Saturday, October 31, 2009

Out For a Walk

It sounds like such a little thing, to just go for a walk. But when you've been restricted from doing so for a couple of weeks, it becomes a BIG thing! The sun was even out most of the afternoon, so it was quite pleasant. I didn't go very far -- just out to the garbage bins (less than a 1/4 mile) and back. Ponderosa Falls RV Resort is currently not terribly busy, so we are not crowded in near anyone. The roads throughout the Resort are not paved, so you do have to watch some of the rough spots.

This is my little corner of Auntie Violet:

Do note the posture! It's amazing how straight I sit with the brace on.

We slept in this morning as yesterday had been a really big day. Our good friends Leslie and Bill were married this noon at the Donut Shop in Portland, Oregon. We had seriously thought about driving down for the festivities this noon, but decided it was a bit too soon in the recovery process to take that a road trip. But, we are waiting to see the pictures!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Busy Day

It's been a busy one! I had an appointment for my two-week follow-up post-surgery check-up with Dr Powers this morning. He had another set of x-rays taken to compare with the ones they took the morning after surgery. Boy, those are long screws holding the rods in place! He also had the pre-surgical ones. The tech burned a set onto a CD for us to have as well when we're traveling. It's interesting that he does not want me to resume taking aspirin or any oher NSAID (Advil, naproxen) for another six weeks. Evidently the inflammation actually helps with the fusion.
All of the males in my life are telling me that now that I've got the new iPhone, I can tell Forry where I hid the old one! They all think alike!
After the flurries of snow yesterday, the weather was actually pretty nice today -- and much warmer .
Our friends Bill & Leslie are getting married tomorrow noon in Portland at a doughnut shop. We were thinking sort of seriously about driving down, but as tired as I get from just a trip to the doctor's, I guess we'll just have to enjoy it vicariously!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New iPhone!
With no sign of my missing iPhone all week, we finally decded to go ahead and buy a new one. I had the old one long enough that it was out of contract, so we were able to get a new 3Gs for a pretty reasonable price.
It's been a good day today with out recurrance of the awful pain of Tuesday night.
Stopped at Red Robin and had a bowl of onion soup -- I was even able to eat almost half. ;-)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Painful Night, Quiet Day

I was restless when we went to bed last night, tossed and turned, couldn't find a comfortable spot etc. Then about two am my incision area started to hurt and I had pain all down the left leg (the side that didn't hurt before surgery...) into the calf. I quickly took some pain meds, then in an hour took some more along with the muscle relaxant, got all caught up with what I could legally take. Didn't seem to even faze it. Finally called the on-call doc for the Ortho group about six AM. He didn't seem to think there was anything more that I could do and suggested that I wait until the office staff arrived at 8 AM and call again.

Managed to get back into bed, but at an angle and didn't want to move again. Poor Forry ended up sleeping the rest of the night on the couch as there was no room for him in the bed...

Finally talked with Dr. Powers, ruled out anything having gone wrong with the surgery area or incision. He suggested that today should be a VERY quiet day and that I keep the pain meds up to maximum dosage all day. So that's what I've done. It was easy to sleep a lot because I hadn't slept much last night. Might not be as easy tonight. I feel as I've turned my nights and days around.

Pastor Terry stopped by on his way from Spokane for a short visit. Bonnie and Terry were going to bring the babies by after work, but they all woke up with snotty noses and (thankfully!) decided I didn't need to be exposed to colds, so they're going to try again next week..

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 11 Post Surgery

I keep checking the days off and each day things seem to have improved a bit. I noticed tonight -- when I thought there had been NO change today -- that I did not need any help to lift my left foot into the Jeep. A little thing, but another sign that I am stronger.

We were awakened before seven this morning with a phone call from Fed Ex wanting to know how to find us. They had only the General Delivery PO address in Cheney and didn't think that would get them to us with the box they had to deliver. They actually showed up about 2 PM to deliver a box of the most gorgeous pears -- looks like maybe four different varieties. They are all colors from a pale yellow to a bright red. Thank you to my youngest (all be it taller) sister Roxy and her husband Rich! We will certainly enjoy them!

We decided to go over to the nearby Iron Skillet this evening for dinner. It's kind of a shame in some ways as I only seem to be able to eat 5-6 bites before I'm full. But, now I've got a nice take-home box of leftover chicken-fried steak for lunch tomorrow. And I got outside for a short bit!

Monday, October 26, 2009

From Miserable to Great...

Woke up miserable, chilled and hurting this morning! Amazing what a hot shower & drugs can do for one's disposition...
Have laid low the rest of day, just healing.... Forry went into Cheney and picked up the mail. Lots of cards and a care package from Sister Sherry -- NICE!
It rained most of the night and a good share of the day. I sure hope the ranch is getting a good share of it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Foggy Sunday Morning at Ponderosa Falls

It was sunny but partly cloudy when we got up this morning, then the fog came creeping down the hill into the park. It's lifted a bit, but still has that hazy Fall look.

I had wanted badly to go to church this morning, but re-thought the idea after reflecting Dr. Powers comments about just spending my time resting and healing. I'll catch up my farming on Facebook this AM, read for a while (started an interesting new series with a book (The Patriot Witch) that Curt and Sarah brought by when they came to visit at the hospital. I started writing "thank you" cards yesterday, but couldn't seem to even get one finished without falling asleep..) I am getting very good a dozing off mid-sentence!

I actually had a pretty good night's sleep. Forry had bought me a frozen Mac and Cheese dinner that he doctored up a bit with crumbled saltines and pepper. I was actually able to finish almost half of it, so will have the rest for lunch today.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hard day today (I keep picturing that old ad with frying egg that says " this is your brain on drugs") that seems to be what today was like...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Let's Try It Again!

Well, let's see if my fingers and my brain are a bit more coordinated this evening. They certainly haven't been up to this point! I've tried various times to write in my blog, but it just has NOT worked!

On Friday, October 16th I had a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. I was in the Operating Room at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane a little over five hours... (Part of the soreness I am currently having is across the front of my body when the various portions of me rested facedown for this long spell on this fancy table with its cutouts for body parts.) Basically Dr. Powers made an incision atop my lower spine, inserted wire cages to hold apart the vertebrae of lumbar 4 and lumbar 5, then fused them together with sacral 1. Next he put titanium rods from L4, L5 and S1, holding it all together. Then he harvested bone marrow from my hip bone used it to "paint" over the whole contraption in order to promote new bone growth.

I've stuck in a couple of pictures at the end of this blog that show what it looks like. If you've a squeamish stomach, you may not what to look there!

I came home to Auntie Violet on Monday afternoon with some pretty potent pain meds I'm taking every three hours. It's been tough trying to keep the pain under control without becoming so zonked I can't walk or talk.

The stitches are almost internal -- what you see on the outside are steri strips which will gradually peel off.

Can't seem to keep my eyes open -- guess I better quite while I'm ahead.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NO Brain Hand Eye Coordination!

I thought I could sit down at my computer and write a nice long blog about what has happened over the last four days, but it dorsn't seem to work! Guess I wait another double of days. We did get to come home this afternoon.

Much love and thank for the love and prayers that have been coming our way!
Hooray, doc said I can go home today!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One day post- op.

Up out of bed; brace on; sitting up in a chair; phone calls; down to x- Ray; iV out; catheter out; walked down the hall to new room Busy day. Daughter Mar y Mae and Forry here most of the day; son Sean here. Long day. Time for bed! Only hope this makes some sense!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Surgery Day

I'm not too sure how coherent this may end up being, but I will try.
The surgery lasted five hours and the doc seemed pleased.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tomorrow Is Surgery Day

At long last, my back surgery is finally scheduled for tomorrow morning at 9 AM at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. We have to be there at 7:30 AM to check-in, but I've already had three phone calls from various pre-admission people, two from the admissions office and one from a nurse.

Dr. Powers said that the surgery would probably last 4-5 hours, so I have a feeling there will not be any postings to my blog for a day or so...

Yesterday I went to be fitted for the brace I am going to have to wear for the next eight weeks. If nothing else, I should have better posture when it's over! I realized after trying it on, that I cannot fasten my jeans over it. This afternoon Forry stopped by Costco to pick me up a couple of pairs of sweat pants with elastic waists. After all, I don't think it's a good idea to try to leave the hospital without trousers!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Think I'll Keep Him...!

Some of the really neat things about Sundance, Utah are the artisan shops and classes that they have there. They have classes in water color, oil painting, pottery, beading, photography, fly fishing, yoga and silver-smithing as well as activities such as hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

The bad thing about doing the facilitation for the Health Sector Assembly is that I don't get to participate in any of that! They're going on during sessions and while we are writing the paper on Saturday afternoon.
I keep saying that "the next time around I'm going to come back as a spouse!" I think the first time I ever thought that was the first time we were in New Orleans many years ago for a National Rural Health Association convention. I was stuck in meetings while Forry and the other spouses took a tour of New Orleans mansions -- and actually had lunch in one of them!

It's especially bad at Sundance as many of the same folks have been coming for several years and the spouses have gotten to know each other well -- and the ladies all know Forry! He's usually greeted with questions about what he's going to be making this year and they all start comparing plans.

I must admit though, that I've had the pleasure of recieving the results of some of Forry's projects in the past -- and this year was not an exception. Actually, the ring he made this year for me is very, very nice!

He chose a very interesting green sriped stone that he set in silver and sized to fit my middle finger. It is gorgeous!
I think I'll keep him....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Finally -- RAIN!

It has been so dry in eastern Washington -- and then we've had those awful dust storms. The weather forecast said we would get rain today and we did wake to overcast skies. As the afternoon progressed it started to sprinkle. By the time we had everything buttoned up on Auntie Violet and were ready to go, there was actually drips of water coming off her sides. When Forry turned on the windshield wipers, the first few swipes were actually muddy!

The rain was sort of behind us all the way and it was dry when we arrived at Ponderosa Falls RV Park a little after five PM. But it started to drizzle when we went over to the Iron Skillet for dinner and now I can hear it on Auntie Violet's roof. I sure hope it settles in and rains steadily for a couple of days at least!

We are settled in at Site 6B and will be here for the next three weeks at least. I've spent the last hour or two catching up on reading all of the blogs that I missed while we were without wifi and while we were in Sundance. AND catching up with my Facebook farming!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Getting Ready to Move...

Forry's been VERY busy today getting everything outside packed up (table, chairs, BBQ, etc.) so that we can move to Ponderosa Falls (near Spokane, Washington) tomorrow. He also put the things into the storage unit that we're not going to be taking along with Auntie Violet.

I spent most of the day doing laundry and putting stuff inside away. I don't know if I dislike unpacking more or getting everything put back where it belongs. It's so much easier to travel with the motor home then to go somewhere in an airplane!

Towards evening I finally sat down with the computer to hook up the new Cradlepoint wi-fi. It hasn't been THAT long since I set up the other one, but I had a heck of a time trying to remember what I did..! At least I am back on line and able to type a bit faster than I can on my iPhone!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back to Auntie Violet

We had a last visit with Roy and James over breakfast and then took the limo back to the Salt Lake City airport.

Our flight left a little after 11 and with the one hour time change we were back in Spokane shortly after noon. Took the shuttle to pick up the Jeep, then went out to the AT&T store in the Valley Mall to pick up the new aircard.

We splurged on some Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a latte' and a mocha for lunch then headed back to ranch and Auntie Violet. We made a quick stop at the grocery in Ritzville for orange juice and milk and then finally made it home.

Fixed some bacon and scrambled eggs and mushrooms for supper, then I'm off to bed!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Assembly's Last Day

The last day of the Assembly is always a l-o-n-g one! We started with an 8:30 AM general session, then two hours of small group work before lunch. After lunch (sweet potato bisque, sandwiches and salads), all of the facilitators and a representative from each break-out group met to combine the work of all the groups into one paper. We finished up about 4:30 and I came back to our cabin and fell asleep! (and MISSED the 5:30 Protestant service!)

Forry had spent the afternoon first in a pottery workshop (he made two bowls which will be shipped to him after they're fired) and then went to a silver smithing class where he made me an absolutely gorgeous ring!

Tonight was the traditional BBQ buffet -- ribs & chicken, beans, corn on the cob, cornbread, coleslaw, green salad, baked potatoes, and roasted eggplant, onions, & peppers. And hot blueberry cobbler for dessert!

After all that we went back to work and reviewed the draft paper from this afternoon with the whole group. Sometimes it seems the people who never want to help on the afternoon's draft are the ones hell-bent on quibbling and parsing every sentence..! We finally finished up at 10:45.

We did most of our packing tonight as we'll be leaving at 9 AM for the ride down to the Salt Lake City airport.

Friday, October 9, 2009

11 th Annual Assembly

We started off this morning with different perspectives and guesses as to what the final Health Care bill may look like. Interestingly enough, no one seemed to believe we wouldn't get something even if only incremental change.

The main topic of discussion for this year's Assembly is Health Promotion/Disease Prevention. The small group discussion I facilitated this afternoon turned out pretty well -- especially compared to the one I had last year!

Tonight we had a lovely banquet, starting out with shrimp cocktails, then a spring green salad, followed by both steak and salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. Of course, we had to have dessert -- chocolate bowls filled with strawberry mousse and topped with a chocolate covered strawberry; all sitting in berry sauce with little tea cookies.

Tomorrow will be a long day as we'll be working on the final paper after dinner.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Day at Sundance

We didn't get up terribly early this morning, but didn't sleep in either as I knew the massuese (sp?) was coming at 10 AM. After showers, we went over to the deli for lattes and croissants to bring back to the condo for breakfast.

They are re-finishing the floors in the spa, so the staff are bringing their tables and oils and stones to rooms to do massages. I had a lovely 90 minute hot stone massage! If you like massages, the hot stones make them even better!

Later we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain ski areas. The foliage is brilliant red and yellow, but there was snow up on top.

We came back to the condo for a nap before dinner and the start of the Assembly.

It will be a full day tomorrow!

Oops, got my orgs messed up! Try the AMA - Amercan MEDICAL Association!
Health Sector Assembly

Ten years ago, when I was President of the National Rural Health Association, I was invited to Park City, Utah to represent rural health interests at the 2nd Annual Health Sector Assembly. This was a group of about fifty leaders in healthcare to serve as a "think tank" for health policy on a very high level to advise the US Congress and adminstration.

We spent two and 1/2 very intense days together, mostly in small groups, writing a policy paper. Each year since, there has been a core group of 25 of so with another 25-30 new people (usually experts on that year's topic) invited back. The altitude at Park City proved a bit much for some of the attendees, so it was moved to Sundance.

On Saturday afternoon, while the group leaders pull the input from all the small groups together, everyone else gets to go horseback riding, make jewelry, pottery, hike, etc.

After the 3rd or 4th year, they also started paying for spouses and significant others to come as well, so it's now a pretty big group.

4 or 5 years ago when AHA (American Hospital Association) was short-staffed, I was asked to facilitate one of the small groups, which I've done ever since.

I don't get any cash, but I get treated very well --massages, air fare, pedicures, etc. I tried to quit when I retired, but wasn't allowed to...

Last year I asked if we could come up a day early since I end up helping to write the final on Saturday afternoon when everyone else is playing. So that's the Sundance story!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


We drove to Spokane again this morning for a 10 AM flight to Salt Lake City. We were met at baggage claim by the limo driver who collected our bags in his Cadillac Escalade and took us on the forty minute trip up into the mountains to Sundance. I've been coming to the Health Sector Assembly for 9+ years and it amazes me how built up and inhabited it has become.

The meeting doesn't start until tomorrow night so we've got a day to enjoy the resort before I have to get to work.

We ate dinner at the Foundry Grill tonight. I had BBQ pork quesedillas and Forry had calimari. We shared a piece of their incredible warm apple pie with caramel sauce and ice cream. The piece of pie is over three inches tall! (we remembered it from before and knew better then to order two pieces...)

I am going to get a hot stone massage in the morning -- I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

That Darned Windstorm!

Turns out to have been a pretty expensive duststorm! Seems we fried both the Cradlepoint (Internet wi-fi) and the connection to the antenna. Well, actually the power outage got the connector and Forry messed up the wi-fi by trying to hook it to the 12 volt system when it's only a 6 volt. Looks like we'll have to replace the aircard as well. Not a good day at all!

Today we went to Spokane for my pre-op visit with the surgeon, Dr. Powers. I also had to be measured for the brace I am going to have to wear for two months after the surgery.

I am so thankful we have good insurance that will pay for 80% of the $900 cost of the brace! I cannot imagine what it must be like for the millions of people who have no coverage. I think they would just live with the pain rather then get the operation to relieve it...

Tomorrow Forry & I are going to Sundance so that I can facilitate part of the meeting of the Health Sector Assembly.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Catch Up Day

We are going to be gone all week, so spent the day doing laundry and re-organizing after all the busyness of getting ready for the sale.

Since I won't be here for Bible Study on Wednesday, i had brought the video home with me yesterday and took it back over to the church this afternoon.

After yesterday's ferocious winds ad dust storm, it was eerily quiet today. The ground looks scoured down to the layer of Mount St Helen's ash.

I didn't even realize that I did not do a Saturday blog until Tammy mentioned it! I think I was so tired after we had gone to Chicos for pizza with Leslie and Bill and MM's family after the sale, I think I just crashed without even thinking about it...

A Cold Day, But A Good Sale Nontheless!
It was VERY cold Saturday, but people were generous. Preliminary results were a little more then $91,000.00 was raised for world relief! Praise God!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wind and Dust!
It was an ugly day today! The wind blew very hard all night. Auntie Violet was badly buffeted by the strong winds. This morning visibility was less then a quarter mile -- it was a bit scary driving to church. I-90 was closed between Ritzville and Moses Lake and later all roads in Adams and Grant County were closed. The wind finally died about six o'clock this evening.
We lost power this afternoon and there were poles down on Rosenoff Road. We may have lost our boosters for the Internet...

Friday, October 2, 2009

So Far, So Good

The booths are all set up, the signs are all hanging, the change is all counted and ready to go. All of the fencing to steer crowds is up, the outhouses and dumpsters are in place. All is in readiness for tomorrow and the Mennonite Country Auction (

This afternoon we headed for the church about 4 PM and helped unpack and set up the office. Cleon has gotten all of the auction lists copied and ready to go; I've got the auction number tags ready; and Sarah took the list home so that she she could make out the sale slips.

It started to get chilly when the sun went down and by the time dinner was ready for all of the workers, it was just plain cold! I had tucked my cap and gloves into my jacket pocket and I was VERY glad to have them! Diane and crew had fixed pulled pork sandwiches (fresh buns from the Hutterite colony), coleslaw, baked beans (the ones I helped mix up yesterday), and a choice of chocolate or yellow cake for dessert.

I think we're all ready to go -- just need to get into a warm bed and sleep fast. It'll be early tomorrow morning.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Green Bean Soup, Salsa and Maple Syrup...

Forry dropped me off at Diane's house (2.5 miles from Auntie Violet) a little after noon today and she, her sister-in-law Fran and I headed for Moses Lake. We dropped Fran off downtown to do some shopping and Diane and I tried to find the Health Department. Diane is in charge of all the food sales and meals at the Mennonite Country Auction and she had discovered that her food handler card expired yesterday (and mine expired sometime last winter). I was planning to spend the afternoon over at the church helping her and when she said she needed to take the test to get her card, I decided to go along and get mine too.

After doing some asking around we finally found the office (only the phone number is listed in the phone book) in time to review the latest food booklet before it was time to watch their videos and then take the test. It's a good thing we looked at the newer book. I had been quizzing Diane from her older book on the way to town, but they've changed a few things! For example, food must now be cooled to 41 degrees instead of 45 degrees like in the old book and food cannot be more than 2 inches deep in cooling pans instead of 4 inches... But we both aced the test, so one more thing out of the way.

When we got back to the church, Fran and I started putting maple syrup samples in 1 oz little cups with lids while Diane and Didi started putting together six roasters of ingredients for Green Bean Soup. Then Fran and I filled some larger cups with salsa for the taco salads. All of this stuff then goes into the cooler until Saturday.

Diane had invited Forry and I to her house for dinner after we finished at the church. Her brother Jim from Kansas (who is one of the auctioneers) and his wife Fran are staying with them, so we had a good visit with dinner. Diane had put craw fish etoufee' and rice in the oven before we left for Moses Lake, so we had quite a feast!