Thursday, June 14, 2018

Burial of Steve's Ashes

On Saturday, May 26, our family gathered at the Oakwood Cemetery in Austin for a burial service for Steve's ashes. The burial was postponed to this time in the hopes Steve's brother, David, would be well enough to attend. Thankfully, it worked out for him to be there.

Hans, Heidi and Marshall flew into Minneapolis on Friday, and they stayed at my home. I loved having them here, even though our time together went by so fast.

Saturday morning we drove to Austin and our first stop was at the mortuary to pick up Steve's ashes. Heidi and Hans went in while I waited outside. They came out with a very nice oak box. It surprised me as I was expecting something more in the nature of metal—not sure why. We checked into our hotel and drove to a garden shop to buy some flowers to put on his grave.

A bit before 3 we gathered at the cemetery for the informal service.  My sister and brother – Janet and Jerry – were there as well as my cousins Pat and Pudge. Steve's brother David and his wife Donna, their daughter Amy and some of her kids, and their son, Tim, and some of his kids came. Also, a woman Steve worked with at the mortuary came with her husband. She said I graduated from high school with her, but I don't remember her.

L to R: Tim, Hans, Heidi and Peder

Marshall with his hand on Steve's ashes

Heidi, Peder and Hans
Heidi welcomed everyone and then read her prepared tribute. It was an emotional time for her and I was so proud of her. She memorialized her dad in a very nice way. Next Steve's brother, David, read his prepared speech. One had to listen hard to hear him since he was dealing with laryngitis. He mentioned his parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles buried in the spot as well.

Steve's remains are buried next to his mother and dad. His stone has the same design as his parents.

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.