks ago.

BigFoot’s Big Toe is still Blue.

Seems to be healing but I am afraid to wear closed toed shoes for fear of aggravating.

Will I lose the nail?  Too soon to tell.

But this much is sure:

I will lose the Podiatrist.

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