At 6’4″, my dh Lowell, is a pretty big man, and despite having a broken/fused spine, and a paralyzed leg with a brace, he is still very strong. Too strong for his own good sometimes, or should I say, too strong for his leg braces’ good?
Lowell had a car accident in 1984, and after several operations, he was able to function as a “walking parapeligic. Despite being battered and bruised, his basic physiology did not change. He is an ox and grows muscle by just being alive. I’ve never seen anyone that could build muscle without really trying. I joke about him maintaining his finger muscles just by stretching his hand out a couple times, and I know he has more muscle in his pinky than I have in my whole hand. (Me being a petite – but currently overweight – 5’3” frame.)
So here we go with….
“A Tale of Seven Braces”
Long, long ago, in a land far far way….Oh sorry, wrong story…
Brace #1 – Full length, bolted to orthepedic shoes, 3/4″ aluminum, ie. Boat Anchor/Dinosaur. – Fate – snapped in half within 1 year.
Brace #2 – Full length, bolted to orthepedic shoes, 1″ stainless steel, ie. Boat Anchor/Dinosaur – Fate – twisted beyond use in less than one year.
Conclusion: Bolting the brace to the shoe is probably not a good idea.
Brace #3 – Mid thigh to mid calf CTI composite skiing brace. Worked great for about 10 years, but had to nix it because it stopped holding his knee out of hyper-extension when the hinge broke. Best brace he ever had.
Brace #4 – Tried CTI again, but they couldn’t get the size right.
Brace #5 – Mid thigh to mid calf G2 with clam shell on calf and back strap to prevent hyper extending. Works okay but is a boat anchor and really saps his energy. Have been using it for about 5-7 years or so, and the clam shell is causing his nerves to flip out.
Brace #6 – Mid thigh to mid calf CTI composite skiing brace with a different design on the knee hinge. Destroyed it in one day!
Okay, that brings us to this year.
Brace #7 – Mid thigh to mid calf composite DonJoy skiing brace with a different design on the knee hinge. Lasted about 2 months. He snapped one of the side uprights yesterday while doing yard work.
Possible current solution? – Back to clam shell brace while we play with CTI braces that worked, but didn’t hold the knee and see if they can be modified to do so.
It’s been a few weeks since I did an update, so I’ll try to catch y’all up.
Last Thursday was a very sad day as my Dad’s brother, Uncle Ron, died. Needless to say, there were many tears. My parents wanted to come visit us soon, but it was all on hold till we knew what was happening with him. His body was riddled with cancer, and we knew it was just a matter of time. Now, Mom and Dad will be coming in May. We are really looking forward to seeing them.
It’s been the typical flu/cold season, and it has been through all of us. I got hit the least though, so that was good as things just seem to get busier.
I would normally be doing this update on a Tuesday, while the girls have their piano lesson, but Cynthia wasn’t feeling the best the last few days. Her symptoms sounded very much like a gallbladder or gallstone attack, so I brought her in to the naturopath, Dr. Wagstaff. Sure enough, her stomach and gallblader are all inflammed, but caused by a virus. I think I will bring her in for an ultrasound to check for stones as this seems to have happened before. From there, Wagstaff will be able to decide how to best keep this from happening again or minimize it. I know just how Cynthia feels as I’ve dealt with this years ago, but have maintained a diet that just doesn’t make it act up. The Dr. gave her some stuff to settle it down, and she’s doing much better today!
The end of last week was fun. We looked after a friends’ German Shepherd, Kisha, and what a cutie! Her and Buster got along great and played almost constantly. We are now looking after a male Lapso Apso, Scruffy, for other friends. Not sure how long as they are trying to find a place, and it may be a few months. This is a male, though, and Buster and he don not want to play. When Scruffy is gone, we may just have to get Buster a permanent female companion.
Our 15 passenger diesel van (nicknamed T-Bus – Trenholm Bus, aka. T-Rex) is fixed and running beautifully! The best it has ever run! Apparently the fuel pump that was overhauled 5 yrs ago never was done properly. We didn’t realize it as Lowell installed it instead of a certified shop, and we didn’t know how a good one was supposed to run. We’ve been finding out that somethings just aren’t worth doing ourselves. Kevin and Jerry and crew at Okanagan Engine Rebuilders did the work this time, and they are awesome! We’ve been going to them for almost everthing for our vehicles since 2003 we wouldn’t go anywhere’s else. They rebuilt the engine, and farmed out the tranny, on the van. Excellent work all around. Thanks guys!
Interesting….I wouldn’t go to another upholstery shop either except Kevin’s brother, Mark’s shop – Kellerman’s Upholstery. They are a great family to deal with, oh and both brothers like to be bribed with baking! The girls made cookies for OKER and they barely lasted 10 minutes!
Lowell’s been like a yo-yo at work (KFC) these last few weeks, switching from evening to day shift back and forth as projects and courses have been adding an interesting element to the mix. On Wednesday, his crew will begin working on a major go-over (called a C-check) of a 757 for a US airline. It is amazing at the amount of aviation major players Flightcraft has been working for. Delta and Northwest, to name a few.
I finished another slipcover and will try to post the pics soon. I start two more today, besides the regular sewing: hemming pants, replacing zippers, etc.
Last Saturday was the start of spring cleaning. We had been using our inlaw suite as the “dumping ground” for storage, but since we’ve been having a family from out of town on the weekends, it is needed for its true use. The week before, all the “stuff” had been dumped in the garage, but now it was time to go through it. Well…… 2 1/2 bags of garbage, 2 bags of recycle, and 1 large bag for the Sally Ann later, and that is I hope the bulk of it. This weekend, we’ll be tackling putting away the winter clothes and taking out the spring/summer. I hope to get it all done this Saturday or the next.
It was exciting to see the Jones family is church last night. Bro. Jones pastor’s in Terrace, BC now (17 hours away!) so we don’t get to see them very often, and we miss them dearly.
So, that brings us to today, and here we are at piano lessons. Since Lowell is on evening shift, we’ll probably have a girls night tonight. Those are always fun. One time it was toe nail painting, another time just a movie. Not sure about tonight, but I know we’ve got a brand new hot air popcorn popper to try out!
Last year, I bought a Leatherman multi-tool for Lowell, as his Swiss Army Victorinox multi-tool was in dire need of repair or retirement. The knife was shot and a few of the other peices were badly worn down from much use. I think a piece actually snapped. It was very hard for him to “shelve” it, as it means a lot to him.
I bought it for his birthday over 10 yrs ago, and it has alot of history. I can see it as one of those things the girls will “fight” over.
This is the knife that has split the burgers in half for our little children at the fast food place or park, and up until last year, lived on his belt; ever faithful and ready for the task at hand. I’m sure other men will be able to relate. He even jokes around about how many airplane panels the screwdriver had taken off . (Actually true – he is an aviation engineer). We found out that Swiss Army does repairs, so a few months ago, he sent it back to the company. We just got it back today, and praise the Lord, they didn’t just replace the parts, they gave him a brand new knife and case!!!! He was thrilled to say the least, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other memories will be entrenched in that knife.
We’ve all had “one of THOSE days”, and it just seemed like this last week was one of them. Ugh….4 major items breaking in one day, or within a couple days of eachother; children sick; major migraine; but it all came to a head on Tuesday.
As I mentioned in the last post, my Pfaff serger was giving me enough grief that I wanted to pitch it out the window. This happened on Friday, and I wanted to bring it to the repair shop on Saturday, but I was in bed most of the day with a migraine, and not too sparky the rest of the day.
Well, come Monday, Lowell brings it in to the shop on his way to work, but then he calls me to let me know it might not be ready till Wednesday. Not good since I have a big job of serging waiting for Okanagan Slipcovers.
So now we are in to Tuesday and I go to pick up our computer’s external drive which was being swapped out under warranty, but we’d been waiting for this for 3 months. I had files on three different computers, including website and business files, and it would take to long to move them around by burning CD’s. It was important I get it done as I have lots of work to perform relating to those files. Well, I get to the computer shop and it’s not ready (this is the third time we’ve tried to pick it up)….wait….for an extra hour, take it home, and it doesn’t work! I go back to the shop, it works there, but then won’t work at home!!!! Take it to piano with my laptop, and it still doesn’t work! Ugh….again.
I do other computer work while Cynthia and Abigail have their piano lesson.
We get into the van to leave, and it won’t start!!!! Long story, but it has done this to me 6 times over the winter, 3 of which have been at the piano teacher’s house. Praise the Lord, she didn’t have a student at that time, so she boosts the van and we go to drop it off at the repari shop and meet Lowell, then drive him to work. He picks up the “fixed” serger on the way in to meet us. That was a big help!
The girls and I drop Lowell off at work, go to Costco, and at this point my right thigh starts to really hurt. I have no idea why. We are only in Costco a half hour, but by the time we leave, I can hardly walk. We make it home, and I almost have to drag myself up the stairs as it feels like someone is trying to rip my leg off. Not fun.
After a while, I manage to get to the sewing room and have a look at the serger. I can’t believe what I see.The sample that the shop stitched looked horrible! I run the machine and it does exactly what one of the reasons were for bringing it in: it unthreads itself! I spend five minutes rethreading the machine and adjust the tensions so it looks the way it should. I then walk up the stairs only using one leg, as the other one was too painful to move, then I rest for the remainder of the evening.
I had had enough!!!! Or had I?
The truth is, although all these things were annoying, it just wasn’t that bad. I consider what happened inconveniences, not catastrophes. I purposely wrote this story in such a manner that it looked like I was overwhelmed, but I was not. I have so much to be thankful for!
Everything that happened, happened to “things”, not what was really important, like my family.
I’m so thankful the Lord helped me keep my perspective. I know of several families that are in a REAL mess right now. One man’s wife was in the hospital last week and the docs didn’t know if she was going to make it; another man’s wife is divorcing him; another man’s daughter has been missing for a week; I know of wives who’ve left their husbands over adultery or for him molesting the children. Now there’s items we could perhaps consider to be overwhelming, yet then again I many precious promises:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
I don’t deserve the least of His mercies, yet He blesses me abundantly!
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think… Ephesians 3:20
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (Note that God didn’t say all things would BE good, but rather “work together FOR good…”
and one of my most favorite verses:
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23
I have nothing to whine about! God is good all the time!
Yesterday was one busy day, but then again, they always seem to be. The TSA phone (Trenholm Sew-All) rang 8 times in one hour and I had 2 customers drop off pants to hem. It was nice to have some easy work. I was in the middle of a contract job for “radio bags” for a surveyor’s blue-tooth enabled peice of equipment. I had made ten for him before, and his business is picking up, so this time I am to make 30. So, for a break, I hemmed up the pants and called the very surprised and happy customers. It’s not often anymore that I can get the jobs done the same day they are dropped off.
I will be working on our business website in the next few weeks and I hope to add a section that will show some of the things I’ve done: From a boat cover, a stuffed frog hot water bottle case, slipcovers for furniture, and even repairs to a bunny suit….LOL
Lowell was getting more office work done, and then he went to a brace fitting for his left leg. He’s had this “new” brace for over 2 years, but we just couldn’t get our act together to work with the supplier, Okaped, to get the fit just right. He’d tried wearing it a few months ago, but the padding wasn’t right and it set his leg off. Then he fell and work (with the old brace on), cracked a chip off his foot and was off work for 3 weeks. His leg/foot was so swollen that there was no point bothering to try and fit the brace. Lowell wore it last night, and I only had to reset one strap when he came home. Short pieces of velcro just don’t hold, so I replaced it with an industrial snap. It is so much lighter and he loves it. The tricky part is just getting all the padding where it needs to be so as not to set his leg off. With all the work the Naturopath, Dr. Wagstaff, has been doing on Lowell, his leg rarely sets off for no particular reason. It is usually only when he’s anoyed it somehow. This has been a huge change over 2 years ago when it hurt him 24/7.
Abigail and Melissa schooled in the sewing room so I could watch them. Sarah usually schools Melissa, but she was inputting data in our accounting software. It’s going to be hard when Sarah goes to college as she is my backup computer “geek”. I usually do it all, but now Lowell is getting into the bookwork, so it really helps. He’s finding that some of the work he’s done at Kelowna Flightcraft all these years is proving to be a definite asset in organizing the business files. What a great blessing!
I was thankful to start day off with my personal Bible reading and prayer time. It certainly makes a big difference in the day. I was reading in the New Testament, John chapters 2-3. Probably some of my favorite chapters. The Lord really impressed on me the following:
John 2:13-16 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
I had to stop and think: Have I filled my heart and mind with the things of this world? Have I turned God’s temple into “an house of merchandise?” I know I have to function in this world, but is my focus “the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33) or too often, does my focus become that which profits so little in God’s Kingdom? That was hard to think about, but I know how important that even that thought be before me.
Okay, back to my day:
I put in an order to put in to one of my suppliers. I only order from them a couple times a year so it can take me a couple hours to get it all setup and faxed. I gotta try to be more efficient on that.
Suzanne from Okanagan Slipcovers (new contract work) dropped more fabric for me to cut and serge. I should get that done tonight as long as my Pfaff serger behaves. It has given me such fits lately that I just wanted to pitch it out the window! I simply cannot trust it anymore. Oh well, looks like I’ll be getting a used industrial Juki serger in a few weeks. That will speed production time up about 5 times: from 1500 stitches per minute to 7000. Pretty nifty! I’m also looking at selling the Pfaff home server privately and buying a Juki home machine. Having reliable equipment is so important. Doesn’t have to be fancy, just reliable. Fancy only has more things that can break.
So I did get 7 of the radio bags done. He wanted 10 this week, but I ran out of fabric and won’t have any till next week, but Jason will be happy to get the 7 for now.
I also fixed that “bunny suit” for a full grown lady. I look forward to adding that to our business site. There’s a cute story behind it.Sarah is just finishing her grade 11 and is working on some grade 12 subjects too. She’s hoping to be done her high school this year, then work with me for the next year to save funds for Bible college next year. Little Carolyn goes between rooms seeing who will play with her for a few minutes, or make a puzzle, read a story, work on her “schooling” sheets. She’s working on her numbers and spelling her name. She loves “schooling” like her big sisters.All the girls’ piano is going very well. It’s amazing how the older girls each have their own style. Abigail isn’t at that point yet, but she really enjoys playing, especially for the family during family devotion time. She has a few hymns she can play, then the big girls improvise by ear whatever song is requested. Very fun! Carolyn’s favorite is “Away in a Manger.”
Sarah plays the autoharp as well. She had one given to her by a very sweet lady, Laura Olfert, who willed it to Sarah the week before she died, last year. Sarah was especially fond of Mrs. Olfert, so she gave it to her as an instrument she could easily carry around as a missionary in India. She was a very special lady and we miss her. I need to get a brass plate made with a dedication text on it. We still visit her husband, who is 96 and in a nursing home.
The twins are working on classical guitar. I’ve tried to work with the flute, but it sure isn’t easy! I would pick the hardest wind instrument to learn!
Okay, so that’s the main news for yesterday, and a little catch up too. Hopefully I’ll get today’s typed in today. LOL.