I was fitted with my new ankle brace yesterday. It actually goes inside my sneaker.

I won’t be wearing fancy shoes or sandals with it, but I haven’t been able to do that for ten years anyway.

With My Shoe Off:

You learn to do what you have to do. And for me to be mobile right now, it was going to either be the heavy walking boot or this brace.

I hope Medicare will pay some of the cost because this custom brace was $1400.

The photos are a little blurry because I took them from just a few feet away.

With My Shoe On:

This is what my custom brace looks like with my sneaker on

So far so good. My doctor told me to wear it in 3-hour increments in order to become accustomed to it. He said he thought this brace was our best bet. At least for now.

My ankle is protected (I hope anyway) from further injury, and I will be more mobile. The brace doesn’t weigh much so this will also help my hip pain problem.

Never ever take walking for granted. It was exhilarating for me just to walk normally without the heavy boot.

Baby Squirrels:

I’ve been noticing a lot of baby squirrels lately. Two little squirrels in about two days have run in front of my car and I’ve had to quickly hit my brakes.

I sure don’t want to kill a baby squirrel. Their parents need to teach them about cars and crossing the road.

A Sweet & Cherished Gift:

In New Brace, A Gift, Ivy & My Patio, this is the gift: a stained glass image of Gracie with wings and a blue ribbon representing her blue eyes.

Sweet reader Laura sent me a gift. And I received it yesterday.

She had an Etsy shop make it.

Laura said the blue ribbon the kitty angel is hanging from represents Gracie’s pretty blue eyes. And it even has her ginger markings. She thought of everything.

This poem came with it:

The poem that came with the stained glass kitty gift from a reader

How kind of her to do this for me. Thank you, Laura. This is an incredibly beautiful and heartfelt gift and I will cherish it always.

Ivy’s New Habit:

Ivy has started carrying around the pads from my walking boot.

I’ve seen her put one in the bathtub. Oftentimes one is right beside her.

I wonder if she’s carrying them around because they have my scent on them? Usually she just carries around the red and white curtain ties.

Ivy is seeking more and more of my attention. And I’m putting everything aside to give it to her.

Sometimes she sits just behind my chair where I can see her and meows at me. I see what I believe is confusion and sadness in her eyes.

Ivy’s eyes have always been very expressive.

My Patio:

Someone asked to see my patio again. Here are a couple of photos.

In New Brace, A Gift, Ivy & My Patio, this is the view of my patio from inside my living room

I paid one of the maintenance men to haul off the white trunk after I took the garden things out of it. It was kind of an eyesore.

The front office sent an email out asking that non-patio or garden items be taken off resident patios.

The view of my patio from inside my apartment

I’ve decided to pay the maintenance men if they agree to do things for me that are not directly apartment-related. Like heavy lifting or hauling off an old trunk. And also putting furniture together.

I will schedule maintenance issues through the office as is required.

These guys are great. I know all their life circumstances. They need this money for their families. A little extra always comes in handy.

Since I’ve decided not to lift or move things that are too heavy anymore, I promised myself I have to want it bad enough to pay to have it done. That will keep me from rashly doing things without giving it great thought.

Overdoing It & Later Paying For It:

I’ve overdone it for years. Doing things I had no business doing by myself. And I’m now paying a price for that.

Six painful months in that walking boot has finally knocked some sense into me.

My monstera plant on the patio

The pain was driving up my blood pressure despite two blood pressure medications.

Then a few weeks ago when I had my bi-annual tests and office visit, my doctor sent me a message: Blood sugars are trending up and renal function has gone down.

I’d never had the renal function part mentioned in any test I’ve had done before.

I know next to nothing about this. But I began reading what I could find on the relationship between high blood pressure, blood sugar, and renal function.

This article explains how high blood pressure affects kidney function.

So I knew I had to take measures to get things under control. Like pain level. Being more careful about what I eat, etc.


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  1. The gift you received from Laura made me tear right up. How thoughtful and kind! Ivy is lucky that you are so aware, and so caring about her feelings. Good luck with your new brace!

  2. I have had high blood pressure for years. I take two different meds for it, one specifically taken to prevent damage to my kidneys.
    Lisinopril is a medication of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor and is used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure, and after heart attacks.[7] For high blood pressure it is usually a first-line treatment. It is also used to prevent kidney problems in people with diabetes mellitus.[7] Lisinopril is taken by mouth.[7] Full effect may take up to four weeks to occur.

  3. The gift is beautiful and poem so touching. So glad the brace is working out. I have been doing the ACV for over three years for my arthritis and has helped my overall health immensely. I drink it twice a day in my green tea with a touch of additional honey, as I use Wedderspoon ACV with Manuka honey. I get it from Amazon and like it better than Bragg’s, also contains the mother. Have found it also helps with energy level as well. Green tea and matcha may help your numbers as well. Good luck. You might also try a multiple plant stand on the wall next to storage, sort of a green wall. Herbs mixed with ferns, lambs ear and golden tears. Just a suggestion. What ever you do will be spectacular.

  4. I’m glad you’re getting use to your new brace Brenda bc it sounds like it is just what u needed!
    Laura gave u a thoughtful and precious gift that u will treasure forever!
    I just had a moment thinking u could hang Gracie’s ornament by her box and purchase 3 more ornaments for your other pets and do the same thing. That way u can honor each pet that u love!❤️🐈🐕

  5. This new brace looks and sounds like it will be so much better than the old one. I never take walking for granted…after breaking my heel bone when I was in my 30’s and then having meniscus surgery on my knee about five years ago, I know the limitations of walking when you’re injured. To be able to move about without any limitations is a gift I am always thankful for.

    What a beautiful gift that Laura sent you!

    Scary about your test results. I hope that with your new brace, you can start making some more steps in positive directions to get your health under control.

  6. Brenda wishing you the best with your brace. My co-workers drank the Bragg’s ACV, I should start drinking it. Laura the kitty was such a beautiful and thoughtful gift. You have the best friends Brenda.

      1. I did get the gummies and being the baby I am I didn’t care for the texture of them although it was better than drinking the vinegar. I have to double check if they have the mother.

      2. Check out “good girl moonshine” recipes on Pinterest, not too bad to drink. I only use one tablespoon of vinegar in mine because I do worry about my teeth. They are sort of addicting once you get used to them. I even add collagen powder and magnesium powder to mine. They might work for you!

  7. I became very dehydrated in 2002 and ended up seeing a nephrologist – a kidney specialist. He told me not to let anyone draw blood from my left arm because we would one day need it for dialysis. In June of 2006 my daughter in law had me start drinking Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar 3 X a day for my allergies. I put 2 tsp (or a T) in a cup of warm water, with honey. Instead of honey, I use Stevia. My nephrologist is middle Eastern, so he’s very low key. I had blood work in August 2006, then saw him a few weeks later. He looked at my lab results and said, “WOW. This is great!” I finally asked about his reaction. He said, “I don’t need to see you again. Your kidneys are perfect.” He then asked me what changed. I told him about the Apple Cider Vinegar and he told me to keep doing it. I recommend that you use the Bragg’s brand, because it has “the mother.” Do some research on this.

    1. I concur – Bragg’s apple cider vinegar is very good for you. I put some in my drinking water almost every day. (Sometimes I forget!) It’s great for digestion, reflux, high blood pressure, blood sugar control and probably other things I’ve forgotten to mention. 😉

  8. Hi Brenda,

    I hope the new ankle brace works. What a special and thoughtful gift from Laura. The poem made me cry. I miss my fur babies too. I received the same lab results as you. I’m 1 year younger than you, 64. It’s been that way the past 2 years. I’ve managed to lose 30 pounds since the end of August, I’d be happy with another 10 to go. My old doctor said the weight loss was reflected in my labs and she was able to remove one of the 2 blood pressure meds. She had to add a 2nd 2 years ago because of the stress I was under they couldn’t get my blood pressure under control. I’ve pretty much cut sugar and salt from my diet, but I need to stay vigilant and also use my small treadmill more. As for the kidney function, I’m to drink a lot more water to help flush the kidneys. The old and new doctors say the medications do run through the kidneys which can reflect in the labs and to drink more water. I just had to repeat all the lab work from February because I went back to work from home and had to go back to Kaiser and they want their own lab results, which turned out the same and now they want them repeated in 2 weeks. Never ends. Thanks for linking the article.

    1. Well, I need to lose weight. But how was I going to do it when I could barely get from one room to the next? And it was so hard to fix meals so I’d go pick up something and you know those kinds of meals aren’t good for you.

  9. Brenda so glad to see that you have realized that your years of “overdoing” must come to a halt, as the saying goes, better late than never. Hopefully by having the maintenance men help with heavy lifting, etc. along with wearing your new brace will relieve some of your pain for now and allow you to put off having the surgery recommended by your doctor.

    1. I’m stubborn and it took a long time for me to “get it.” Daughter Kendra is going to end up in the same boat I’m afraid. That girl will do anything.

  10. The gift from Laura is very beautiful and incredibly thoughtful. I know you will enjoy it for years to come.
    I hope you’ll adjust to the new brace and have improvement with your daily quality of life, Brenda. I’m so glad the maintenance men are available to carry off things and dispose of them for you.
    I asked to see a picture of your patio from the inside out and it looks very nice. You’ll add more plants, and it will be even nicer.
    Have a wonderful Tuesday!

    1. With the trunk out of the way I can put more plants there. I tried putting plants on top, but because of the way the trunk top is made, they kept shifting.

  11. I also have foot/ankle problems from twisting it two years ago. My condition is called Charcot foot, and having high blood sugar contributed to the condition. I also have high blood pressure and kidney disease, and I’m seven years older than you. I hope you are able to prevent these ailments better than I, I didn’t always watch my diet. I do think you are more disciplined in this area. I’m glad your readers are helping you cope with Gracie’s death, it will take time as you know.

    1. Wow, I’m sorry. I’ve never heard of that condition. First time the doctor has mentioned anything about my renal function, so I’d better get on top of it.

  12. Brenda, you have the kindest readers. Laura that was an incredibly special gift. I read the poem and cried, it reminded me of my sweet Munchen who will be waiting for me. I hope the new brace works well. With age comes wisdom my friend, I was just thinking yesterday of all of the things I wish I had done when I was younger.

    Take care of yourself, and your sweet Ivy.

  13. What a beautiful gift from
    Laura. I noticed right away the body color was just like Gracie. What a poignant poem. Wonderful to think our pets are pain free now.

    You have wonderful maintenance people. You have always been so generous with them. I am sure they appreciate all you can help them with.

    Sounds like the new boot might just be the ticket.

  14. Brenda, I am happy your new brace will give you support, increased mobility and hopefully relief some pain. But what a shame these medical devices are so exorbitantly priced. I once needed a knee brace that PT assured me was covered and was not. I hope Medicare covers the cost for you. But what price is too much for the ability to walk? I am glad to see your patio space as is and look forward to the way it will look after you are able to put your green thumb and talent to work. Just a place to sit with flowers is so good for our souls. I look forward to each of your posts. Sherry B

  15. Laura, you, too, are an angel! What a way to address what was discussed here last week: life moving on while the grieving person is left to wonder why others just don’t get it. YOU get it.
    I’m in tears over the message. I believe we’ll see our pets in heaven, waiting for us patiently.

  16. Awww, Brenda, you are so sweet! I’m so glad you liked the kitty. That brings joy to my heart. Thank you. And that was a beautiful poem too.

  17. What a beautiful and touching gift. I love the verse that came with it. How very kind you are, Laura.

    I hope your ankle support helps you be able to enjoy life more. Now that gardening season is here, I am more active and happier as a result.

    Might be fun to feed the birds with something low maintenance like suet cakes for woodpeckers & bags of thistle for goldfinches. Ivy would have some eye candy 🙂

    1. I’m not fully used to wearing the brace yet. But it makes walking much easier. They told me at the doctor’s office that it would become my new best friend. My whole foot is more stable when I have it on.

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