Back on my Feet

Frankenstein shoe

The saga of my broken foot continues.  The month off my feet has passed, aided by a bout of the flu that left me too ill to get out of bed for the final two weeks.  I did not accomplish all of the great things I had planned to tackle during my sojourn, but am thrilled that my doctor has given me permission to lose the crutches and knee scooter, at least for now.

I wheeled in on the knee scooter for my one-month-off-the-foot check up and x-ray, and was told the discouraging news that nothing had changed.  He then said that he really wants to do surgery to remove the chip but had decided to listen to the other doctors whose council he had sought and would give me some time to try healing without drastic measures.  Instead of the walking boot I asked for, he recommended a new pair of special shoes. They are basically leather casts that I can take off when I go to bed, similar to those old fashioned white leather baby shoes so many of us forced our toddlers to wear back in the day.  Thankfully, they don’t look like those old fashioned baby shoes!

The specialty store that my doctor recommended only carries the shoes in a medium width. Having a very narrow foot, I once made the mistake of buying a regular width shoe and allowing the shoe store to “pad” the inside to snug it up.  Not only was it miserably uncomfortable, my toes bruised from sliding down to the end of the shoes.  I have found that  most shoe stores do not stock narrow widths.  Regular and wide, yes, but not narrow.

I talked to a salesman on the phone and he did his best to encourage me to let him pad the shoes, because “most people who say their feet are narrow, really aren’t THAT narrow and can wear a regular width.” The shoes I needed were $165 a pair, and although he could order me a pair in a narrow width, it would be a full two weeks before they arrived.  I needed a pair of narrow shoes now.

After thanking  him I pulled out my computer.  Amazon happened to have one of the two recommended styles in narrow and my less favorite  style was on sale for $83 a pair.  Economy won over fashion.  I ordered them and they arrived in two days.  As much as I like supporting small businesses, I couldn’t justify the two week delay and the huge price difference.  Score one for big business.  Sorry, little guy.

These special shoes do not flex.  I call them my Frankenstein shoes and feel like Herman Munster clomping around in them.  But, I am able to walk around my house, stand, and go up and down stairs the traditional way!  I am able to cook, clean, and live my life again.  My feet get very tired after I have been up and around for most of the day;  I suspect it is from adjusting to the new properties of the shoe and  to being back on my feet.

My doctor made it clear  that I am not released to walk for exercise, and  I have noticed the ankle of my broken foot feeling much weaker.  Driving around the block burned  like fire.  When I first put on the new shoes, I felt like I was walking with a small stone in my shoe about where the chip has broken off.  Now, after a week of wearing them, I no longer notice the “stone.”

Per the doctor’s orders, I am not to go barefoot.  I do not need a brace for sleeping or showering, but need to get my shoes on as quickly as possible and wear them all day long.

After another month, I am to report in to the doctor and he will assess whether or not he gets to do surgery.  Based on recommendations I have heard, I am in no hurry to rush down that road.  I am mobile and I am confident that it IS in the process of healing.

I am also a firm believer in the power of prayer and different prayer warriors have prayed specifically for a healing touch on my foot.  God has supernaturally healed my body before, as well as the bodies of other family members, and I am confident that He will do it again.  The Bible says “Blessed are the feet of those who bring the Good News.”  This little setback is just an occasion for my God to dazzle the doctors when He shows His stuff.

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Farewell to “The Farm”

We always called my Grandparent’s house “The Farm.” Purchased in the early 1940’s, it was home to their six children and their home until they died. It was a beacon of love for the growing extended family and housed not only holiday celebrations, but an every Sunday family tradition during the school year when everyone gathered  for Sunday afternoon football, games of euchre, and heaping helpings of Grandma’s goulash, green beans, corn and homemade bread.

The house was already old when my Grandparent’s bought it. The stone basement walls, the tree-timber beams and hand made nails presumably were produced from the land itself. When my mother lived there as a child it was heated by a wood stove in the kitchen.  Water was hand pumped from a well in the backyard. There were no indoor toilet facilities and baths were taken in a galvanized laundry tub with water heated on the stove.  Modern plumbing didn’t happen until around 1948.  Heat was provided by a coal burning furnace during most of my childhood, only replaced with a modern furnace under Grandma’s extreme protest some 40 years later.

The 10 acre  plot of land ran all the way down to the river, and hosted a pine forest, planted by my Grandmother in hopes to sell Christmas trees. They quickly grew to a tall dense forest, but supplied fresh trees for most of the family every year.  All that remained of the original apple orchard was one surviving tree in the cow pasture when I was a kid; the rest destroyed by frequent lightening strikes. Several black walnut trees grew in the backyard, producing smelly green balls that turned your hands black. Grandpa used to gather them and strew them in the driveway, collecting the treasured nuts once the hulls broke down. Winter nights were spent digging the meat from the shells as he listened to the radio or watched television.

My earliest memories of “The Farm” included an old wooden barn, which blew down in one of Michigan’s violent windstorms. It was replaced by a neat cement cow barn, with one large box stall for Grandma’s pet cow, Josie. There was a pen for Petunia, the pig, next to the run where my Uncle’s hunting dog Judy lived. Freddy, the shaggy farm dog, lived in a doghouse under one of the walnut trees.  I grew up drinking fresh raw milk, straight from the cow, and strained through a cheesecloth and enjoying the best home-made dill pickles on the planet.

Grandma grew a huge vegetable garden and filled the land around the house with giant, brightly colored flower beds.  She cursed the weeds and worked the loamy black soil early every morning. Afternoons were usually spent canning,  using her produce to host  Sunday family meals.

“The Farm” and the people who lived there formed me.  Although they are long gone, their memories live on.  I still make Grandpa’s favorite cake, a yellow sheet cake frosted with vanilla icing and topped with shredded coconut.  One bite takes me back to visits in Grandma’s sunny kitchen, listening to the grown ups talk and playing with Grandma’s ever present kittens.  Gingerbread  Windmill cookies have the same effect.

Grandma carried most of her recipes in her head and shared her knowledge as special gifts.  I treasure her baked beans, mushroom and cabbage, and potato salad recipes.  One bite is all it takes to erase the years.  Like her, I am an avid home canner and love to cook from scratch, just as Grandma did.  And, I love having a cat.

Grandpa died in 1972,  and Grandma in 1995.  After Grandma’s death, the farm was sold to people who built a large new home back toward the river and the original farm house was abandoned by the new owners.G. Small homestead 2 Continue reading