Monday, April 30, 2018

AFO Update

Well, I went back to Hanger for my appointment. They examined my foot and leg carefully. They cut down the back of the AFO, and then decided to recast the leg for another AFO. I was told to wear the new, cut down AFO for only one hour a day. One hour?!! When you consider the time it takes to put the AFO on and the shoe, and changing it out for one hour a day, it doesn't seem worth it. Meanwhile, I'm back in my old AFO that causes stress fractures. Coupled with my busy lifestyle, it's a pimple on a boil.

I know there's tweaking that has to be done with any orthotic device. But having to remold a new AFO! Come on, really? I try to be a patient soul, but this is my mobility. and I'm dealing with pressure sores to boot. All this hardly instills confidence in this orthotics office. The Hanger in the Golden Isles got nothing but praise from me for 5 out of 6 years living post stroke. This one, not so much. Right now, I wish there was another orthotics place short of driving to Atlanta and takes my BCBS supplemental insurance. They all take Medicare.

Anyhow, the new AFO should be ready May 6th. We'll see how they do. What other choice do I have?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: Is Making Do Good Enough?

At times I wonder why I'm pushing myself so hard, to be better. I've accomplished so much in regaining my life in the almost six years since my first stroke. I'm following my dream although it's not the way I dreamed it. Why isn't making do good enough for me? For me, it's never good enough. I usually become retrospective around my birthday that just passed.

I mean really? Since my stroke, my ministry has changed to where I no longer deal with the general masses. It's now focused on those souls who are facing life altering events. I guess really it has always been there, but now it's more exclusively this. God has sent me on an unexpected journey through this experience, doesn't He always? He has never let me get comfortable or complacent in my lot in life. But then again, I'm thankful for this because I never stray from Him. He's always on my mind and heart as it should be.

My novel writing career is over. I won't say permanently, but for now. I'm still attempting nonfiction daily with iffy results. But I'm attempting to regain that part of my life too.

Why do I push myself to go and look beyond what I can do now? I mean I can knit, spin yarn,attempting to crochet again, learning how to weave cloth, garden, care for small livestock, cook up a storm, preserve what I grow and cook, walk around 1/2 an acre homestead out of two acres with little difficulty, tend a wood stove for heat, and a slew of other things. I'd say I've beaten my stroke except I haven't. I'm making do and blessed by it.

It's God's blessing and curse for me to strive to be better than I am. I know, I know. I shouldn't call it a curse because it truly is a blessing that He's given EVERY soul the desire to be the best they can be. I always say my stubbornness and attitude are my saving Grace when dealing with living post stroke. I just won't settle for good enough. I want the best. Isn't that a human nature thing? I believe most human nature things are from God. An emptiness that only He can fill or inspire to fill.

I should be satisfied with with what I've accomplished so far and quit striving for more? Why do I want more? Life abhors a vacuum. It doesn't stand still. It is constantly changing. Therefore, we are constantly adapting in our lives. Maybe not as great as the challenge of recovering from a stroke, but  we all adapt to our situations in different ways; some small ways and some not so small.

Some things I just straight settle for now. Notice I use the word "now." It's always for now because with practice, I find easier and better ways to accomplish the task. Some things I put off doing because of time constraints or more likely frustration level. But, they are revisited another time like using hedge clippers one handed. I haven't mastered this, but can use them one-handed in a pinch. In a much earlier blog, I used this as an example of being impossible to do. Nothing is impossible, as my tagline reads.
How do you know if you can succeed at something, if you don't try? You don't. That's why I try everything. I don't always succeed the first time or the twentieth.Sometimes, I'll chock it up to I can't do it right now. Again, that qualifier word is used. When I stood up for this first time after my stroke, I was wobbly like a child testing his boundaries. It got easier and better as I practiced. The point is I tried to stand in the first place. Or should I say, the therapist made me. I was terrified, but as I continued to try I gained confidence in my ability and the fear dissipated. This is as it always is. It's fear of the unknown and pushing the envelop of what is.

After all...
Nothing is impossible.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New AFO Woes

Whenever, when living post stroke, you get a new pair of shoes or AFO (ankle foot orthotic) there's an adjustment period. During this period, there's the breaking in of the new stuff. Whether it's learning how to walk again because your leg has to adjust to the position it's now in, or a different balance point, or you have to wear the brace so many hours off and on during this time.

For me, it's been constant adjustments over the past six years. Whether it's been a new shoes , or AFO every year or every couple of years respectively. I've had a new AFO three times and numerous adjustments because I'm living my life post stroke. Nothing every stops me. It might delay me or slow me down, but never stops me from what I want/need to do.

Sounds like a big hassle, doesn't it? Yes, it is and no, it isn't. Anything is better than not being able to walk. So the hassles are worth it to me. Take my broken foot for instance. I'd just bought two new pairs of shoes back in November.

All the adjustment period to the new shoes was done. I was walking okay, sort of, when I ended up with three fractures in my AFO clad foot. So yet another adjustment period was needed because the AFO or the position the AFO had my foot was in caused the fractures. So something needed to be done to correct the problem. First, a mid sole rocker was placed on my right shoe of my affected foot. So I was learning to walk on my heel with this adjustment. Then, the orthotic practitioner cut the heel bump up for my contracted Achilles tendon down by half. This was a major adjustment to contend with. My Achilles tendon was now pulling and trying to stretch with the new adjustment. It sort of felt like I was walking on a sprained ankle at the end of the day. As a last resort, a new AFO was ordered and fitted.

I began a new breaking in period for the AFO. Wearing it for a few hours each day and swapping it out for the old one in between times. I mentioned the fact that it seemed high in the back and it could possibly cause some problems rising with knee movement to my practitioner when I first tried it on. She said she didn't want to cut down the back because the length was more stable. Well, my mistake, I bowed to her judgement. It was only a matter of days, rising up off the sofa, or any chair that was standard height for a nasty cut to form behind my kneecap. I slapped some antibiotic ointment on it and kept an extra large Band-Aid on it to prevent it happening again. I would address the issue with her in a month at my followup appointment.

As time went on, I worked my way up to four hours in the off and on cycle. I noticed redness on my foot and ankle. But the redness went away during the off time of the new AFO. Redness is a stage 1 pressure sore if it doesn't resolve. Yes, my foot was straight. I could walk better. I even lost the tilt my old AFO caused in my balance. I could walk upright with very little of a hobble while wearing the new AFO. I loved it! My balance and gait were almost normal.

My therapist was concerned with the redness and played the twenty questions game with me. This session she was working on my foot and Achilles tendon stretches. She massaged the area of redness trying to reduce the swelling and redness as she stretched.  After an hour of this she talked to me very candidly. I shouldn't wear the new AFO until it was fixed. In one spot of three, she gauged the pressure sore below my ankle at a stage three although it had not broken the outer skin. The blister went deep and it was only matter of a short time that it would break the outer skin if not hours. I'm no stranger with pressure sores. The fact that I now have three spots where I previously had none was concerning.

As a previously insulin dependent diabetic, I still pay special attention to my feet. Because of the aneurysms in both femoral arteries, I pay extra special care of my feet because of poor circulation. Although I talked about amputating my affected leg below the knee, I really don't want to do it this way. I also don't want to go through numerous pressure sores either until a thick callus can form like it has on the side and sole of my affected foot.

So yet another trip to the orthotic place is in order. I want this fixed before I develop worse pressure sores, obviously. Also I paid out of pocket for my shoes adjustments, and a couple hundred dollars (the balance of my deductible) for the AFO. It is laying on the foot of my bed while I'm making do with my old one. The good news is that the pressure sores have healed now. I still get that sprained ankle feel at the end of the day. I also have the foot pain like a knife periodically because I'm wearing the old brace. So 7AM Thursday, I'm making the thirty minute drive via interstate bypass and city driving at rush hour to Hanger...more like 45 minutes. I hope they can fix it.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: If At First You Don't Succeed...

You all know the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Doesn't it ring true in spades living post stroke? I know it does for me. First attempts are often failures. Sometimes I get lucky and I actually get it right the first time, but not often.

I picked the Confucius quote to emphasize why you should keep trying. I know, I know. You once mastered the skills you are trying to learn again, just like me. I have an issue with comparing what I do now with what I could do before my stroke. I'm constantly telling myself to STOP THAT, but the memory still creeps in.  My goal should be to unlock the door to personal excellence now living post stroke.

As teenagers taking driver's ed, we were taught stop, look, listen. Yes, I know I just aged myself yet again. As if my fast approaching birthday wasn't reminder enough. Anyhow, the same applies in this situation.

STOP- beating yourself up with comparing what you could do before your stroke to after. The fact is that is the past and this is today. You can only go forward from this point in time. Sometimes, you are your own worse enemy. I'm very guilty of this. Kicking yourself is detrimental to any successful outcome.This applies to anytime you are sitting on the self pity pot too.

LOOK- you have conquered so much already. I always say to think retrospectively. Think back to when the world as you knew it ended. The first week after your stroke. You can substitute any personal disaster you like here as it pertains to your situation. Was the effort you made a total failure even though you tried hard? Probably not. You succeeded in trying something you hadn't done since your stroke. With each successive attempt, you will notice improvement in a relearned skill.

Who really cares if you can't remember a word and you tell the listening party, "this isn't the right word but." You are communicating with another living soul. That's what counts. With my daughter's aphasia she would describe what the word was that she was trying to say when talking to others. "It's yellow, long, a fruit, monkeys eat it. As the listener, you tell her "a banana?" She would respond, "Yeah, that's it!" and go on with what she was originally talking about. For me and my aphasia it's, "This is not the right word but" and go on with what I was saying. I'm just thankful that I can talk with someone else again. Listening is an important skill. As the survivor, you relearn syntax and absorb new ways of learning/relearning by listening. Granted in the beginning, it's OTs, PTs, and speech therapists you are listening to.

You hear that Jo? Are you listening as well as typing? If not reinforced by the mere writing of these words, I'll hammer them into my psyche during the umpteen editing passes where I'll read this a dozen times before publishing it.

"Thanks, Jo. I needed to remind myself to stop, look, and listen more."
"You are welcome." <grinning>

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: It's the Little Things That Count

There must be a thousand little things that I now do as second nature without thinking in living post stroke. I got to thinking about them when I got my shower this morning. Some I've mentioned here eons ago and others I have not.  It may just help someone out there. The point is that I took the time after my stroke to think these through before doing them just after my stroke almost six years ago. Now, they are habits.

I got my clothes out of the dresser and stacked them in the order I would need to put them on after I dried myself. I have a storage basket within easy reach of the shower chair for my stack of fresh clothes. I just push it between the tub and the commode when I'm not showering. It also holds my extra pouf, shampoo, and liquid bath soap. I make my own and reuse a previously bought pump bottle of liquid soap. Don't you just hate finding you are out of something in the middle of a shower?

In the old days, BS (before stroke), I'd get dressed from the top down. My bra, shirt, underwear, pants, socks, shoes. Now I dress just the opposite. I need my AFO to stand and balance so my legs and feet get dried first while I'm on the shower chair. I'll don my socks first. My AFO is next while I'm still seated. My socks are on the top of the pile. Next I'll grab my panties. Once they are pulled knee high, I'll insert the urinary pad and grab my pants. I always lay my pants flat against my body the front side up to stop me from putting them on backwards. Too many times have I put them on backwards and didn't realize it until I was pulling them up. I'll pull these up to clear my feet and also about knee high. Then, I'll stand up to pull both the rest of the way up being careful not to get my panties in a wad.  I'll put on my shoes next for better balance. When buying new jeans I make sure of a couple of things before I order them: they are elastic waist (it's faster and easier to get them off on my double Lasix days), they have pockets (preferably deep pockets since I don't carry a purse) and lastly that they are flared or boot cut (easier to pull on over my AFO).

Oh, to make reaching those hard to reach spots, I use a  Pouf on a handle.I found mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. One side is nylon mesh and the other is a loofah for those spots that really need a good scrubbing. I'd be lost without one of these. I can used a washcloth in a pinch, but this one adaptive tool takes most of the aggravation out of bathing with one hand on a shower chair. When I go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, I always buy two of these at a time. The nylon mesh is notorious for coming apart and nothing is worse than being halfway through a shower when it unravels on you.I do miss standing up in the shower.

I'll head over to the sink to finish drying my hair and comb it out of my eyes. Notice I haven't put on my over the shoulder boulder holder or shirt yet. At the sink, I put on deodorant and prepare to brush my teeth. I had bought a Spin Brush (battery operated toothbrush) prior to my stroke. Speaking of deodorant, a person asked me how I applied it one handed. This person recently had surgery and was one handed while she healed and said her wrists wouldn't bend enough to apply it. .First, I use a stick style, solid deodorant.  I'll twist the bar all the way up, and then lean forward until I can reach the spot it needs to be applied to. I'll then roll the stick back down and recap it.

I usually make a mess brushing my teeth. I wish I could blame it on my stroke, but I had this problem BS. I find with a the battery powered toothbrush it's easier to apply toothpaste to because it stays where I put it. I do use Rebecca's trick with the washcloth when I don't have mine. In case you were wondering, this same toothbrush is still going strong after 7 years of twice daily use. How's that for an endorsement? Now, the small trick I do with the toothpaste is I use the edge of the sink to push out the amount of toothpaste I need and then apply it to my toothbrush. Sure, I could just squeeze the middle of the tube, but I'd have to straighten it out eventually, so I save myself a step. I've finally used all the removable cap tubes of toothpaste. Yeah! Now, I've got the flip caps. 

All the time spent doing this partially unclothed isn't an oversight. There is a method to my madness. While I'm doing these other things, my hair and back have a chance to dry. Even though I've used a towel on these areas, any dampness will cause my bra and shirt to wad up. I've almost eliminated this problem by doing the other things first. Now, I'll don my bra and shirt. Since my stroke, I've eliminated the standard over the shoulder boulder holder for yoga crop tops. My twins are rather substantial and a sleep bra just doesn't provide enough support. While the yoga top doesn't lift and separate like a conventional bra will, it does offer lined, firm support and they are cheaper than regular bras too. At my age, I'm beyond caring about having perky breasts. The gardens, chickens, and rabbits don't seem to mind at all.Yes, I know how to fasten  a regular bra and put it on. I had an excellent occupational therapist who showed me how, but I'm beyond all of that. I  am as I am and I just want them controlled to lessen the chance of them blackening my eyes.

Now, for me, donning compression knee-highs one-handed is an inch worm game. I will usually put on regular knee highs after a shower to let them absorb any extra moisture. Once I've done everything else, I'll head to the bedroom and put these on. Yes, it means undoing my shoes, AFO, and socks, but now my legs are really dry so it's easier. Baby powder works wonders for getting these on one- handed. I'll sprinkle some on my bare feet and legs. The only down side is the drying effect the powder has.

I usually start with my affected side first because it's the hardest. Remember my spastic toes? My big toe points up and the rest either splay out or curl under depending on which muscles in my calf and foot are affected. Getting a regular sock on is trying, but a compression sock would try the patience of Job. But still it has to be done. So I corral my toes one at a time if need be and slide the sock over the ball of the foot smoothing as best that I can. The next major obstacle is getting the compression sock over my heel, then ankle. A shoe horn works wonders, but it's hard on the stockings. I'll roll the sock up my calf smoothing as I go. If there is any bunching, I have to straighten it before going and farther. It can take upwards of fifteen minutes getting this one sock on, and then I repeat it on the other side. But my functioning foot and leg can flex to ease the process. My old cardiologist once told me that I needed thigh high compression hose, but I looked at her as if she was insane. I told her that I'd only wear them if she came every morning and put them on me. She dropped the subject and instantly decided that knee highs were good enough.

Moving on to my favorite and cleaning.

When cooking I now use a variety of gadgets. My absolute favorites are my Ulu knife (Thank you, John!) and my Tornado can opener. Both are cheap enough (under $10) rather than the specialty adaptive varieties. I also use a Santoku knife. The Tornado can opener is an As-Seen-On-TV battery operated can opener. A little gimmicky but it works. I also paid good money for a Swedish Adaptive cutting board just after my stroke, but now I opted for regular cutting boards mostly. I just use the groove cut into the meat carving side to hold rolling vegetables like the first cut of an onion or carrots. I found this trick when I picked a half bushel of peaches from a neighbor's orchard two years ago. The fruit was too soft for the pins in my Swedish cutting board to hold it steady to pit the peach. Now it's my go to way of cutting any fruit or vegetable.

My other gadget that I love is my Vidala onion chopper. I can quite a bit of vegetable soup each year. Pickle relish with the fine grate is fast. I can chopped three quarts worth of zucchini and onions inside of thirty minutes. It's a fast, easy way to get uniform chopped vegetable. Making tuna or egg salad sandwich filling is a breeze with this thing. Although chopping hard boiled eggs posed a messy cleaning issue for this chopper, I did find a solution for this, a baby bottle brush that we use to clean the rabbit water bottles. Even my stepmother uses this chopper for potato salad. Yes, a food processor will do the same thing but it takes electricity and I don't have one of those. I may eventually break down and buy one this year though because grating homemade soap for laundry detergent has burned up two blender motors. I see them all the time at second hand stores. It almost makes me have doubts about buying one.

For cleaning the bathtub and dishes, I swear by Scotch-Brite sponges. They are worth every penny I pay extra for them. They'll last twice as long as the other brands which actually makes them cheaper in the long run. I'll keep one in the kitchen for dishes and one in my bathtub. Rectangle ones are the best (no curved corners) to get into corners.

When I shower, after I finish with the bathing part, I'll use my feet to scrub my bathtub with this scouring sponge. I don't have a back to my shower chair so I can pivot around to get the other half of the tub.  Before I thought of doing this, scrubbing out the bathtub was a dangerous proposition. I'd have to climb in with sponge and cleaner, stoop down into the slippery mess and scrub. Many times, I slipped and fallen or almost fallen doing this chore.

My February 4th blog, "It's Overwhelming" brought me a slew of emails on how I hand wash dishes. I answered each and every one of you, but thought this might help others too. Once again, it's Scotch-Brite and Dawn to the rescue. Try as I might, I can't reproduce a dish detergent that works as well. Smart shopping by using coupons and sales together, I'll usually pay less than 10 cents a bottle. I can't make it for that cheap. I strongly dislike oily feeling water while washing dishes. Now being one-handed, oily dishes mean slippery, broken dishes.

similar to a hand holding the pot
How I wash pots is I wedge the pot handle into the left or right corner of the sink and pull the sponge towards me. The downward pressure of me using the sponge in this fashion wedges the handle firmly in place so it doesn't spin or move while I'm scrubbing. I lift it out of the water to check that I've gotten the inside clean, and then do the outside the same way. I'll do the same with baking dishes and loaf pans. The downward motion of the sponge keeps it from moving too much. For pie pans, I'll hold the pan under water with the palm of my hand, and use the sponge and my fingertips to scrub outwards. Then, I'll spin the pie pan to clean another section until it's clean. I should mention at this point that I do get splashed with soapy water when I do dishes, but it gets done. I wear an full apron or change my t-shirt after I'm through.

For plates, I use rubber shelf liners or one of Mel's thick dishcloths in the bottom of the sink to makes the job go faster. The dishes don't spin and move as I wash them.

These are just a few tricks and tips I've learned living post stroke. There are tons more, but they'll have to wait for another day.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: A Matter of Faith

Oops I hit publish before I entered the date.

 It being Sunday and I feel like preaching a bit from my living post stroke computer. So if you do not believe in God, He has this Word for you. Please don't post negative comments here. Send me an email. Thank you.

It's hard to believe I'm approaching the six year anniversary of my first stroke. What a journey it's been so far. And yet, I'm still have faith of a full recovery. Huh? Why is that? From reading your blog, you've had nothing but problems since your stroke. How can you still believe God loves you? He allowed this to happen to you. How could a loving God do this to you? Why hasn't He healed you yet? You're a minister. Surely your testament of healing would bring hundreds to Him. I read it almost every week in emails.

You've all heard that "God works in mysterious ways." What's so mysterious? Have you asked Him? Yes, repeatedly. He never answers me. Sure He does. Are you listening? Are you in a receiving mode of brain activity? Maybe, you aren't crossing your left eye, sticking your tongue out of the right side of your mouth, while wiggling your ears with your head cocked at just the right angle. Sometimes you feel like you have to do some asinine antics or rituals to make sure God is listening or it seems that way. You don't, by the way. Just talk to Him as you would a loved one or close friend. That's what He really wants. Do you only talk to him when the stuff hits the fan like a petulant child? I'm guilty of being a petulant child at times, but not this instance. Are you a nagging wife where God is concerned? Are nags ever listened to or a whiny child?

For me, God foretold that this would happen to me. I was early in my walk of faith. Although I received many blessings, I also had some pretty hefty travails. This continued for decades as I grew in faith and trust. Each time the travails got harder and harder. I might have wobbled from the blows, but I remained faithful as did God. Sounds like a parent teaching a child to swim, doesn't it. Believe me, I didn't understand at the time I just rolled with the punches. Each time I got stronger and stronger in faith. I never doubted the the rewards (blessings) with the triumph of the travail.

Meanwhile, I thanked Him for His mercy when it was over. It's darn right impossible to see blessings through a storm. It's only in retrospect that most can feel how He carried us through the storm. Even the faithful can be shaken up one side to the other. I've had my own inklings with this over the decades.  I'm only human. It's allowed. Just don't make it a life long ambition.

I've had more travails, over the my decades of faith, than anyone should be allowed to go through even at birth, but God had a plan for my life. He would allow me to be His mouthpiece. I used the phrase, "Scorched, but not consumed" in one of my novels. That's it in a nutshell. Through my travails, I've been scorched around the edges, but have not been consumed by them because of my faith. When I tell others what I have done and what I've endured in my life, they are amazed. They can't believe that so much could happen to one person and she still wears a smile, and professes faith. But I do, not always, but 98% of the time.

It wasn't until 2015, that someone gave me the name of my calling...a martyr. Like Job (thank God I'm not Job) in the Bible, God is using me to show His love and faithfulness to others in the present day. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill.  Does it sound like I'm bragging? Believe me, I'm not. Nobody would want these shoes, I don't. He uses me as an example. Remember, I believe in leading by example. I can walk the walk and talk the talk. My perspective is focused, Been there (Am there). Done that (Going through it). Can I show you the way? How I cope? I never force feed anyone. God opens doors and windows even if it's just a crack you push through.

The Lord is my shepherd. May the love and peace of the Lord be with and upon you.

Nothing is impossible.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: Healing not Healed Yet Setback

Happy Easter and April Fool's Day rolled into one!

Just when I thought my foot was healed, I found out it's not the hard way. It's been a couple of weeks that my healing broken bones in my foot has virtually been pain free. What with the new AFO and rocker sole on my affected foot's shoe, I thought I was out of the woods. I've actually been pretty good about staying off of it. Even though it has felt better.

As it happens too often on the homestead, we had a calamity that took both of us to fix. A couple of the cattle panels that make up the roof of our rabbitry slipped their shelf. The brackets we had screwed in to hold it in place came loose. Thus the roof caved in on one side. But worse than that, the five male rabbit cages were attached to the cattle panels suspending them off the ground.

I said that I've been good and I have. I've only been out to the rabbitry twice since I broke my foot. So now, I looked at the five cages with rabbits in them tilted to a 45 degree angle. Those poor rabbits! I helped Mel by supporting the cages as she released the cables. It took both of us to lower the 15' section of rabbit cages to the ground so that they were level once more. Then we began transferring the bucks to the outdoor hutches on the other side of the house ( a good 80' walk each way). We removed the remaining screws from the rail which held the cattle panels and reattached them. Finally we zip tied the panels to the pallets so this wouldn't happen again. By  the time we finished all of this my foot was screaming at me. The old twisting knife pain was back. I don't know if I rebroke the original bones or new ones.

Now instead of brushing out these rabbits, we are going to have to shear them. We'll lose all that fiber. The reason- Broody(Gimpster) chicken and her sister had made their home on the tops of the cages. The hens like being on top of the cages because the roosters leave them alone. They just hop on  the straw bales we house in the rabbitry for easy access to the top of the cages. Now chickens aren't toilet trained. They go wherever they feel like it. Not to mention their feed and watering bowls were all up there with them.

We placed metal oil pan drop trays on top of the cages to catch all of it. Well, when the roof gave way, all those trays dumped into the buck cages dousing them with all that poop and everything else. Of course being rabbits, they couldn't get it off no matter how hard they shook themselves. The shaking only cause that poop and straw to get embeded further in their hair. The five bucks look pitiful! We would wash them but their fur is so fine that it would mat against their skin. So we lose a little over four pounds of fiber. At the selling price of $8 an ounce... you figure out how much this additionally cost us.

We've just chocked it up homesteading. Things like this happen in life when you least expect it. Living post stroke doesn't make it any easier. Recovering from broken bones and Mel's trigger thumb which is now reinjured also, just makes for a bad turn of events. We're in bad shape for the fast approaching springtime busyness.

So once again, I'm off my feet again. I will be helping Mel rehang the rabbit cages after some minor adjustments and a good cleaning. The bucks will return to the rabbitry after we shear them. Mel with her little scissors and me with my mustache trimmer.

It's kind of amazing that while I don't play well with scissors, I can handle a battery powered trimmer with great accuracy. The bunnies do tend to move more with the vibration, but I can hold them pretty securely by pinning them down with my affected arm. Except for their fuzzy ears and their nails, I can shear a rabbit without cutting them once unlike Mel with her scissors. Mel is responsible for their ear and nail care for all the rabbits.

While we're at it, a good cleaning of the rabbitry is in order. I'll do what I can, but it's going to up to Mel for most of the grunt work this year. The deep bedding needs to be raked out and piled up to decompose further. But I can scatter flakes of fresh straw under the cages scooting my rollator around once it's cleared.  If my broken foot has taught me anything, it's the need for a cleared and possibly a matted surface down the center of the rabbitry. I'm thinking the rubber mats like horse stalls have in them. They are 4x6 so four of them would work perfectly. We decided to expand the rabbitry another 4' long. We wanted a larger area for the rabbits to get sunshine and a "free-range" area that they would be protected in. The 3' section we currently have for this is taken up by food storage bins (plastic garbage cans). They hold the sprouting grains and seeds (corn, black oil sunflower seeds, barley, wheat and oats) and commercial, organic feed for both the chickens and the rabbits. We use the commercial feed as back up.

So while I'm still healing I'm taking it slow. In about a month, I'll be setting seed for the transplants to go into our straw bales. They've been "cooking" (decomposing) since October. Their centers should be full of composted material to feed the plants. Notice how I'm only mentioning things I can do while seated. I plan once again to be good. Hopefully, neither one of us have another setback in healing.

Nothing is impossible.