Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Last Thursday I had an appointment to see my surgeon. The visit began with the taking of x-rays. Next I saw my surgeon and he brought up the x-rays on two large screens. He showed me the side and straight away pictures of my spine and I clearly saw the eight screws and two titanium bars that are now a part of me. My doctor said he could see everything is staying lined up and healing well. Next he checked my incision and was pleased that it is healing well. Lastly, he told me I need to wear my brace two additional months. I did not want to hear this. I said I was disappointed but would follow his instructions. I told him it meant I would not be going on my church choir's trip abroad in June to sing in churches in Sweden and in Norway, plus a two day stay in Iceland. To that he replied there will be another time for me to go there. 

front view of my brace

Prior to going to this appointment, I searched the Internet to see what I could learn about the fusion of L3 - S1. I found this fascinating YouTube showing the process of the fusion surgery.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig!

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig! I have traveled far and been away for too many surgeries to count, and now I am back home again. There is nothing so sweet and comforting as "home." 

My surgery went well. I was in the hospital from Wednesday, the 11th until Saturday, the 14th. Peder and Aurelia came to the hospital to get me in a snow storm—the biggest snowfall ever in the twin cities April books. After stopping by my house to pick up a couple of things, they drove me to the Minnesota Masonic Home where I spent the past 10 days. 

While at the Masonic Home, I was given physical and occupational therapy each twice a day. This was a work-out for me, but I wanted so much to get back on my feet so I did everything that was asked of me. In the off times, not right away, of course, I went on long walks—one day I logged over a mile. It was on these walks I discovered two museums for the Minnesota Masonic Home. I found the history fascinating.

The smaller museum showed me how the home came to be. The Masons of Minnesota purchased the large estate of Marion Savage, the owner of famed race horse, Dan Patch, in 1918, to be used as a home for the infirmed. As there was more need, more buildings were added, and eventually the original stately home was demolished, due to deterioration. Just recently, in 2016, a multimillion dollar addition was added that includes a beautiful 500 seat auditorium and a fabulous museum of the Masons.

Bonnie trying out my walker and Nancy sporting my brace

My stay at the Masonic Home was very good. I was given three good meals each day, and could have snacks whenever I chose. I had many visitors, received cards and flowers, and enjoyed meeting all of the people in my wing. Each day for meals I chose to sit at a different table so that I could meet the other patients. Each person was there for one illness or another and I tried to encourage them to keep on with their therapy to get stronger each day. The nursing staff and therapy team were really good. Of course, a few of them stood out to me. One particular aid, Glenda, was a very dear woman, and she shared photos of her family with me. 

But as I stated at the beginning, it is so good to be back home again. Nels really missed me, and I missed him. Oh, and while I was away, nearly all of the snow melted. The weather has gotten really nice!

Saturday, April 07, 2018


My mother and me
Yesterday was the 58th anniversary of my mother's sudden death. It so happened my brother and sister had already made plans to come to see me and to bring me two pieces of equipment to use following my surgery. Once my brother got the legs sized for me, we sat down and had a good visit.

After talking for awhile, it was time for lunch, so we headed out the door and drove to Eden Prairie where I showed them the cooperative where I am on a waiting list. Then we went to Redstone where we had a relaxing meal. I had thought we could share the banana cream pie for dessert—a tradition of Heidi and mine—but we were too full.

While driving back to my home I mentioned the trouble I have been having with buying a sweatsuit to take to the hospital, recommended for me to wear when it is time for me to go home. Jerry said I could probably have luck at Fleet Farm. He and Janet said they wouldn't mind driving to the one closest to me to check it out. I'm so happy we did because I scored by getting the pants and hooded zip shirt on sale!

Before falling asleep last night, I enjoying going over the memories of the day. It really was a good time.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Where Is Spring?

The calendar says it is Spring, but looking outside I must disagree. Yesterday we had snow falling and the wind was blowing, too. We got about 8 inches. I was happy I didn't have to go anywhere. Sometime during the night I heard snow plows. Sure enough, after getting out of bed this morning I looked out the window and the sidewalks and parking places had been cleared.

Today the sky is blue and the sun on the new white stuff is a bit pretty, but it is difficult to appreciate it when it is the 3rd of April and I am longing to see green grass and some flowers outside my porch. And speaking of my porch, both Nels and I are looking forward to spending some time out there.

In the meantime, I sport my long underwear and turtleneck shirts, while knitting. Next week I will go to the hospital to have another back surgery. I am praying the weather will warm up while I am away from home. It would feel good to spend some time outdoors while I am recovering.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Neighborhood Friends

One of  the good decisions I made since retiring was going over to my neighborhood swimming pool last summer. At the beginning of the summer, I knew only one of the "regulars" who frequented the pool in the afternoons. By the end of the season—Labor Day—I had gained 16 new friends. That last day, I brought a notebook with me and I jotted down the contact information of each one and since then our group has met for a progressive dinner, a brunch at Jensen's Cafe in Burnsville, New Year's Eve at Zeke's—followed by a gathering at the home of Mary Jo. Then last Saturday we joined each other at Zeke's (This is our neighborhood tavern/bar.) to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Some had green beer. I had green Sprite (my first ever!). We had a very enjoyable time reconnecting.

L to R: Sandra, Susie, Colleen, Patti
It was during this last event that Rita, seated next to me, talked about the spare ribs she had cooked in her crockpot earlier in the day. That got me thinking about the ribs I had in my freezer. I really wanted to bake them, but the package stated it served 6 people. Consequently, I invited three of my neighbors to come for lunch yesterday.

With little effort, I had my ribs and some baking potatoes in the oven, the table set, and the accompaniments ready to be put on table after my friends arrived. We four had a wonderful time of visiting, and no one was in a hurry to leave. It was really fun.

L to R: Mary Jo, Sandra, Gwen

Cherry pie

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Update On My Back

This morning I had my appointment with the spine surgeon. He showed me the pictures from my CT scan two weeks ago. The scan shows my previous surgery done December 2, 2016 (L5/S1) has not healed and he told me it was not done correctly. There is a piece of hardware that appears to "floating," when it should be connected to the screw on the right side. That particular screw doesn't go in far enough either. The screw on the left side was never inserted correctly. It should have been screwed in at an angle instead of straight ahead. The surgeon asked me who had done my surgery and at what facility. 

The surgeon said I have three choices: 1) live with it; 2) have more injections to see if they would give me relief [This puts a band aid on the situation.]; or 3) have surgery to fuse L5/S/1 up to L3/L4. I told him I would like him to do the surgery. He told me he is booked up for the next month, but will get me in as soon as possible. His assistant will get back to me in a few days. I will spend about three nights in the hospital and the recovery will be three to six months. 

I feel good about this doctor and am praying for healing. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

~ ~ ~ Steve ~ ~ ~

I was first attracted to Steve when I was in the 8th grade. His family had begun attending our church and I thought he was very handsome. I was acquainted with his sister, Cecelia, from seeing her at Sumner School, my elementary school. In February of my 9th grade, 1960, I went to the formal banquet with Steve which was held at our church. This was our first "date." Our relationship was on and off for the next three years, but when I was a freshman in college and he was a sophomore, he asked me to marry him. That was November 11, 1963. I was very excited about marrying him for that would mean I would have a place to call "my home." I hadn't had that since my mother's passing in April of 1960.

Steve had a passion for learning and wanted so much to study on the college and seminary level. He was a great student, earning high marks. He earned a Bachelor of Theology from Minnesota Bible College (no longer in existence) and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Paul Bible College (now Crown College) in 1968. Following that, we moved to Lincoln, Illinois, where he pursued his Master of Divinity at Lincoln Christian Seminary. They had a special program for students to take concentrated classes every Tuesday/Wednesday for three years, which allowed them to work in other places to help pay their way. He proudly graduated with his M. Div. in 1971. During that time he had been hired to be the youth pastor, followed by the senior pastor at First Christian Church in Joliet, Illinois. [All three of our kids, Hans (1970), Peder (1973) and Heidi (1977) were born in Joliet.] It didn't take Steve long before he began studying for his Doctor of Ministry degree at Trinity, which he earned in 1987. We lived and worked in Joliet until June 1978, upon which we moved back to Minnesota where Steve became professor of Christian Education and Church History at Crossroads College, formerly called Minnesota Bible College. We lived in Austin rather than Rochester where the college was located due to the lower cost of housing Austin afforded.

Life was busy with raising three kids. Steve had to take time for studying, but also fit in time for his love of running—often training to run marathons. The family followed him to cheer him on at the Twin Cities Marathons, Grandma's Marathons and on his 40th birthday we even went to Chicago where he ran in their big marathon. The older our kids became, the more activities grew. Once Heidi started kindergarten, I began working part-time at a local bakery. After a year and a half, I got a job working at Hormel Foods. And then life got complicated and our marriage was in trouble and eventually it ended in divorce.

* * * * *

Fast forward to Friday, January 12, 2018. Hans phoned me to let me know his dad had been found dead. Apparently Steve had missed a lunch date and when his brother David had been called to ask if he knew of his whereabouts, he sent Donna over to Steve's house to investigate. In all likelihood, Steve died of a heart attack in his sleep, for it was later reported to us he had complained of a sore left shoulder and arm, but passed it off as nothing. 

Steve's funeral was held Thursday, January 18, at the Austin Church of Christ where he had been the minister for several years. His nephew, Tim, officiated. It would have pleased Steve to see the sanctuary filled—all the way to the back pews. For me the best part was the speech Hans gave to honor his dad. 

Chad, Heidi, Rachel, Hans, Peder, Sarah, yours truly

Felix, William, Josiah, Anni, Relie

Tim, Lauren, Andrea, Heidi, Rachel, Hans, Peder, Devin, Sarah, Phillip, Montana, Amy, Ricky, Cece
Tim, Andrea, Heidi, Hans, Amy, Peder

Heidi and Hans chilling out in my cottage
This whole ordeal has been very hard on Hans, Peder and Heidi. Not only did they have to put their lives on hold and make their way to Austin to plan for a funeral, but they have a house and garage that are full and they must dispose of everything. My heart hurts for them.