Thursday, September 21, 2023

A Journey of Self Discovery - Day 2

I didn't keep track of the temps on this trip. I remember it was hot and I was definitely grateful for air conditioning.

After yesterday's disaster I was ready to get on the road and start exploring. I took a round about way to get to Las Vegas and traveled on two lane roads with very little traffic. I had a couple of things I wanted to see along the way.

That is where I found my joy of driving again. I love driving, especially the open highway. Not so much through cities. There is something about being on the road that makes me feel alive.

I have always loved being on the move. After graduating from business college I worked in SLC for a few years and then moved to San Diego and went to work with the IRS. Transferred back to Montana and worked a couple of years before getting a transfer to Washington DC.  That's where I met Jim. We transferred back to Kalispell,  MT and and then to Billings. 

When both Jim and I retired, we became full time rvers. We loved exploring new areas and visiting friends and Jim's family back East. Jim let me do the navigating and sightseeing. He did the driving and all the hard stuff. RVing gave my wanderlust an open door to anything.

When Jim died, I didn't want to go anywhere. I needed to be at home with my grief and the total emptiness of my world. As the first anniversary of his death approached, I made the decision that I was going to find joy again.

And then my grandson was born. Talk about joy. I have waited a long time to have a grandchild. Elias James Dixon. All I could think about was holding him.

Then my ankle happened and it took me several months before I could head out but here I was. On the road again. 

This was my opportunity to rediscover who I was as an individual and not as 1/2 of a couple.  I have always been quite independent. I was 37 when I married Jim and finally had to learn to adjust to being a couple with a child. Now that child is a husband and father and I'm learning to be comfortable with my new world. 

As you can see, this journey was full of introspection and new experiences. Daisy's radio doesn't pull in a radio signal very far from town, so I drove in silence having so many wonderful conversations in my head. I'm a much better writer in my head than on paper.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

A Journey of Self Discovery

I just returned from a trip to Montana. And it proved to be very eye opening for me. 

First of all, I could not believe the number of people who thought I was too old to be driving by myself.  Even my surgeon told me it wasn't smart for me to drive "all that way" alone. Others told me I was really brave to be taking off like that. I thought they were all over reacting. 

I took Daisy (my car) into John's Auto and had them go through Daisy from front to back. They assured me she was ready to go. Daisy is a sweet ride but she doesn't have cruise control or electric windows or door locks.  She is 15 years old and I truly wasn't sure how she would do on a long trip. 

Sunrise on departure day.

I planned a short travel day for my first day. Wanted to make sure both Daisy and I would do okay.  I must admit I was feeling very anxious when I headed out. I just had surgery on my ankle and Achilles tendon. It had been 13 years since I had done much driving. Jim drove about 98% of the time. I was also taking this journey alone without Jim.

My first day on the road did not go smoothly. Not because of Daisy or me. We were on I-10 headed to Parker for the night. A semi truck filled with gas and diesel fuel, over turned and spilled its load. The highway was shut down going both directions at 10:15 a.m. and did not reopen until 5:45p.m. We were inching along and it took us 3 1/2 hours to go about 5 miles to the exit to get off. Daisy did not overheat (it was close to 110 degrees) and I was sure glad her air conditioning was working. 

This is part of a machine that they use to clean up the spilled fuel.

 Got to the motel in Parker and they gave me a key to a room that was already occupied. Finally got a key to an empty room and collapsed. 

When I had a chance to think about the day, I knew we were going to push on.

So I haven't been blobbing, but I'm ready to blog and there are several posts to come. 

Monday, August 7, 2023

I'm Blobbing

 August in AJ, AZ   HOT HOT HOT - 

I'm sure most of you have seen Phoenix on the National News for the fact that we have had 31 days in a row of 110 degrees or above (most of them above). We had a three day break where the highs were under 110 but we're going right back up again. As long as the power grid keeps working, we are doing just fine here in the park. We definitely don't go out much but we do get out for dinner once in awhile.

A few sky pictures. 

A desert plant that is loving the heat.

It has been so long since I last posted that I'm not even sure what to blog about. First an update on my ankle.

I am free from the brace and I do not have to see the surgeon again. I also finished my physical therapy. I still have to be really careful of that ankle for at least another six months. If it gets tired, I put the brace on for a day or so to help it out. 

I am still planning on going to Montana to see my family. But I'm not sure when I'm going to head out. My car is old and this heat is brutal. I'll let you know when I figure it out.

Jim's granddaughter, Katie, got married on July 1. Her Dad, David, is Jim's second oldest son. She is a beautiful bride. Takes after her Mom, Kelly. Sorry David. lol  Under all of David's hair and beard, he looks just like Jim. 

Todd is still really involved with his remote control cars. I'm glad he enjoys them rather than driving race cars. Much easier on a mother's nerves. 

I have a ton of pictures of Elias but I'm only going to share a few. He turned 6 months on August 3. I really need to get up there to meet him.  

First Tooth

Hope I'm not infringing on copyright laws but this Peanuts cartoon hits the nail on the head for my summer.

Hope everyone is having a good summer in spite of the weather all across the country.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

It's Definitely Past Time For Another Blog Post

 AJ, AZ   High 106  Low 73 (summer has arrived)

 Contessa said its time for me to do a blog post. And it has been quite awhile since I last posted. Contessa posts a blog called 5C's Que Pasa. I don't know how to put the link in here. They go to Mexico in the winter from Canada and have two beautiful chocolate dachshunds.

The problem is, there really isn't much to post about. I'm still in Arizona and it is hot. We reached 106 yesterday and it's supposed to get warmer as the week progresses. However, I still prefer the desert heat to cold, wet, or snowy weather. Woke up to the temperature being in the 60's at 5:00 a.m. and I needed a blanket because I was cold.

I have some random pictures to share. They are slowly working on our streets here in the park. The guys doing the work are relatives of the owner, and get around to us whenever they don't have a job elsewhere. I don't think we're going to see much of an improvement even if they do finish.

My dear friend, Tacey, brought me these beautiful flowers when she came over to pick up my laundry. That's right, while I've been pretty much glued to my recliner, she was willing to help me with that impossible chore. I am now able to haul my laundry to the park laundromat in small loads and do my own. That was an exciting improvement. 

  For Mother's Day, I received this wonderful card. My wonderful daughter-in-law made the butterfly with Elias's feet and the sun with his hand. The flowers are puppy and kitty prints. What fun.

 Michaela and Elias' first Mother's Day.

Looked like we might get some rain but just dark clouds which was a nice change from constant sunshine. The weather people have a pretty easy job down here, at least til monsoons hit. June 15th, starts our monsoon season but there are no storms in our forecast.

Todd and Elias on their first Father's Day.

Jim and Todd

 My Dad and Todd

 And now the news you've all been waiting for.  There was a time when I truly believed I'd be on my way to Montana in May. That did not happen. Neither did it happen in June and it probably won't happen in July. So fingers crossed for August.

I got out of my cast and into a boot on May 25th. My instructions were that this foot was not to touch the ground unless it was in the boot.  However, I can walk with this thing on. And I'm sure glad my recliner is comfortable enough to sleep in. 


Four weeks later, I'm back to the surgeon's office thinking I'm getting rid of the boot. I'm so excited. Wrong!!  I can now transition from the boot to an ankle brace. (And I thought I had trouble getting the boot on, ha ha) Thank goodness for you tube cause I would never have figured out where all the straps and velcro go on this ankle brace. And it is so uncomfortable. For one thing it rubs on my heel and even though the stitches have healed, the skin is very sensitive. 

After trying many different types of padding, I found that a female pad actually does help. But it has to be a really thick one. Got that situated in the sock I wear to hold it in place, got the brace on after three tries, only to find out my foot will not fit in my sneaker.  I found an old pair of sandals in the bottom of the closet that are stretched way out of shape. It kind of goes over the brace but I'm really careful to not walk out of it. Still cannot put my barefoot on the ground and stand on it. Must have boot or brace and shoe on to stand or walk.

I started wearing the brace for one hour the first day, two hours the next day, three the next and so on for two weeks. I am on day 7 and I dread the thought of 7 hours in this thing. Next Monday on the 3rd, I start physical therapy. The surgeon said 2 to 3 times a week for 4 to 6 weeks. I'm really looking forward to that - NOT. 

So that is all the news on my ankle. I did get my partial dental and it only took a few adjustments for it to fit pretty good in my mouth. It's going to take awhile for me to get used to chewing with fake teeth as well as having all this "stuff" in my mouth. But they look really natural. 

I get around pretty good now. I can drive so Carol doesn't have to take me to all my appointments. I do grocery pick ups which I've been doing since the pandemic and I love it. But other than that, not much is going on in the way of fun. I feel great. Get discouraged and have an occasional meltdown. I miss Jim. He really spoiled me. 

My beautiful family.

Monday, May 22, 2023

I'm Home

Apache Junction. High  92.  Low  56

My first cast - green.

Second cast - red (the black thing on my cast is a shoe to make it easier for me to walk on it when they finally allow me to put weight on it).

I spent 30 days in physical therapy rehab.  I cannot say enough good things about the physical therapists I worked with at the Apache Junction Healthcare Center. In fact, almost everyone there took really good care of me. From the nurses, to the activities people, to the food service people (food was just okay), to the cleaning person, they were all cheerful and accommodating even though they are understaffed like everyone seems to be these days. 

My room looked out at the torture (PT) area and the steps just taunted me because I had to learn to conquer them on one foot.

My friend, Tacey, brought me this chain to count down the days til I can get out of this cast and taste freedom again.  It looked like this to begin with.

 This is what it looks like now.


This was the sign I've been waiting for.

 After  my month at rehab, I had to face my biggest fear about going home. THE STEPS. There was no way I could "hop" up the steps on one foot. I called several medical transport companies and they wanted over $300 to get me up those five steps. $300 is a lot of incentive to figure out another way and my physical therapists came up with a fantastic idea. Use a shower bench. If you're interested, you can go to Youtube and watch videos on how to do it. (Most of them show younger, much more physically fit individuals doing it.)

My first attempt was a complete failure. I did not have the strength in my arms or right leg to pull myself up from the bench. The PTs started working with me to develop that strength.  Two weeks later I was ready to try again and I succeeded. I still had another week to practice and each time I was able to do it with less help. 


 However, I needed someone to move the bench for me at my house so Paul came to the rehab center and they showed him what he needed to do with the shower bench and how to support me if I needed it.  

 Time for me to get out of there and I was so ready to go sit in my recliner. Carol drove my car up to get me and Paul met us at the trailer. My neighbors, Mike and Patty, were also there to offer  help. Success!!! I am in my recliner.

I still could not put any weight on my cast so I had to hop wherever I needed to go. I truly am a failure at hopping. However, I only fell once. In the bathroom. I had my phone with me (always with me) and called 911. They have the nicest guys who came to my aid and got me back on my foot.  Rather embarrassing but life happens.

After that I called the doctor's office to see when I could put some weight on this cast. They checked to see how long it had been since surgery and determined that I could start putting some weight on it as long as it didn't hurt and I didn't overdue it. What a difference that made in my life. No more falls. 

Home Health came to visit and asked me about 500 questions. Took my vitals which are almost always great. Said she'd be back once a week for awhile to see how I'm doing. Then the PT guy showed up. He saw how good I was doing so he changed his plans and showed me some exercises that would help me transition back to being able to use my left leg and ankle again. He has discharged me but I continue to do the exercises along with the workouts I had at the rehab. 

The cast comes off this Thursday - May 25th. I will get a walking boot but I hope it isn't going to be a necessity for too long. I really feel good which makes me very impatient to get this thing off my leg.

The people in my world have been so amazing. Ginny, of course, did my bidding from my hospital room to the rehab center until she had to leave to go to Maine for the summer. She handed over the chore of watching over me to Carol and Paul. They have been amazing. Carol does all my running around for groceries and picking up prescriptions and taking my garbage out. Paul always brings lunch when he comes to visit. And I always have a list of chores for him. Tacey has been doing my laundry for me. And I know that if I need anything, anybody who is left in the park would do it for me. 

Paul putting a screw in my heat vent cover.

This really has been a humbling experience for me because I'm pretty independent and bullheaded. I was forced into accepting help which really makes you realize how many wonderful people are in your life. I couldn't have gone home without them. I am eternally grateful for their love and compassion.

Gotta have a couple of pictures of my gorgeous daughter-in-law with my precious grandson along with her first Mother's Day flowers. I think my son is totally smitten with his son. Sure do love and miss these three. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Ankle Update

We are getting our first almost 100 degree day in the next three days. Sure would be nice if Spring stayed around for awhile.

Last Saturday I ended up having surgery. Had an MRI which was definitely interesting. It will take 40 minutes and do not move. Sure was glad when that was done. After looking at the MRI the surgeon said the screws need to come out because they probably have infected the bone. Infected bones can cause you to lose a limb. 

I was on heavy duty antibiotics in an IV. The nurses had so much trouble getting an IV in. They all said I had tiny veins. After 7 failed attempts a guy came up with an ultrasound machine and was finally able to get it in. That lasted three days then slipped out of the vein. Several tries later we got the fourth one in and it stayed til I left the hospital.  

I had the surgery on Saturday afternoon. In order to get the screws out he had to cut the Achilles tendon in half. He cleaned out some pus and took tissue samples to send to the culture lab. The screws were sent to the pathology lab for testing. Wait for three days to get results. 

Got the results and very good news. No infection in the bone. Screws are out and I was in a splint til the swelling goes down. 

I was moved to Apache Junction Healthcare Center on April 4th. I have physical therapy twice a day trying to strengthen muscles that haven't been used in years so I can go home. 

I have a lovely green cast. It will come off on the 28th and a new cast will go on for another three weeks. These are totally non weight bearing casts. In other words they should not touch the ground.

No idea when I go home. I have five steps to get into the rv and haven't figured out how to get up them. My hopping ability is  extinct. 

Very few people left in the park. Most have left to head north for the summer.

Life can be complicated.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Weather, Teeth, Ankle and More


I am way behind in posting. Our weather has sort of warmed up a little. We are actually going to have a few dry days in a row which is sure nice. It's been a cold, wet winter here in AZ but at least I don't have to shovel it. 

Our Superstitions had snow on them for a brief time.


We have had so much rain our pit was filled with water on several occasions. Really messed up the horseshoe schedule and any cornhole playing with all the mud. But it did dry up enough to have the last campfire of the season.

Our park has been bringing in a food truck once a month for a couple of months now. The first one was a pizza truck that everyone said was delicious. I don't eat pizza (I don't eat cheese) so I'll take their word for it. We've also had a empanada truck and I had a chicken one and a pork one. I'd definitely do that again. The chicken was especially good. I think a BBQ truck is scheduled for April.

I'm still spending way too much time at the dentist's office. It looks like it is going to be another three weeks before I finally get my partial so I have bottom teeth again. I'm getting tired of smoothies. Sometimes you just want to be able to chew something.

Then to make my life really interesting, I've done something to my Achilles tendon. It started hurting a week ago Sunday and I thought it would just get better. But I ended up in urgent care Sunday morning. The doctor walked into the room, took one look at my heel and informed me that he couldn't help me and I needed to see an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible. He did give me a boot which makes it a lot less painful to walk. And I have an appointment for tomorrow with the orthopedic doc. I'll add the news after I find out what needs to be done.

(I know this is an icky picture, but I try to document things that might be important in the future.)


Back in 2008 as I was stepping out of our fifth wheel, I missed a step and ended up breaking my left ankle and rupturing my Achilles tendon. I spent several months in two different casts and a wheelchair because I can't do crutches. In fact when we started full time rving in 2009, I was still in a cast and a wheelchair. Jim took really good care of me but it did get really "interesting" at times.

This is my broken ankle. The piece that is sticking straight up on the left side of the x-ray is not supposed to be like that. The second x-ray is after it was repaired with two screws.

This juvenile dove sat on my railing for the longest time. I love the tuft on the top of his head.

Update. I'm in the hospital getting lots of antibiotics. I'll fill in the details in my next post.