Before I had surgery, Allen and I thought about what I’d need for my soon to be “one-legged” lifestyle. The primary thing that came to mind was: crutches. Both of us remembered seeing a used set of crutches in the outhouse – along with some old hardcover novels, some maps and lots of spiders. So, we rescued the crutches and by golly, they looked useable. We brought them down to Anchorage, into the surgery center and bing-bang-boom… I was ready to go.
Now, one week post surgery as well as “one-legged”, I’ll have to admit that crutches are an enormous help but are also an amazing hinderance. What I didn’t realize is that a person on crutches isn’t just “one-legged” they are also “zero-handed”. That’s right… I can get where I need to go, but don’t expect me to bring anything to the Potluck!
It’s a challenge every morning (after navigating downstairs) to simply transport my coffee cup and milk the 10 feet over to my coffee maker. Heaven forbid if I need water or have to empty the used coffee beans. Much of these tasks are performed while hopping (instead of crutching) and usually leads to stains of water and coffee all over the floor.
The next task on hand is to feed the ‘indoor dogs’. Sometimes Allen feeds them but other times he has already headed out to start his day: working out, feeding the outdoor dogs, doing kennel chores and such (it’s like his life hasn’t changed at all post surgery… Grrrrrr!)
The number of indoor dogs is a variable number – let’s just say there are always at least three (and up to six) dogs standing at attention as I try to lean over, both crutches in one hand, to clean up the spilled coffee beans.
How hard can feeding a few dogs be? Well…
Each dog has a “spot” in the house for their bowl. The “spots” are spread out so each dog has privacy. We have always thought that his is great way to control the dog feeding chaos factor. Now I realize that, no, this is simply a torture technique for a person on crutches. On my first feeding attempt, I tried to bring all the bowls to a central area, by putting the empty bowls on a place mat and dragging them across the floor with the foot of my crutch. I filled them with food and water then returned them individually (by kicking them along the floor with my good foot) to their “spots”. Ten minutes later, after each dog had nearly died of dehydration from drool, the dogs were fed.
On the second attempt, I put the crutches to the side and hopped. I filled a measuring cup with both dog chow and water and proceeded to hop from bowl to refill area to bowl to refill area, etc. I scared most of the dogs with that “aggressive, jumpy movement” and only about half the kibble made it into each dog bowl. The rest of the kibble was scattered on the floor in lines from bowl to bowl to bowl. Kind of a “follow the bread crumbs” kinda morning.
The third attempt (you gotta keep trying, right?), I used my office chair that has rollers on the bottom. I can rest the knee of my bad leg on the chair’s seat and scoot it with my good foot across the room. I can also set dog food, dishes and other stuff on the seat as I motor around. Our house is not large. There is probably less than 300 square feet to maneuver in the living area floor. This “enormous” space is punctuated with a couch, some chairs and a table, dog kennels, dog beds and quite a few throw rugs. The throw rugs are scattered here and there because the wood flooring can be slippery and scary to some dogs (Note: Scout can navigate 5 miles of treacherous glare ice on the windy Bering Sea coast but don’t ask him to cross the 4 foot span from throw rug to throw rug. Yikes!)
Anyhow… back to my third attempt at feeding… throw rugs do not help while scooting my office chair here and there. Inevitable the chair gets stuck on a rug corner, stops suddenly and, you guessed it… the dog chow once again goes flying across the room in every direction.
The bottom line is the entire SP Kennel dog population is now even more excited for their chance to be a “house dog” for the day simply because they get Aliy entertainment and most likely, lots of dog chow to clean up.