Sunday, July 26, 2020

Sunday Stroke Survival: Help to Keep Walking on MY Feet

As y'all know I'm waiting on yet another approval for a new AFO. These braces are just too expensive ($1500) to pay out of pocket for one.  Don't we all have a bag of money just lying around collecting dust. I don't know anyone on Social Security Disability that could afford it. So I call, and sit and wait.

Actually, I don't just sit around. I'm "working and walking" here. I've got critters and a garden to tend, and a harvest to process so we can eat. It just makes economic sense and cents. A $3.00 packet of seeds produces enough green beans to feed us for year. I don't know how groceries prices are in your neck of the woods, but you just can't buy that many pounds of fresh, cans or bags of frozen green beans for $3.00 these days even on sales. I'm talking about 208 servings worth of this one vegetable for us two widow folk on this homestead for a year's worth. That's not counting the beans that go into soups, stews, etc. Alright, I spent $9 on three packets of seeds, but even at that, you'd be hard pressed to do it.

The chickens provided us compost to feed the plants and their egg shells provided the calcium so the tomatoes and squashes do not get bottom rot on them. Heck, the chickens even scratched it all into the soil two inches deep for me. They more than pay for their keep. They feed us with eggs and meat. There's even enough eggs to sell to get some pennies in our pockets. Plus, they offers us their daily chicken "tv" show from dawn to dusk for our entertainment. We love to watch the Silkie, the smallest hen and is the lowest in the hen's pecking order, bosses the rooster around the yard. Now that the rooster has all the girls (16 hens) to look after, he doesn't have the time to attack me. Meanwhile, he's loving all the attention. They're like all those girls fawning and fainting over Elvis Presley... in my day. "Elvis, oh, Elvis!" Yes, I was one of those girls too.

Mel swears that all the dinosaur sounds for the  Jurassic Park movie was made by chickens. After ten years of raising chickens, I can believe that. But they are one of the critters I care for, feed, water and gather their eggs each day. So I'm up and doing. The quail aren't as entertaining.

While waiting on Medicare to making a decision, I'm changing my AFO between AFO #1, #2, and #3 about every three hours just so I can keep walking and doing. Before the sun comes up, I'm making bread and breakfast. Sun up, I'm in the garden weeding, watering, tending, and harvesting the crops trying to beat the heat of the day. I'm tending to the cats, dogs, and chickens. Lastly, I'm preserving the harvest for the rest of the day. There's harvest that goes into the dehydrators, processed for canning and freezing, and making our main meal of the day.

While processing the vegetables, I've got my AFO off while I'm seated on a stool. I've got my affected leg and foot propped up n the counter. Not very lady-like or sanitary, but it works. It's not higher than my heart, but it's the best I can do for an hour or two. The brace gets (now I'm starting over with AFO#1 again. The main difficulty is that my foot starts hurting after 30 minutes, and I have to stop and change braces. By the time dinner is fixed, all my braces hurt my foot. I'll plop myself into a chair uttering a small, "ouch" with every step along the way. Changing braces only gets me five minutes of wear now. I make it up the two steps from the back porch into the house after our television time (2 1/2 hours) Currently, we are watching "Arrow" and the new season of "The Protector" having finally watched the last "Supernatural." I pull my shoe off and loosen my AFO as I sit in front of my computer to blog, watch YouTube, and answer emails. At this point I'm willing my foot not to hurt until I take my bedtime medication...not that it relieves the pain, but I can finally take the brace off and go to bed. It's the only way my foot stops hurting.

But it's not off to a peaceful slumber yet, I pry the AFO off my foot. My foot is now red and swollen. I pull off my sock and survey the damage the day has wrought on my foot, ankle, and calf. I grab my lotion and massage all the really red pressure points of all the AFOs. I'll continue this until the circulation is restored and the redness dims to a rosy pink. I'll give the unaffected leg a cursory rubdown because the diabetic neuropathy is raging with redness and the customary pins and needles. I know if I don't do this, I'll be rudely awakened with leg cramps within a few hours. My foot needs at least four hours of no pressure to stop hurting. How do I know this? It was trials and errors at various time lengths between bathroom trips. Six to eight hours of heart lower than my foot and no AFO is the rare occurrence but it's the best with my schedule and bladder.

It's been a month already. I've been calling Hanger every two days to check on progress of which there is none. Can I do less while waiting? Yes, but I'd be thoroughly bored and stir crazy like last year. I also can't afford to slow down and eat this winter neither. HELP! What else can I do? I can't ask Mel to take over my job too. Her to-do list is as long as mine.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. "Chicken TV" is spot on. We have only 5, but each one is entertaining alone, and their interactions are priceless. I sit out with them while they range free—we have coyotes, and I figure my presence will keep the girls safe.

    I'm sorry you have such problems with your AFO's, one after another... Sometimes we have to just do what we have to do, pain or not, although it seems as though you have more than your fair share. I hope you hear from Hanger soon.

    1. Barb, After calling them (harassing the daylights out of them) three times a week, they called me on friday. I have an appt on the 31st to have my foot and leg casted again.

      Coyotes are basically chickens. If you're bigger than them they won't approach. I would suggest a large barking dog that has free range at night. Nnyus has only attacked them twice and now, they give our property a wide berth. But then with the "community" dog pack all running together at night (5 big dogs), we hear them yipping and howling in the distance.


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