September 29, 2019

I Feel So Good It's Scary

I cannot say a lot happened today as I made an effort to take a rest day. Yesterday was a big day for walking and I did things for the first time. I watched a little football today, the end of the Red's last baseball game for 2019 but spent most of the afternoon on the phone talking to two old friends that have had heart surgeries. One friend just had his 8th heart attack at 66 years old. My other friend at 65 years old had his heart surgery a few years ago. But that is not all of the medical talk ... MJ my dog sitter stopped by yesterday to see the hounds and pick the check for the last week she worked ... she fell last week and broke her arm !!!

After waking up at 4am for the first time of the night I couldn't go back to sleep and finally gave up about 45 minutes later deciding it was time to make coffee. The hounds never woke up to follow me to the kitchen so they must have finally fallen back into their routine. In fact at 6am they were still sleeping and no whining for breakfast.

I could tell by the time I walked to the kitchen with the walker that I was stronger than yesterday and felt no soreness in the hip or leg after my long walk to the mailbox and back Saturday afternoon. That mailbox is across the street, around the curve three houses down and then about a half a block after that. The post man left the biggest Amazon box on my porch but put the three other Amazon padded envelopes in my narrow mailbox along with some letter mail.

I took it slow. I took short steps and I stayed on the sidewalk, always aware of the uneven sections and making sure my cane was near while walking. Yet ... I did most the walk on my own, slowly, holding the cane in case I needed to balance myself. At no time did I feel dizzy or lightheaded. As soon as I got home, I opened up the packages that included another seat cushion, some DVDs and a couple of books.

I could tell the walk took something out of me so I laid down for about an hour and eventually fell into a 30 minute siesta.

I have walked about a 1/3 of what I have the past three to four days. I wanted to rest, relax and let the muscles recuperate as if I was taking a day off from riding a bike. I am kind of in a 'danger zone' because I felt so good today. I did a lot of walking inside the house on my own without a cane or the walker. I watched how I turned walking and how I turned going from the fridge to the kitchen counter. A few times I actually forgot what my situation was. That is not a good thing ... it's when mistakes are made.

So I am kind of between what to do. My doctor told me to "listen to my body" and walk. Well my body tells me to walk on my own with no support. Friends I have talked to today all say I need to walk with my cane no matter what. "It's only been 3 weeks" they say. My two heart surgery friends tell me they would walk with the cane at this point in time no matter how good they felt.

My hospital booklet tells me I can drive between 3-6 weeks. I have only a couple of places I need to go to but neither trip involves any kind of shopping. I will continue to have groceries delivered for months from now. I will call the doctors office tomorrow to see if I can drive or not. I feel like I can and with the seat cushion that came yesterday it is also for car seats giving me just enough height to get in and out of the car without breaking any rules.

I've thought more than I wanted to about my heart condition and that might have been brought on by the two long phone conversations with the two friends I spoke of. At least I will have everything lined up if I have to have surgery out of town. Someone to take care of the hounds and another keep an eye out on the house. I would prefer to have someone live here 24/7 while I am out of town for surgery. MJ said she will still be able to do her job after the put a new hard cast on her forearm Monday. She might know someone to stay here full time with the hounds.

I have also thought about diets today ... lots of thinking ... too much sitting around ... too much letting my mind wander. Like I have said before there is just so much diet information out there I don't know what is the best, who to believe etc. Every doctor, friend, etc has their own ideas on the best diet and they are all different.

One good thing ... all these people that I talked to, including the neighbor that had knee replacement surgery, from heart surgeries to knee replacements ... they all survived their surgeries and are back doing their normal hobbies and activities.

A lot on my mind today ... I need to get started on one of those new books I ordered.

The perfect weather day her in the Wild West today.

September 28, 2019

Small Things Make A Difference

Like a wounded animal I am finding that I can adapt to the changes to me almost as well. I would have never thought of some of these solutions beforehand but as I progress into 'light' activity, I come up with some interesting solutions. For instance I have more things sitting out at a level they are easy to reach than I would normally like ... but it is what it is right now. One thing I have noticed during this period that sometimes the smallest thing can make a world of difference.

One example is having the doctor allowing me to sleep on my side instead of my back. My sleeping changed from one hour segments to a solid night of sleep. For some reason my trips to the bathroom during the night decreased from every hour to nothing or one trip at the most. I've gone from drinking less water to prevent those to trips to drinking as much water as I want. So maybe all of that is a sign of healing.

I've never used a walker before but I have seen them in action. What I have never liked about mine was the front wheels squeaked but that was fixed with a little WD-40. Hearing the hard rubber tips on the back to legs, screeching across my tile floors drove me insane. I knew the solution but I could not find those two tennis balls I had wrapped in a sock. I had them for years and used that cheap tool to roll my back on killing all the muscle soreness. I was pretty sure I had packed them when I moved because I did not buy the self-massage roller and rolling bar until a couple of months after I got here.

So where were those tennis balls?

I looked everywhere. It was another time where I have misplaced something and can't find it until it shows up on it's own or a my brain defrags like an old computer hard drive ... then I remember. But not in this case. That tight tube sock with two tennis balls inside were no longer in the house, disappearing into thin air.

I wanted to cut those tennis balls wide enough so they would fit over the back leg tips of my walker. Then I would have complete silence when using it and might even use it more without that noise. No problem though, Amazon can send me three of them in a matter of day or two days. For only $3.19 per container why wait, why look a 100th time for those I could not find.

As many of you know from your past experiences .. what is lost will not show up until you have bought, paid for and either received their replacement or the replacement has been shipped.

This happened at the strangest time though. At 4:10am ... that's not a misprint.

I had woken up at 4:00am like always, so did the hounds and we all march down the hallway toward the back door so they can go outside and then we head back for more sleep. Today was much different. One of those "small things make a difference" happened just about the time I was flipping the light switch off for the kitchen lights.

THERE ... under the corner of the couch is a glimpse of a white something. I don't recall ever shoving anything under my couch nor was there anything on the floor in that area when they delivered and set up my couch. All the times I had walked from the kitchen to the living room I had NEVER SEEN that white something under my couch at the corner and just to the side of the end table. In fact it was in a place that even I could not have put them there unless I did so intentionally.

I grabbed the infamous "grabber" and headed to see what it was.

The first clue that something was wrong ... my missing compression sock was more under the couch than the end table and not in a place I had ever left it. I pulled that up with the grabber and was happy I now had the equal number of left and right socks. Nothing irritates me more than losing just one sock.

So the chance of a lifetime as I tried not to bend over more than 90° (rehab rule) but still get the grabber at the right angle to where I could grab the sock area between the two tennis balls and have enough power to pull that out from under the couch. It looked like the couch might be lower than the height of the tennis balls ... so how did that get under there.

I had a few suspects ... one main one really ... Stella.

I had to put some force on the grabber to pull out the tennis balls ... but was successful. I ran to the kitchen pulled out my exacto knife and started cutting. Long story short ... complete silence now when I use the walker with those two tennis balls on the rear legs of the walker.

What about the tennis balls that will arrive today?

I guess they will be my spares for the next 30 years if a walker is ever needed again. Neither Stella nor Heidi are into playing fetch like Sadie or Winston, so using the new tennis balls for that is not an option.

Stella is NOT the expert hider of things that Sadie or Winston was. Those two were the all-time experts in taking my things and hiding them either in their blankets, the corner of the closet floor, under the couch ... you get the picture.

Stella believes in quality not quantity. She doesn't do it often but does it well.

For example the other day after I got back from my doctor appointment, Stella was still in her crate but she had pushed out different spots of that strong black steel rod that made up the crate. The small padlock on the front door was still there but the two keys I left in the lock were missing.

Did she eat them? The padlock was turned inward when I had left it outward, so she had moved that someway with her teeth. I looked on the floor around the large crate and saw nothing ... I started looking inside on the crate floor, near the soft rubber and cloth bones she never chews on ... ah ha .... there were the two keys back in the corner of the floor under the cloth rope like chew bone ... hidden!!

They didn't just fly through the air the full length of the crate and fall in that perfect hiding spot, if you know what I mean.

So whether it's my stuff of the hounds ... small things make a difference.

Like the length of Heidi's pawnails. The new height of my dog food container where I can reach the bottom without bending over. A spatula gives me extra length to reach into the ice bucket to get ice for my water glass without bending over. My freezer is at the bottom of the fridge. That 2'-3' shoe horn gets my right shoe on every morning. A cane adjusted lower and the proper height compared to a trekking pole makes walking much easier.

The list goes on and on.

I declared today a 'rest' day. It would be a day/night of college football and general walking inside the house but very few laps were going to be walked around the fence line in what I now call "the prison yard" LOL. I may or may not walk to the mailbox, depending if they leave my Amazon shipment of small boxes on the front porch.

Otherwise I will sit on the 4" seat pad, straight back chair watching the games while dreaming of the day I can sit on the couch again ... now there is a future small thing that will make a huge difference. Driving is another thing to look forward to that is taken for granted.

There seems to be a lot of teaching moments during this time of rehab.

It was a great day here in the Wild West.

September 27, 2019

A Scare & Missed Stella Story

With the forecast of 10 days of those small sunshine icons on my phone's weather app, we have returned to beautiful weather and that starts as soon as the sun comes up a little past 6am. Believe it or not, I can feel that Fall is in the air with the overnight temps dropping into the 50's. Shorts and t-shirts might be just an option as days move towards October. I forgot to tell the funniest story about Stella on her spa day ... how could I? Then around 4am this morning I had a scare with my right leg (surgical side) ... stay tuned.

The hounds have noticed the change in morning temperatures but more than that, they can feel the change of seasons I think. No longer do they follow me into the kitchen every morning, going outside and then howling and barking for their breakfast after they walk back inside. They do follow me and they do go outside but the past few days they walk past me, down the long hallway into the dark bedroom or dark computer room and go back to sleep. They no longer want to eat at 5am or earlier.

I opened the backdoor this morning to let them out and had quite a surprise. No ... no snakes or spiders ... 52° hit me. That will be the new normal for overnight lows now. I can handle that because I know the sunshine will be bright all day and it might touch 80° by late afternoon but maybe not.

My only plans for today were to walk as usual but start reading books again. I feel settled enough to be able to focus on a book. Plus I have some Amazon deliveries today. All light stuff so I should be able to drag them inside from the front porch and open them on the kitchen counter. "The Grabber" is the best tool I have ever come across and has done will with boxes on the front porch, into the house.

To those that emailed me last night and yesterday concerned about losing my 'help' ... fear not. When this happened a few weeks ago, neighbors on each side of me gave me their phone numbers and told me to call them for anything I needed help with. We all have something in common too. They have also had the same type of  ending with the 'helpful' neighbor I blogged about yesterday. What happened yesterday is nothing new to him.

Early in the morning while coffee is being made and the temps are too cold to sit outside in shorts and a t-shirt, I migrate to the computer room to answer email, texts and reply to blog comments from the night or day before. The hounds are ALWAYS in a sleeping spot before I return with my cup of coffee. Stella always picks one corner on each side of my desk. Heidi moves to any location that feels comfortable for that morning. She has 4-5 different places inside the computer room where she likes to sleep.

She is never too far away from me.

This is Stella's normal position as I sit and watch ballgames, day or night. Since I am not allowed yet to set on soft couches or chairs that soak you up with comfort, I sit to the side of the end table on my kitchen chair with the higher seat, a straight back and the 4" orthopedic seat cushion I bought on Amazon. This location moves Stella out to the right side of the small coffee table.

So ... the Stella story.

I warned Kelly from Sierra Dog Groomers that Stella was a professional escape artist and she might try to get out of any kennel she was staying in for the day. I did not ask but found out they put her and Heidi in the same kennel which is perfect. Kelly told me it was one of their older kennels and I can't remember exactly how big the opening was but there was a 'slight' opening made by past escape experts I guess.

All the kennels are in another room, a shut door separating them from the big room where the bathing and grooming takes place. Kelly started laughing when she described how her and two other groomers were working on other dogs with Heidi and Stella in the other room INSIDE A KENNEL !!! ..... when .... you guessed it ....

Out walks Stella into the room they were grooming other dogs !!!!

Not only did she get out of the kennel but was able to turn the round doorknob of the closed door that separated the two room ... LOL She could not believe it and I laughed and replied "I warned you she is an EXPERT in escaping anything that locks her inside." Funny funny hound.

Now ... the scare at 4am

I have been following the technique from the day I got home on how to get in and out of bed, in and out of a chair and how to turn gradually no matter how good I feel and no matter how many thousand of steps I walk in a day. That has never changed no matter what.

So in the dark bedroom this morning I sat up and let my lower back stretch a little bit before moving my legs. Keeping the legs straight and together, I lean back on my hands and slowly swing my legs to the edge of the bed and then letting them bend over the edge of the bed. I decided at this point the first day on, that I would sit a moment to let the muscles get used to bending, before I attempt to stand.

At first I thought I had to walk to the bathroom for the first time all night but didn't, what a shock from the number of times earlier in the week BEFORE I was given doctors permission to sleep on my side instead of my back. So I lifted my straight legs and while bracing myself with hands behind me ... I swung the legs back to the right onto the bed.

Now before last Tuesday's followup with my surgeon I was still sleeping with the big foam piece from the hospital, between my legs. Now that large foam piece is replaced by a pillow so I can sleep on my side ... ALL doctors instructions and allowed.

This morning something happened as I spread my lower legs and feet that scared the crap out of me !!!!

As I was spreading my lower legs and feet, the heel on my right foot (surgical side) caught on the sheet on top of the mattress that has some sort of vertical design in the support sections. I have a firm mattress but there is a layer of softness on top. If you can picture that.

With my heel stub, the leg TRIED to move right ... for a SPLIT SECOND, that felt like a lifetime ....

My whole right leg had the feeling it was "dangling by a thread" ... a thin thread, not a rope or a tendon nor any kind of muscle ... a thin piece of thread.

I laid there perfectly still in the dark assessing the situation and scared. Ok ... no severe pain when it happened. No feeling of a thigh spasm when it happened nor after the foot eventually moved. No pain in the groin area which would signify damage to the hip socket. I felt nothing but normal.

I lifted that right leg and moved it slightly right than to the left ... no pain, felt like normal. I laid there still waiting for some sort of reaction from that heel stub, the dangling feeling and nothing showed up. Maybe I was okay after all. I'd know once I sat up, stood up and walked down the long tiled hallway but in the meantime I was going back for another hour of sleep.

I like using the walker first thing in the morning from the time I walk away from the bed, like a warmup. I can make sure all the muscles and joints are moving in the right direction and can make sure the least amount of weight is applied to the new hip joint. I use this walker for about the first hour or so just to get everything loose and operable. The doctor did tell me to keep alternating between the walker and walking without support of any kind.

So a close call and a funny Stella story ... not a bad way to start today's blog.

It seemed later than it was for most of the day. We didn't do much out of the ordinary and just enjoyed the sunshine, took a siesta and walked. I walked off and on during the day, some inside with the walker, doing laps around the backyard with the trekking pole or free with the pole in hand. I loaded some packing from my Amazon shipments into the trash bin for Monday pickup.

So I had some lightweight activity today.

Good weather puts the Aerostat back into the air.

With the cooler temps it was perfect for Stella to sleep the morning off outside. This photo seemed to be pretty popular among my Facebook friends. When her legs are crossed she is pretty relaxed.

While Stella was sleeping outside, Heidi took the living room.

I wore New Balance flat bottom, rubber sole shoes from the hospital and to my appointments. It was the only shoe I could fit my swollen right foot into. Once that swelling went down enough I put on my daily walking shoes. A lightweight hiking shoe with more support on top and a good sole on the bottom for all types of terrain.

How do I get that on my right foot?

I loosen the laces, curl the tongue forward the grip that with "the grabber". As I slide my foot into the show I use the 2-3 foot shoe horn the hospital gave me and by using that on back of the shoe and heel, my foot slides in with no problem. To tie the show I prop my right foot up like they showed me in PT, on a chair and tie them fast. Tie the left shoe is not a problem.

I did not walk as many steps today as the past two days but did walk halfway to the intersection Stella and I cross for her walk before turning around. That walk showed me I might have to use the walker to get to the mailbox which is further away.

Stella moved throughout the house most of the day sleeping.

When I tell the hounds I have to rest or take a siesta this is where they go. Every day, around noon. Today there was a strong cool breeze coming through the window and that made it even nicer to sleep. No AC for the past couple of days.

Yes, Stella sleeps during the daytime in the area where I put my feet when I get ready to get out of bed. So to prevent any kind of mistake I wake her up and get her to move before I swing my legs to the left to set my feet on the floor. She seems to understand what I am telling her and she moves as soon as she realizes I am getting up.

I did not hear the postman but around 1:15pm there was a nice long box leaning up against my porch wall. My Amazon metal adjustable cane had arrived !!!! There is a lot of difference between the cane with the padded curved handle and a trekking pole with the flat top rubber handle where you are to grip the side of the pole. I was so excited I went out and did a couple of laps around the backyard to check it out.

While I was walking Stella was deciding whether it was nice enough for all three of us to sit on the patio for a while and enjoy the hot sunshine. Due to elevation, the sun is a lot hotter here than where we lived in Indiana. It feels great though.

Tonight has a couple of college football games to watch and then to bed to start it all over tomorrow.

A nice day in the Wild West.

September 26, 2019

A Quiet Restful Day - Somewhat LOL

The day officially started at 5am after another great night of sleep. As I rolled the walker down the lit hallway, neither hound woke up to follow me. I open all the blinds even though it's dark. I open the front window and the back door to get a good early cool breeze in the house. Coffee is then put on but I have noticed a strange thing since I started grinding my beans at the time I make the coffee. I am using more coffee for the same amount of water ... or 1 cup of coffee.

The sunrise was beautiful and the air near 60°. We are going to be back to normal temps now and the rains are gone. Which means cooler temps this time of year. By the time I grabbed my cup of coffee, the cane and headed for the computer room, neither hound had made a move from their overnight sleeping position.

I took these photos a little after 6am when the sun came up. I didn't have a lot of plans today. I mainly wanted to see how my leg and hip responded to the 6,000+ steps I took yesterday. I was willing to back off a little today if they told me to. As of 2:27pm today I had 3,192 steps in so far. My hip feels good as well as my right leg and foot.

As you see I took this photo standing at my fence facing the Mule mountains towards Bisbee. Standing by the fence is the best position for those mountain photos as I have another below facing the west and standing at the fence.

I knew the first day it was going to happen but I thought I'd give it a chance and see how it played out ... My neighbor.

Most of you probably know what I am about to say because you have been in the same situation. Little things were adding up ... to the point I was going to put a plug on it and kindly suggest it stop. If I need a ride I'll call Uber or a taxi. Yes ... it was getting that bad.

About 50' from the fence is a natural wash. You can barely see it going left to right. A whole different view from the back fence compared to the patio.

He is the type that likes to help everyone in the neighborhood and does from what I hear. He has also made a few of us mad but they put up with him. I was also warned before moving in that his friendliness moves into control freak mode and overbearing. I was aware and ready and from what I had seen he was moving along the path as scheduled. I really don't mind suggestions but basically I am going to follow that surgeon's orders from Tuesday and nobody else. He is a doctor !!!

It started the other day when he questioned the supplements I had bought and have been taking. I personally feel they have been a factor in my quick healing. Not all but some of the factor. He questioned the amount of walking I was doing while I was following doctors orders. Then this morning he told me I didn't know what I was talking about nor knew what muscle fatigue was.

LOL ... really???

I knew this wasn't going to end well.

This morning while Stella slept outside enjoying the sunshine I was accused of not following doctors orders. Really? What business is that of his? Voices were raised and the argument was on. It was short - fast - to the point and I did all of the talking. For basketball fans you might remember an IU coach named Bobby Knight so you have a pretty good idea what took place.

I instructed this overbearing control freak to go back home, bring back my keys to the car, mailbox and front door and then I'd give him his cane. That took place in a short time. There is more to this than just this morning or his comments to me for the past week.

It involved the hounds.

Once Stella found out I was not going to feed her at noon like the old days, she decided the best thing to do was to sleep until 3pm or 4pm.

I did not call him from the ER on Sept 7th to help me out with my hounds for a reason. I had seen him enough around Stella and Heidi the times he was over at my house before my injury and he didn't like them. He hated either one of them getting close to him. That didn't stop him on the 7th trying to take control of the hound situation after I had called MJ the pet setter who happened to get to my house and inside within 15 minutes after I called her. She didn't know who he was nor did she know I had not called him. He said later to me, he saw a strange car, a person key in to open the garage and he came over ... like my security guard ... that I never asked for.

She did not tell me what happened but I found out from him ... because he told me of all the rearranging he had done with the crate I keep Stella in to keep her safe and my vertical blinds in tact while I am out of the house. What else he told me he had done was not what I wanted done with the hounds. He was doing stuff that did not need to be touched but just like I was warned ... he is like an old construction foreman ... his way or the highway.

So that "helpful neighbor" is outta here. Oh ... he fed me crap yesterday for feeding the hounds myself and then picking up the dog crap in the yard even though I was within all the requirements the doctor gave me. I don't remember the doctor telling me I had to be bedridden.  :)

You get the picture?

While the three of us were outside this afternoon enjoying 72° and cool winds ... Stella made sure that my walker and I were going nowhere.  I had to wake her so I could move back inside.

Heidi had a lot of energy today but not a lot of photos. More active than I have seen her in a while and that might be due to the shorter pawnails. She has done a few sprints around the house, rolled on her back and barked and begged for food when it was appropriate. Feeding times are now 7am and 3 pm every day ... no more noon stuff.

I was finally able to focus and sit still long enough to read some books I had on the coffee table. I still cannot sit in that soft couch because it is too hard to get up and out of it based on what the doctor told me.

Nothing major planned for tonight. I am going to walk some laps around my backyard ... bake some chicken and broccoli then call it a day I thing with book reading. I'm feeling really good again today. No soreness whatsoever from the hip area.

The hounds have survived the past 19 days in fine style ... no hiccups ... no injuries ... and seem to be back to their routines of begging me for food now since they have seen me feed them.

A beautiful day in the Wild West.

September 25, 2019

Hounds Have A Spa Day

Stella was all set for another night of 'on call nurse' but within minutes decided that I was okay and decided to sleep instead. I am going to stop giving every day updates about my rehab since the first two weeks are over and it's another 4 weeks before my next appointment. There is not going to be a lot of different news until then. Yet, for the first time in a long time I had 6.5 hours of solid sleep last night, all because I could sleep on my side instead of my back. The hounds slept through the night until 1:43am ....

How do I know the exact time? The clap of thunder was so close and loud when I woke up from the sound I swear I was 3 feet in the air (joke). I had no doubt that lightning had struck the house or somewhere extremely close. Within that minute I hear what I think is a bloodhound trotting down the hallway on the tile floor toward the bedroom. It was Stella, who was sleeping in the computer room when I went to bed. Once she saw things were okay she laid beside Heidi's bed and slept the rest of the morning.

A little after 6am the winds were whipping from the SE and it was a cold 52°. I was wide awake at 4am while the hounds slept until 7am. It was going to be a big day for us today. I was going to get a lot of walking done inside the house without the walker and the hounds were going to be picked up by Sierra Dog Grooming at 10am so they could have a spa day.

I planned on alternating between the walker and my trekking pole inside the house but once that my neighbor saw that he said "wait a second, I'll be right back" ... a few minutes later he handed me a metal adjustable cane to use. With the curved handle I found it much easier to walk compared to the flat top of the trekking pole. By noon I had over 5,000 steps, almost twice as much as my biggest day.

Remember the doctor told me to walk as much as I wanted as long as I did not feel fatigue in my right leg or hip.

Kelly arrived right on time with a Jeep Grand Cherokee. I told her all about Stella and Heidi and like everyone else that has met the hounds, she loved them. Once she put my leashes on each hound Heidi started walking to the car while Stella wasn't so sure. Was she being given away again?

Heidi jumped up in the back seat like it was her car and with Stella's hips Kelly was able to lift her just enough to get her in the back floorboard where Stella stepped up on the backseat. Each hound was then buckled into their doggie seatbelts. I was going to be houndless for about 5.5 hours, for the first time since September 2018.

Right after they left I had my groceries delivered by Fry's Market and once again they pulled 34 items from my online shopping list and didn't make a mistake. That service is well worth the $9.95 service fee plus a tip.

I called the doctor's office to confirm that I could take a real shower. I had forgot to ask him yesterday during my appointment but assumed I could since he said the incision had healed very good and he took the surgical tape off. I had no problems losing balance or feeling dizzy. It is a walk in shower not one in a tub. It felt great to feel really clean again. With everything I  had done in the morning it was time for some rest, and a possible siesta.

An hour later I was vacuuming the house and then I put every jacket I brought with me in the washer to prepare for our winter. I can pull the jackets or any kind of laundry out of the dryer with the grabber.

So by the end of the day I was going to have a clean house, a clean me and two clean hounds !!!

Around 3:45pm the Jeep Grand Cherokee pulled up in front of the house. Luckily it wasn't raining so I grabbed my cane and headed outside to grab Heidi's leash while Kelly got Stella out of the backseat. Within a few minutes Heidi knew where she was and trotted away as I let go of her leash ... right into the living room.

Once Kelly was at the side walk I told her to let go of the leash and Stella would run to the house, which she did. Both hounds were soft and shining with an added Halloween scarf around their necks. Heidi's nails looked shorter than I had ever seen them. Stella's were still short from her vet visit a few weeks ago.

Kelly took her time and explained everything she did for Heidi and Stella. She thinks that Heidi might be starting to have an ear infection. Both hounds were happy to be home, wagging their tails and checking to see if I had any treats for them. I asked how they were in the kennel and she said the both of them were the best dogs they had ever worked with. They stayed in the same kennel after they were cleaned.

Both liked getting a bath and both didn't mind getting their nails cut. She said that Stella loved having her ears cleaned and Heidi didn't mind it either.

I will definitely be using their service again, only next time I should be able to drive them to their facility myself. They say don't bath a hound as often as other dogs because it takes the natural oil away but I usually try to bath them when they start smelling like a hound.

There was some other surprising news this morning, adding another thing I can do.

My hound sitter/feeder MJ The Pet Nanny sent me a text this morning that she was going to be late due to an emergency with a client that has five cats. After that she had to take time to feed horses of two clients. Like she told me last week, horses are different than dogs when they are hungry ... they don't whine or bark, they kick down gates and fences so she had to feed them before she stopped by to feel Heidi and Stella.

It was getting pretty late, past Stella's breakfast time so I looked at the situation and grabbed an empty dog dish with "the grabber" ... no problem sitting it on the floor and picking it up to clean after their meal. Would I be able to bend over to dip the kibble out of the container into their dishes without breaking the doctor's 90° rule?

To make sure I leaned over on my good left leg while keeping the bad right legs off the ground  ... no problem. While the hounds were eating I had the neighbor watch me and confirm I was not breaking the 90° rule when bending over to get the kibble out of the storage container.

I had to try another thing. I grabbed the poop bag and headed outside. I like picking it up as soon as possible and knew I'd be doing this once I moved to Arizona. Stella would  no longer have that 7 acre field she like to crap in.

So once again I leaned over with my bad foot/leg off the ground and was able to pick up what I needed to without bending more than 90°. I was close to feeding the hounds again and cleaning up after them. Since I have been sitting things I need up waist level or higher around the house so I can reach them, I decided I needed to sit the kibble container on something a couple of feet tall so I would barely have to bend over to get the kibble out.

I had the perfect solution. I have a hard fiberglass case that I stored camping stuff in that was just he right height. I had my neighbor bring that in from the garage and it worked out perfect. MJ was giving me a discounted price for coming twice per day since I was here and could let the hounds out during the day and later at night. She loves Heidi and Stella too but she has a lot of animals to take care of besides all of the ones she owns.  I will also call her when I need her in the future to take care of Heidi and Stella.

So the hounds are shiny, clean and sleeping. I am clean and can do the majority of my walking with a cane and sometimes with only my two feet. Once again I feel stronger than yesterday, still following the rules for making turns and using the walker as an alternative. It's been raining again so I expect another good night of sleep and we start all over tomorrow.

Comment or email me if you have any questions about hip replacement surgery or rehab.

It's a rough day spending all of it at the doggie spa ....

It's cold and rainy here in the Wild West.