Thanksgiving - Especially to Kristin and Dr. Christy King

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Saturday, November 30, 2013 2:19 PM

I started writing a Thanksgiving post the other day, but got distracted.  A little late is better than never, right?

The first thing I'm thankful for this year is that I finally had surgery on my foot three weeks ago.  I have strict non-weight bearing orders for at least 6 weeks.  After that, I'll be in physical therapy and will slowly start putting weight on it again.  All in all it will probably be at least 6 months or more before I'm back on my feet so to speak.  Healing takes time.  After dealing with this injured foot for over two years, I am NOT going to rush my recovery.
I'm thankful to finally know what was wrong with my foot.  And I'm thankful to be able to prove to the naysayers that indeed I have been in pain for the past two years.  But mostly I'm just thankful that I finally had surgery to fix it.

Here is a summary of the surgical findings / fixes.
  1. A significant amount of tenosynovitis within the peroneus tendon sheath (love Google) - DEBRIDED
  2. Low lying peroneus brevis muscle belly with significant synovitis - DEBRIDED 2 cm
  3. A 2 cm longitudinal tear in the peroneus brevus tendon - REPAIRED
  4. A 3 cm longitudinal tear in the peroneus longus tendon - REPAIRED
  5. A hard mass within the peroneus longus tendon - REMOVED (pathology determined it was a segment of dense fibrocartilage adjacent to a small area of trabecular bone with focal calcification and adjacent ossification.  Now isn't that a mouthful of terms for Google searches)
  6. A cyst in the proximal lateral aspect of the cuboid bone - CURETTAGED AND MICRODRILLED TO PROMOTE FIBROCARTILAGINOUS GROUTH

The original splint was removed after two weeks.  Everything looks to be healing well.  My biggest complaint now is pain, burning, and numbness along the outside of my ankle and down the outside of my foot to my small toes.  This is normal and is caused by swelling in the foot putting pressure on the sural and superficial peroneal nerves.  My doctor was very careful to isolate the sural nerve before performing any repairs during surgery.  So hopefully once the foot heals I won't have any permanent nerve damage.
But the foot surgery is not the only thing I'm tankful for right about now.  This year I'm especially thankful for the help of my friend Kristin. 

Post surgery, it would have been impossible to take care of myself, much less the farm (goats, chickens, rabbits, geese, garden).  So I asked Kristin if she wanted to come stay with me for several months to help out.  She had helped with the petting zoo at the Northern California Renaissance Faire so I knew she was good with the animals.  But she's never gardened, canned, fermented, brewed, etc.
Kristin learning to make Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese

I can't afford to pay her as I'm out on disability and have a severely reduced income.  But I offered her room and board along with a chance to learn about sustainable living first hand.  Lucky for me, she jumped at the opportunity.  She and her cat moved into the library (converted garage) so she has her own space and some privacy.
She gets up every morning at the crack of dawn to feed the critters, and makes sure they get fed and put to bed at night.  During her first week here, she did the same for me.  I haven't lived with anyone in years, so I'm happy to report we're getting along just fine.  I don't know how I would have handled this entire episode of my life without help.  I have peace of mind knowing that I don't have to stress about my animals.  I know they are being well taken care of.

And Kristin?  She's thankful for the entire situation too.  She didn't have to stress about finding short term housing.  She loves the animals and is thoroughly enjoying caring for them.  She's learning a lot about gardening, sustainable living, and homesteading skills.  Oh, and the homemade lamb lasagna which included two types of cheese she had helped make along with home grown / canned tomatoes, basil and garlic was fantastic.  She's getting to experience the joy and pride of homemade meals using home grown produce and home made products that she's had a hand in making.
But it's not all work.  We've gone fishing, shopping, and to Dickens Fair.  Plus she's having fun expressing her creative side.  Here she is decorating my cast for Christmas with sparkly snowflakes, Santa, and his reindeer.
Fun stuff!  Thankfully this has proven to be a win-win situation for the both of us.

Happy Holidays!!!

It's been a cabbage kind of day.

Posted by Kitty Sharkey , Saturday, November 9, 2013 9:10 PM

Today is one of the last days I'll be on my feet, so I decided to get some ferments started.  Although fermenting cabbage is easy, it is rather time consuming.  But hopefully it will all be worth it and I'll have some tasty munchies while I'm down and recovering.

Starting with the large jars on the right:

  • 1/2 gallon regular Sauerkraut (cabbage and carrots)
  • 1/2 gallon Garlicky Kraut
  • 1 quart + 1/2 pint Combo Kraut (extra from above + green onion and red Fresno pepper
  • 1 quart Kimchi with Serrano peppers
  • 1 quart Kimchi with Fresno peppers
  • 1 quart Kimchi with Habanero, Serrano, and Fresno peppers
Note:  I will NOT be eating the last version of Kimchi.  And I may not even be able to eat the other two.  I can't do hot peppers.  But my neighbor Gail and my friend Kristin love hot things, so I made these for them.

"Wait a minute!" you say.  "Last days on your feet?"

Yuppers.  Monday I go under the knife for foot surgery (FINALLY!!!).  It'll be at least 6 weeks of non-weight bearing before I start physical therapy and gradually begin walking on it again with a cam boot.  So what's a girl to do?  Splurge a little bit on myself in order to make the whole recovery time a little less of a pain in the ass.

"What did you buy?" you ask?

OH YEAH BABY!!!  That's right.  This sporty little gizmo should be here in about a week, or just about the time that I'll start to go stir crazy from sitting on the couch unable to do jack.  With this knee scooter I should be able to get around the yard so that I can enjoy the garden and sit with the critters.

Oh yeah.  One more bit of good news.

My friend Kristin (aka Puddles) from ren faire has temporarily moved into my library.  She'll be staying with me for a couple months to help out around the place until I'm back on my feet.  So the critters will get fed on time and the garden will get watered.  It's been rather interesting to lay in bed in the early morning and watch her go about the barnyard feeding everyone.  Honestly, it's a HUGE relief knowing that she's here to help.