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July 20, 2009

Wow---An exciting day!!!!

Good News---Roll the Presses---Good News




     What a crew at the Viroqua Center for Orthopedic Surgery.  Following an early morning call by Kathleen to the center to explore if there would be any other options for her than waiting till next spring April/May timeframe to have her hip replaced she was told by ‘Connie’ that there had just been a surgery cancellation and it may be possible to allow her to fill it if all the players agreed.  Connie assured Kathleen that she would go to work on it and call her back, but cautioned her not to get her hopes up just yet.  It was becoming increasingly obvious that even with good pain control it would have been difficult for her to have made it till next spring.  Because of that we are so grateful to be able to get this replacement accomplished earlier rather than later.


     In less than an hour she called back to say all had been cleared.  Kathleen has her first appointment tomorrow morning.  She will then meet with Dr. Lawrence (the surgeon) Sept. 3rd, then will have preparatory appointments with others through mid-September and is scheduled for hip replacement surgery September 25th.


     With an expected normal recovery and physical therapy we can probably expect to depart from this cold part of the country well before it gets too nasty.  At this point we can not say for certain exactly what that date will be, but for most of the winter we should be able to seek the warmth of the Rio Grand Valley.


     This change complicates a few things for us and we will begin to work through the logistics of that in the coming days, but as is usually the case, it will all work out.

July 18, 2009

Go Milk a Goat

     We are now camped near West Salem Wisconsin, close to where the La Crosse County Fair is in progress. A close family friend Jean Krause and nine other celebrity contestants will compete in a goat milking competition for a deserving Charity.  Our grandchildren Mason and Maddie visiting from Renton Washington, their great grandma Betty, their other grandparents Dewey and Mary Crocker, Kathleen and Me jointed Jeans husband Norm in a standing room only animal barn for the competition and the awarding of the coveted trophy.  The contestants including Jean are all celebrity dignitaries from the area, and include hospital administrative types, TV weather meteorologists, disc jockeys, and various business dignitaries.   The challenge was for each contestant to have 4 minutes to milk a goat and following the 4 minutes to have the quantity measured.  Mason and Maddie did not miss a thing and in addition to cheering Jean on, monitored carefully the measuring of her effort.  Go Jean!!!




Jean Krause, Hospital Administration
















Jeans got the technique
















Making sure the measurment is correct















     Maddie and Mason made sure the measurement was correct.  Jeans total in the measured 4 minutes was 5 cups.   The nearest celebrity competitor to Jean had 3 and 3/4 cups.  And the Winner is?  Note the trophy in her left hand.




Congratulations Jean















Congratulations Jean.

July 08, 2009

People who make things Happen

     I know I told you in the previous blog that I would not be commenting about our trials and tribulations of getting older and all what comes with that territory but I did say if there was any news about Kathleen's hip issue I would comment, and boy is there news! 

     I should mention here that our hopes were to rule out anything nasty that might be going on with the hip, seeing an orthopedic surgeon if that was needed and proceeding immediately with any correction needed including a total hip replacement were foremost on our mind.  Getting all this accomplished through the summer and then allow us to enjoy and meet our winter commitments in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas are important.  Are we dreamers or what?  Are our expectations unrealistic?  Perhaps, but we had to try. 

     With the hip discomfort progressively getting worse and our desire to be ready for our winter stay in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas we decided to make a hasty retreat from Washington State to our HMO health care provider in the Mid West.  Upon arrival last week we had a prescheduled appointment with the Main Gundersen/Lutheran Orthopedic PA who had seen and cared for her hip last spring.  With much disappointment we left that appointment, not even being examined, but rather told that we should just go to the front desk and schedule an appointment with a particular orthopedic surgeon.  He accompanied us and pleaded our case for ASAP but we were told that the earliest she could be seen was 25 days out.  A plea was made to put us on a list for any cancellation slot and a further plea to have the Dr. contact us if he could in any way see fit to slip us in earlier.

     Waiting a few days and hearing nothing Kathleen called to check on her status and was told that her appointment would be July 28th and that was as good as they could do, but we would be kept on a cancellation list.

     I know I digress a little here but:  I am a strong believer in that there are basically two types of people in any crowd, those who wait for things to happen, and those who make things happen.  Even though quite often I am a pain in the butt to some that I encounter, I am proud to say, I am one who makes things happen and today I just met several in a row just like me.  What can happen when like personalities and minds come together is amazing.  Listen up!

     After visiting last evening with a close personal friend of Kathleen and I, we learned that Brian age 47 had both a knee and a hip replacement by one Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence an orthopedic surgeon practicing at the Vernon Memorial Healthcare center in Viroqua, Wisconsin.  Just 33 miles from the main Gundersen/Lutheran clinic in La Crosse.  Not only would our insurance cover us there but Dr. Lawrence is suggested to be one of the best at his trade in all of the U.S.  Problem is, he is so popular that people come from all over and he is very busy.  Brian (a maintenance man at Gundersen/Lutheran in La Crosse) when asked by someone from the main orthopedic department why he was going to travel 33 miles to an outlying clinic/hospital to have his hip replaced stated:  "Dr. Lawrence is reportedly ranked number 2 in the world for hip replacement and if I am going to be cut, I want the best."

     This morning, less than 12 hours after visiting with Brian we traveled to Viroqua and at 11:00 a.m. were standing in front of receptionist Julie in the orthopedic department.  A brief explanation to her about our needs and she was on her feet headed to the depths of the department to consult with Dr. Lawrences PA, Collin.  She returned to tell us that it is always a pre-requisite to seeing Dr. Lawrence to be seen by the PA and Collin could examine Kathleen at 1:30.  We should report back at 1:00 for x-rays and he would have those in hand when he examined her. Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".  We saw Collin at 1:30 and after a thorough examination and reviewing the x-rays with us he said it appeared that a total hip replacement was probably in order. He did inform us that Dr. Lawrence was scheduled out to November for the actual replacement surgery.  Oh, Oh, that would not be good.  To cold in Wisconsin then.  We briefly described our lifestyle, our home on wheels, our desire to spend the winter in warm and sunny Texas and he immediately began exploring the options.  Prescribing better pain controlling medication therapy for her to get her to a date in April for the surgery would be a possibility.  Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".  Collin escorted us in to see Connie, the gal who schedules all appointments.  Understanding that we needed to do this when weather was conducive to our needs and all, including pre surgery preparation, surgery, and the recovery process it was determined that we could go through the pre surgery stuff in April and then the surgery in May and recovery in June and July.  Kathleen agreed that it would work for her as long as there was good pain management to get her to those dates.  A date has been scheduled to meet and be examined by Dr. Lawrence in October before we depart for Texas and that will work as we will be in the area in Sept anyway getting other medical appointments completed.  On the same day in October Kathleen will have an appointment with a general practitioner to determine that she is physically fit to withstand the surgery.  Following those two appointments the April and May appointments previously mentioned will be carved in stone and scheduled.  Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".

     It is important to note that here we are 20 days before an appointment for which we would have been waiting, we have a plan, and schedules made, and reassurances that it indeed is an arthritic hip problem and not something nastier, and by 3:00 we were on our way home.

     In defense of the main Gundersen/Lutheran clinic we have always had good care there but sometimes it is better to deal with a smaller entity than with the mother house and I believe this time it is the case. 

     I can't tell you how pleased I am that we met in succession with several "people who make things happen".


July 06, 2009

Sudden Change of Plans

      Not a change we wanted to make for sure!

     When we came out of Mexico last spring Kathleen's right hip and left knee were both bothering her.  In 2006 she did have a right hip problem that was diagnosed as bursitis and after an injection in the joint discomfort was at a minimum and greatly improved.  On our arrival for our medical check ups this spring Kathleen had an injection of a new substance apparently taken from the comb of chickens in her knee and that has really improved any discomfort there, however, the right hip has been progressively getting worse day to day.  X-rays of that hip were taken this spring and diagnosed as "mild arthritis".  It was decided then to inject cortisone in the hip joint.  With that done and all our other medical checks complete we departed for the North West and of course our focus was our Sons, daughter in laws, and grandkids.  What we did have with them this spring and summer was great.

     Upon our arrival in the North West we set up camp at the Toutle River RV Resort.  A RV Resort that was under development and in need of people to water tree's, grass, and other light duties in exchange for the site.  Throughout May and June I blogged about our experiences there.  You can catch up on those blogs by clicking on the Months mentioned to the right of this page.

     Our stay at the Toutle Resort was a touch of a "Workamping" experience and of course meeting and becoming friends with the other workampers was part of the package.  One of the benefits to this lifestyle of ours is making many new friends.  One of the drawbacks to this lifestyle of ours is having to say good-bye, especially earlier than planned.

     We are now back in the Mid-West awaiting appointments with those who will hold the key to getting Kathleen back in tip top shape.  We are not ones who like to blog about or dwell on the trials and tribulations of getting older, especially the medical hurdles that sometimes get in the way, so suffice it to say, there won't be a lot of news in future blogs, but if there is something significant that needs to be mentioned I will.

     We will miss the Toutle River RV Resort.  It was a unique experience.   

More Fishing at the Cowlitz River

     Grandkids, Grandpa, and fishing just seem to go hand in hand.  I was so fortunate to enjoy both of my little Brosius Families and fishing in the Cowlitz River this summer.  We didn't catch a lot on most of our outings but the snuggles and lazy leisurely days with the opportunities to bond with the young ones is priceless.

     The pictures that follow show an afternoon I got to spend with Maddie and Mason.



Maddie and Grandpa
















Mason and Grandpa
















Snuggles are Precious
















Not all Fishing is with a Pole













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