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.

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