Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pride Goeth Before a Walker

It is official.  I have attained geezer status.  The therapist I saw yesterday has ordered one of those handy, dandy walkers with four wheels that have a seat attached so I can sit if needed when I am out and about.  Well, crap!

I have had a misplaced sense of pride in the fact that I could continue to function without the aid of a cane or crutches or a walker.  Well, stick that pride on the back shelf and leave it there.  My therapy session yesterday was good in that I learned more about dealing with the problem of swollen legs and feet and cellulitis outbreaks than I had learned in two years with my family doctor.  I have another session scheduled for next week to learn the exercises and other methods for reducing the swelling.

But the blow to my pride came when, after extensive questioning, it became apparent that most of my mobility issues were due to osteoarthritis rather than the lower leg thing.  I have gotten to the point where standing for more than 10 minutes at a time has become painful.  This is not a problem within my apartment, but it is limiting when I go out.  Hence, the walker.

This turn of events is really a blow to my pride and my desire for continued independence.  After thinking about it overnight, I have come to the conclusion that I have two choices.

I can rant and rave and throw a hissy fit and blame the gods for visiting this misfortune on me.

Or...I can suck it up and learn to use the damn walker and learn the other things necessary to keep me here at home.

I have decided on the latter.  And with that in mind, I have spent the morning going through my apartment and making a list of those things that are now difficult for me and figuring out alternative ways to do them.

Having a shower has been challenging.  By the time I finish washing my hair, my hip joints and lower back are screaming at me for relief.  I already have one of those hand held shower heads installed.  And I am ordering a stool designed for the bath so I can sit when necessary.

I have always scrubbed my kitchen and bathroom floors on my hands and knees.  That is no longer happening.  So I am getting one of those janitorial type mops and buckets with the wringer attached.  Having spent several years cleaning office buildings, I am familiar with them and am confident they will work better for me than any other type of mop.  And I can attach one of those green scrubbies to that kind of mop for getting the stubborn dried on spills off the floors.

I have already dealt with the problem of lugging laundry up and down two flights of stairs by investing in a portable apartment sized washer and dryer.  Both work like a charm.  But the dryer sits on the floor.  The controls are beneath the dryer door.  That means there is a lot of bending over to put clothes in and take clothes out and to push the buttons for the proper settings.  I found that several of the big box stores carry those storage cubes that when two of them are set side by side, the combined size is perfect to hold the dryer up off the floor, making its use much easier for me.  Plus it will give me a handy place to store laundry supplies.

A simple thing like putting on socks can be difficult when a person doesn't bend so well any more.  Yesterday I was shown a device that I can slip a sock onto, slide my foot in, and using the handles on either side, pull the sock up.  I will be ordering one of those devices as well as some over-sized tongs for picking up things from the floor that are hard to reach.  In addition, any shoes I buy once I can wear shoes again, will be the slip-on variety.

The purpose of this post is not to encourage sympathy.  I don't feel sorry for myself, so nobody else should even entertain the notion of feeling sorry for me.  I just won't have it.

The purpose of this post is to encourage those who may be dealing with similar life-changing circumstances.  I really hate having to admit that I need a walker to be able to enjoy being outdoors again.  And I hate having to change the way I do things due to limitations.  But there it is.  Old age ain't no picnic.  Some sail through without having to deal with aches and pains and others don't.  For those that don't, we need to remember that even though there are adjustments to be made, life is still grand.  And well worth living.

My youngest son, David, took me to my appointment yesterday.  On the way home I remarked to him that I had always said I wanted to live long enough to be a problem to my children and that I may have reached that goal.  (That has been a standing family joke for years.)  His response was that he didn't think we had reached that time just yet.  He said he didn't care how big a pain in the whatever I was, they still wanted me here with them.

God bless those kids.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kitchen Table Folks

Sometimes my mind starts to wander.  Often times these days it goes skipping on down Memory Lane.  This evening the memories were about kitchen tables.

When I was a kid my Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Em were our only relatives who lived close by.  This was a time long before cell phones, when people went visiting instead of texting.  The kids would play games outdoors and the grown-ups would visit.  My aunt and uncle had a nice living room in their house.  My parents had a nice living room in their house.  But the place they all sat to talk to one another was at the kitchen table.

My Grandma in northern Minnesota had a kitchen table next to the only window in her kitchen.  When we went to visit her, we sat around the kitchen table while she cooked on her big wood burning kitchen stove.  Often we would sit there peeling carrots or shelling peas for her.  She could always find a glass of milk, fresh from the cow, and a cookie or two for a granddaughter to consume at that table.

Mother's friends would stop in now and then.  It wasn't unusual to find two or three neighbor ladies sitting at our kitchen table, drinking coffee and catching up on the neighborhood gossip.  And when Mother and her sisters gathered around the kitchen table, there was always a lot of laughter and a lot more "Remember when..."

When I had a home of my own, life seemed to revolve around the kitchen table.  Friends would sit there for a game of cards.  Others might bring their kids over to play with mine, and there were always coffee and cookies or cake or donuts to go with good conversation at the kitchen table.  Homework was done at the kitchen table.  Letters to relatives were written there.  Pictures were drawn by children, books were read while drinking countless cups of coffee and checkbooks were balanced - all at the kitchen table.

I am not a fancy person.  I am much more comfortable with a mug of coffee at the kitchen table than I am sitting in a living room chair trying to balance a cup and saucer on my knee.  I suppose that comes from having a long line of kitchen table folks in my family history.  So should you ever drop in for a visit, don't expect tea in china cups.  With saucers.  You will, however, usually find cookies in the cookie jar and will always find a steaming mug of coffee.  In my world, it doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Quiet here...

in my little corner of the world.  We had a good Thanksgiving dinner with enough leftovers so I didn't have to cook for a couple of days.  I have been spending time reading and listening to my audio books while sewing or crocheting.  The biggest thing I did was to run six pounds of frozen corn through my dehydrator.  I may become more productive this coming week, but until then, enjoying the peace and quiet of my Home Sweet Apartment is enough.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yesterday...

started out with rain that turned into sleet.  The temperature hovered a degree or two above the freezing mark, so according to those who had to be out in it, the roads were sort of sloppy but not overly icy.  This morning brought maybe an inch of snow on the ground.

I am still dealing with some problems with my legs.  I am not in pain and I can still get around ok.  But I seem to be unable to reduce the swelling in my legs and feet.  As a result, I will miss the big family Thanksgiving dinner at David's house.  A few days ago oldest son Duane asked what my plans for Thanksgiving were.  I told him I would be home as I didn't think it wise to go out in the ice and snow.  The swelling is such that I can't fit these fat feet into shoes.  He and Lori talked it over and decided to stay home, too, so I would not be alone for the holiday.  Duane is roasting the turkey and making a bowl of scalloped corn, a long time family tradition.

I have several physical therapy sessions scheduled in the upcoming weeks.  The goal is to reduce the swelling so I can wear shoes again.  Minnesota is not a really good place to be in the winter if all you can get on your feet is socks.  :)

So today I will be busy.  There are pumpkin pies to make and stuffing to assemble and dinner rolls to bake.  I think I enjoy the holiday preparations nearly as much as the holiday itself.

This year has been one full of blessings.  I have so very much to be thankful for.  I have reached the ripe, old age of 70, still pretty much intact.  Unlike many, I have a warm place to live, plenty of food to eat and I am surrounded by family who go out of their way to see that my needs are taken care of.  Although my body gives out on me from time to time, my mind still works reasonably well and I am able to spend my days doing the things I love to do.

And I am blessed with blogging friends who visit here.  Your comments bring me happiness and I am grateful for each of you.  I wish for all of my blog friends a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.  May God bless each and every one of you.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Smoothies

No, I am not talking about those green ones that are supposed to be full of healthy stuff.  I'm talking about the fun ones.

I love ice cream.  When I was a kid, the best day of the month was the one where the Schwan's man showed up with a freezer truck full of ice cream.  We didn't get a lot of treats, but Dad always bought one of those big tins of ice cream.  We took turns ordering our favorite flavors.  I nearly always ordered Butter Brickle or Mint Chocolate Chip.  If we were feeling flush, there might be a box of fudgesicles, too.

I can order ice cream when I order my groceries to be delivered.  But the folks who do the actual shopping work between 6 am and 8 am.  My groceries don't arrive at my apartment until between 1 pm and 3 pm.  I don't care how good the packaging is for frozen foods, ice cream partially melts before I get it.

I thought about getting an ice cream maker, but my kitchen space is very limited.  And most ice cream recipes call for ingredients I don't keep on hand, like whipping cream.

Then I found this recipe:

Fruit Smoothies

3 cups frozen fruit
1 to 1/2 cups milk
(add sugar to taste if desired)

Blend in a blender until smooth.

So last month I ordered a variety of fruits - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and bananas.  I did sort of a mix-and-match thing and filled freezer bags with 3 cups of fruit in each.  Last week I gave it a try and made a batch of strawberry, blueberry and raspberry.  Last evening I whipped up some strawberry and banana.  Both were delicious.

The mixture turned out kind of like a cross between a fruity soft serve ice cream and a sherbet.  The recipe makes enough for two big bowls, so I just put the second half in a freezer container and froze it for later.  It isn't rich and creamy like real ice cream, but it is close enough to satisfy that ice cream craving.

I love it when an experiment actually works.  :)

Friday, November 18, 2016

This Girl...



called me a couple of days ago.  She was excited.  She had been participating in tryouts for the gymnastics team at her school.

"Grandma,"  she said.  "I made the team!"

Maddie Mae has been a dancer since she was quite small.  Many of the  dance routines, especially those in her competitions, included some gymnastics moves.  She took some gymnastics classes, decided that she liked gymnastics so much that she dropped the dancing in favor of gymnastics.

Maddie has worked hard to make the team.  She has practice sessions during the week.  Her Dad tells me she works at home to perfect her moves.  Most of the girls on the team have been involved in gymnastics for a number of years.  Maddie became involved about a year ago.  She is the youngest girl on the team.

Am I bragging?  You bet I am!  Grandmas get to do that.  It says so, right there in the contract.

Maddie Mae...I am so very proud of you.  I know how hard you worked to be an excellent competition dancer.  And I know that it has taken more hard work to achieve your goal of being a member of your school gymnastics team.  I am looking forward to hearing all about how you are doing and about the success of your team.

You Go, Girl!!

Love, Grandma

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Surprise Present

So Saturday afternoon there was a knock on my door.  It was my son's friend, Lori.  She was carrying  a cardboard box.  She set the box on my table, grinned from ear to ear and said, "I have a present for you."  When I opened the box I was astonished to find this.



Lori comes over to my apartment from time to time.  She is interested in what I am doing and we chat about all sorts of things.  I suppose that during one of those chats I must have mentioned that after the holidays I would be looking to add a food processor to my collection of kitchen gadgets.  Bless her heart, she ordered one for me.

Yesterday morning Lori made a quick run to the grocery store and brought back two 5 lb. bags of carrots.  They were the baby carrots, so all I had to do was wash them and shred them.  Now understand that I have never before owned a food processor.  If I wanted shredded carrots, they were shredded one by one on a box type shredder - by hand.  The whole 5 lbs. of carrots ran through the processor in mere minutes!  They are in the dehydrators as I type.

Lori also brought me four heads of cabbage - two green and two purple.  I shredded the rest of the carrots and the cabbage, packed them into Ziploc bags and stored them in the fridge.  As one batch of vegetables dries, I have another ready to go on the dehydrator trays.  This is so cool.  :)

When a person has a physical condition like arthritis that causes pain, the tendency is to find alternative ways of doing even the most simple of chores that hurt the least.  This gadget is a godsend for me, for much of the canning and dehydrating I do requires vegetables to be shredded or sliced.

Thank you, Lori.  You have made my life easier and I am most appreciative.