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.

34 Responses

  • I love how you are maintaining such a positive attitude and employing creative thinking! When I broke my foot and had to use crutches, I found I had to carry a backpack, use travel coffee mugs and water bottles. Fast healing!

  • That is so funny, Aliy, tho it must be frustrating to you. And I bet those pups are really laughing at your antics… I know I am! You will find a way to solve mobility, I'm sure, soon. What will people think? You can navigate the Iditarod but not your own house… lol. j/k.. *hugs* to Cayenne and I suppose you too… love your posts… keep them coming.

  • Oh Aliy, you just gave me the best laugh I've had in a long time! Sorry girl, but all snickering aside, how do you manage going to the bathroom? Oh no, I'm laughing again….. Wishing you a speedy recovery (and once you're all better you can give Allen a swift kick in the shins). Ruth

  • Oh my Goodness!
    LOL so great a description of the circus in the kitchen. Skateboard, wagon? Allen must be in the garage welding something for you!? Aliy your writing is great, you bring us into the experience every time.

  • Look on the bright side – at least they are not burning 10,000 calories a day and need fed every 2 hours! I've been racking my brain for a helpful suggestion, but I haven't come up with anything better than what you have already tried. You are such a trooper, Aliy. I bet those dogs are lining up for their turn to come inside and see if the tales they've been hearing could possibly be true.

    Best wishes for quick and uneventful healing. Peg

  • I'm laughing so hard I'm crying! I can see that food a-flying. That and coffee drips, though I'm guilty of that without crutches. I'm also imagining the look on Allen's face when he has to bring a big ol bag of food into the house twice as often as is normal. Think skateboard to line up the filled dishes on, then roll it to appropriate spot, unload, move on.

    Hahaha. Thanks for the laugh. By week 6, this too will be a breeze.

  • Oh Aliy, I'm laughing hysterically too! I'm so sorry for your troubles, but you sure are keeping us amused! Would sitting on said chair with the bowls on your lap while pushing with the good leg work? Maybe it'll help maneuver Scout's throw rugs? I'm picturing food in one bowl nested inside an empty water bowl with a water bottle sitting on top of the food. I've never been on crutches, so all guesses here. I can already see the line-up at the door for "mom time". No puppies, I dare say. They'd be under your feet at all times, those silly babies.

  • Aliy – as one who has been there before – you need an old fashion tea trolly (English style). One with castors on the bottom. That way you can hold onto it when you go anywhere. There are also the tray on the top – handy for the coffee and breakfast – so you don't need to make several trips to the kitchen. Other than that – train the dogs!!! One gets the bowls, one gets the bag of food and you get the water!
    All the best for your recovery

  • Using a "walker" to get around at "feeding time" with a rigged kibble-pouring hanging serving object on its front bar might permit you to fill pre-located bowls…

  • Bet you're not laughing but I can't help but laugh! Our daughter Kristin (Karolyn's mother )has been on crutches for almost three months with a severely broken leg and has expressed similar frustration in simple daily tasks….especially the morning coffee business and prepping food for herself! Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  • Well since you've already posted all the trail AliyCam's I vote that a one-foot dog feeding AliyCam would be hysterical. At least tell us that since Tig is a retriever that she's taking pity on you and gathering all the empty dog bowls up and bringing them back to you. Sorry that this story makes me giggle, no doubt you're frustrated. But your brain and problem solving skills are getting a workout even if your body isn't. Wishing you fast healing!

  • That was hilarious!!! I was waiting for Allen to come in and say "um….honey….I fed them all before I went out to do chores!" Makes ya appreciate how people adapt to the physical challenges in life…where there is a will, there is a way!

  • That has got to be a challenge. I was on crutches once when I was 7, but didn't have a lot of household chores then and don't remember much about it. Maybe a utility cart in the kitchen would help. We have a couple in our garage to help haul various things outside (garden supplies, grill supplies etc..) However, if the rolling chair was not helpful, a cart might not be either. I'm glad you are entertaining the dogs. I wonder what is going through their mind while watching their fearless leader jump around, roll around, etc…. One week down, hang in there.

  • Aliy, you crack me up. Glad your healing and the dogs are enjoying your trials with feeding times. I,too, recently had surgery except I have been one handed. I didn't realize that too would have its difficulties daily- getting dressed, eating feeding and caring for my dogs and other critters I've acquired. Praying for a quick recovery and rehab for your foot.

  • Aliy–you are just too funny! That dog food–lots of laughs!
    Thanks for the posts–Take Care and GET WELL!

  • Backpack or bag with sealed containers to carry stuff… Hands and knees were my mode of choice albeit in carpeted home-safer than crutches going up and down stairs. Maybe get a pair of volleyball knee pads??? Best of luck. I did recover completely from a bad ankle break but it takes lot of patience! Keep up your sense of humor and wish you all the best. Monica

  • What a hoot.

    When I had bunion surgery, I opted to do both feet at once and get it over with. The temptation of crutches never came into it. But I became VERY good and getting around in a wheel chair .. not need to scoot with one foot, worry about throw rugs, etc. I highly recommend keeping one on your living level. You can even roll yourself out onto the deck

    … and it's kinda fun – really!

  • Hi Aliy, so sorry but I just had to laugh as I KNOW what you are going through. A winter sliding sled works for preloaded food bowls pretty well and might work with your "chair"? I have used in the past in my wheelchair for various stuff 😉 You put the rope around the back of the chair and proceed to push chair forward. I don't know if this will help inside, but if not, I'm sure you and Allen will figure out a way to make this easier. Thanks for sharing even this with us. You really Rock Lady. Love and hugs to all and prayers for a fast recovery.

  • When I had foot surgery I used a knee scooter. It was great and you can put a basket on the handle bars. I taught classes, walked the dogs and many other normal activities. Good luck – I know the cabin fever.

  • Aliy, you had me laughing from yesterday to today, and I don't think I'm done yet.
    I am learning a lot from you. My mom used a tea trolley, but eventually switched to a Rolator, and now I'm thinking I will ask about my Dad or my Mom's Rolator before my surgery!

    I have been imagining feeding one dog and wondering if I can, and you with three, five. Oh my, ten minutes sounds like a record on crutches.
    If you make a trip to the store, let us know how it goes. I'm thinking I might need to be prepared to live on processed foods for two months, ugh.

    Keep doing what you're doing Aliy. Lots of beautiful spring views to see and out there.

  • I hates crutches!! Try a walker that has a basket on the front.
    Much more stable and it won't fall over when you let go of it. Can
    also be used, carefully, for upper body strenthening exercises. 🙂

  • Aliy, I tell my patients to use travel mugs to transport liquids (like coffee). Put stuff in an igloo (they come soft too) and drag it to where you need it. Use old water and juice bottles to transport liquids. This might help with the dogs. BTW, we need a video!

  • BINGO!

    Several others who have commented above might see a definite contribution to "healing" therapy after you have figured out a few different methods for feeding dogs while in a foot cast and I agree.

    Considering that this would be a way to show how helpful dogs can be when they sense their musher is in need of cooperation???

    This being the Youtube age, perhaps a video (fixed camera in a "wide" setting) illustrating the various methods…

    Dr. Chena might like to assist…

    Best always,

  • Holy Cats! I simply died laughing out loud at with your tremendously funny description of feeding time in the house. You do such a great job job describing this, I had tears in my eyes. What creative methods you develop when you have to solve a something!!

  • Bless you for the wonderful sense of humor, Aliy!! You can be the Erma Bombeck of musherdom when you finally retire at about 87. I mean Deedee is 60+ and still going strong so… Think of the great stories you can share and the distant descendants of the current crop of dogs who will have some genetic memory of so many fun times. Just kidding but thanks for sharing and in such an upbeat way!!

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