Remembering a Childhood Friend

Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.” – Unkown


My maternal grandparents owned a farm in Patton, MO when I was a young un. My grandpa farmed, raised sheep and had some dairy cows.

Across the holler from him lived a brother and sister by the name of Bob and Bert Hinson. Now Bob was a colorful ole gentleman. It was said he made some of the best moonshine that ever crossed your lips. I never grew tired of his stories and he never hesitated to entertain me.

On a ridge that overlooked his farm was a large grove of pines. Bob loved to sit in the middle of the grove, roll him a smoke and listen to the singing of the wind as it swirled through the pines.

I remember during one of my visits Bob asked me if I would like to join him in a visit to the ridge among the pines.

We made our way across the pasture and started our climb to the top of the ridge. Even though he was in his 70s you couldn’t tell it. He climbed the steep ridge with ease.

Once we reached the top we made our way to the center. The sound of the wind singing in the grove filled me with peace. Bob sat in his usual place on a fallen tree in the grove. Once settled in he pulled a rolling paper from his shirt pocket and a can of Prince Albert and filled it with his tobacco of choice.

He opened the Prince Albert can and carefully poured the tobacco into the paper and rolled him a smoke. He lit it and took a long drag. We sat there not speaking a word. We just sat there drinking in our surroundings and the symphony being played by the wind upon the pines. There was a great calm and life was good.

Bob finally took his last drag on his smoke and carefully put it out. He turned to me and said remember this boy, when you are one with nature you have everything you need to enjoy life. He then arose from his perch and we headed back to the house.

That was my last visit with my friend. He passed away shortly thereafter in his sleep. I often wonder what was on his mind that day. Did he know that his visit on earth was coming to a close? I am forever honored that he shared that time in the grove with me on that day. As far as I know that was his last visit to the pine grove. RIP my friend. You are still in my heart.

Released At Last

2 weeks after surgery

Today was my last visit to the doctor’s office. My surgery was on October 7. It seems to be a success. No pain except for the healing pains.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience with my complete ankle replacement so those having the same surgery could know what to expect.

I have to admit the first 3 days after surgery was tough. I had never been in this much pain. What had I done? Am I crazy?

Finally the pain began to subside. It was at least bearable. The crutches were a nuisance. Everything I did was a chore. Nothing was easy.

When he moved me up to the walking boot life was grand. I could do a lot more. I was even graining the horses. I did some trout fishing. The day after Christmas I graduated to a regular shoe.

This presented some problems. I was having to deal with a lot of swelling. Now I had to figure out how to get my foot in the shoe. Another problem was I was unable to use those muscles for 12 weeks and they were very weak. That made it hard to walk.

I take it day by day. There is improvement every day. It could take 8 months to a year to completely heal.

Would I do it again knowing what I know now? Absolutely! The benefits outweigh the tough times after surgery.

I hope this helps those who are considering going through the surgery. it’s a tough decision. I am glad I chose surgery.

The Road to Recovery

Fly Fishing Therapy

One bad habit we seem to have is taking life for granted. Take my mobility away from me and I become lost. I panicked and I didn’t function right. So you can only imagine how excited I was when the doctor told me I could mothball the crutches. Woohoo! Yes! I am close to recovering my full mobility! One step at a time.

I decided to celebrate by visiting Lakeview Lake located in the Bonne Terre City Park. I arrived at 8 am and I am here to tell you it was the beginning of a beautiful day. The temp had already climbed into the 40s. I had purchased a new Orvis Encounter fly fishing combo and I was itching to try it out.

As I was working the fly outfit I realized I was still pain free. Life is good unfortunately the fishing wasn’t. There are benches that were installed around the park so I decided to park my fat arse on one of the benches and become a nature watcher. I had some ducks and geese who were eager to entertain me. They put on a performance worthy of an Emmy. I watched them for a good 45 minutes until the geese decided to take flight and terminate the performance.

I grabbed the Orvis and began fishing again but to no avail. The fish obviously weren’t willing to cooperate.

One reason I chose Lakeview for my first outing was because there is a paved walking track around it. It provides easier walking than the perimeter of the lake and I didn’t know if I would still have a hitch in my git along or if it would be a good day.

After 40 years of chronic pain I wasn’t really sure what to expect on my first outing. In the back of my mind every time I took a step I was sure I was going to be overtaken by a painful step but it never happened. Not one bad step. A little faith goes a long way when you believe.

I didn’t catch any fish but it was a very enjoyable day. I know I have a long way to go before I am completely healed but I am off to a damn good start.

Eight Weeks and Still Healing

My ankle on December 4, 2020

I had a doctor’s appointment on November 20 and my doctor was sick and had to cancel. I made a new appointment for November 23.

I went in anticipating that I would lose the crutches. Wrong! I would have to suffer through another 2 weeks of crutches. I was so disappointed.

Had doctor’s appointment today. Had to get another x-ray. The doctor said he was very happy with my progress. I am at 8 weeks and ready to ditch the crutches. He finally told me I could get rid of the crutches but have to use the boot for 3 more weeks. I was ecstatic when he told me.

When he attached my new ankle to my medial malleolus, I think that’s what he said, splintered and he had to put another screw in and the x-ray showed it was healing really well. That was some really good news.

The first three days I had a lot of pain. Now that that is behind me I can honestly say I don’t have any more pain. I wake up in the mornings and my ankle isn’t hurting I lie there thinking am I awake or am I dreaming.

All things considered would I go through everything again? Yes I would. For the first time in 40 years I can take a step without pain.

Ankle on 10/16/2020

Slight Setback

New Walking Boot

Had my second post op doctor visit on 10/30. It was 23 days after the surgery. I was hoping to get the cast off and to be able to walk but it wasn’t going to happen this visit.

I got to the doctors office (4th floor) to only find out I was supposed to have the x-ray done first so it was off to the lobby again. Once the x-Rays were done it was back off to the fourth floor.

As far as my recovery there was very little pain in this two week cycle. What pain I had was bearable. The worse pain I experienced was definitely in the 3 days after surgery.

Once there they rolled me into the cast room and removed my cast. YES!!! Damn I needed that. Then the doctor removed the 25 stitches. The doctor had to place a screw horizontally to attach the replacement ankle to my leg and he doesn’t want me putting weight on it yet. However he did remove the cast and put me in a walking boot. I guess you can say I am half way where I wanted to be. So far the worse pain was the 3 days following surgery. The boredom really sucks but all in all the experience hasn’t been too bad but that is still dependent on how well the surgery worked to end my constant pain. Time will tell.

A Week Gone By

My new cast.

When I began my journey to full ankle replacement I had so many questions that I couldn’t get answers to. I talked to a couple people who had had it done but they really didn’t help much.

After some thought I decided to record my journey and do a series of blogs outlining my recovery. I figured those who were thinking about having the surgery could maybe get some of their questions answered to help them in the decision process.

First off a little history about myself. 66 years old, 6 feet tall, overweight (250 lbs) with high blood pressure. Retired farrier. Injury happened in 1980 crushed heel, broke ankle and broke instep. Never took a step without pain since it happened. Lived with chronic pain for 40 years. Warning: some of the photos are graphic

Surgery was 10/07 and I had my follow up doctor visit today 10/15. Cast was removed. The incision looked good and the doctor was pleased.

After a thorough examination Doctor Sloan informed me that I was to return in 2 weeks at which time he would remove new cast and I would begin physical therapy. He then applied the new cast.

My thoughts on the first week. I know everyone has a different pain threshold. Mine has always been relatively high. Ten years ago I was kicked by a horse and I incurred 2 broken ribs and a bruised spleen and was shoeing horses 3 days later. Pain chart I am using 1 is little pain, 10 horrible pain. They used a nerve block on me which lasted almost 14 hours so that helped. The first 3 days my pain grade bounced between a 4 and an 8. I am not going to kid you. It hurt like hell, but it was bearable. By day 4, 5, and 6 the pain began to ease considerably. I still had my moments but they were fewer and farther between. On days 6, 7 and 8 I only took 1 pain pill each day.

My biggest mistake was not losing weight and I had plenty of time to do that and didn’t do it. I couldn’t put any weight on my foot so my arms, shoulders, left leg and foot were taxed heavily when I needed to go mobile. Then figure in my age with this it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if I would have dropped 40 pounds it would have helped my predicament a lot. I also should have done some upper body strength exercises. Even though I had plenty of time I didn’t do either. Two things that would have cost me nothing but would have benefited my endeavor immensely. Lesson learned!

That pretty much sums everything up. If you decide to get the surgery don’t be a Wayne, use your brain instead. I know, I wish I would have.

October 10, 2020

Day three and no problems so far. One thing i have learned is how important it is to keep my foot elevated. It keeps the swelling down for sure.

My biggest cocern was getting around. I had access to a walker and my insurance would pay for crutches. The crutches make it easier to navigate steps.

The pain was an 8 the first 3 days and today it has subsided a lot to a 2. I must confess I was a little worried because I had heard from a couple they had a real tough time. I hope I’m not jinxing myself.

So if you are thinking about getting a full ankle replacement all I can say is it isn’t going to be a cake walk. It is going to be tough. I plan on keeping you posted on my progress.

Hope?

Surgery is done.

The day finally arrived. I had mixed emotions. Nervous, skeptical and hope. My accident happened in 1980. I crushed my heel, broke my ankle and broke my instep. That is when the pain started.

Fast forward to 2019 when I changed primary physician. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon. He informed me ankle replacements had been happening for 25 years. He said he could help me so here we are.

It started at 10 am. Not sure when the surgery was finished but I awoke around 5:15 pm. I thought they were going to keep me but they decided to send me home. I guess one can really say this is where my journey begins.

I havent taken a step without pain for 40 years. I have lived with chronic pain. It wasn’t as bad in the beginning but it has got worse over the years. The surgery is supposed to take care of the pain. Time will tell.

Note: I plan on recording my recovery through my blog.