News, updates, and happenings with the Kragnes family: Phil, our Seeing Eye Dogs, and (me) Rebecca.

Archive for December, 2015

Lost and Found

This weekend’s gospel reading at church was about Jesus staying in the temple area, while Mary and Joseph started home thinking Jesus was with other relatives in their caravan. They returned and found Jesus there, and despite their worry about loosing him, he really wasn’t that apologetic.
I listened to an ABC podcast about a man who fathered twins and then they and their mother disappeared for 40 years. The man and his twins were reunited, and tears streamed down my face, as I heard the reunion.
I have an uncanny ability to lose things, despite my good intentions. Luckily, I’m married to Phil who has the uncanny ability to find lost things. I recently lost a pair of sound activated light-up glasses I wear for my performances. Because of how they were plugged in to be charged, both of us had a feeling they were behind our bed, but between Phil’s injured arms from some successful skin cancer surgery and my arms which were too big to get between the slats, we didn’t know how we were going to retrieve them. A couple of weeks ago, Phil pulled out the night stand and somehow got them out, along with something else I lost. I don’t even remember what that was anymore.
Then there was the “wearable art”, a trinket with sound activated lights Phil gave me around the same time as the glasses. It was gone for months, and then there was this little nudge which said, “Open the bottom nightstand drawer, and look one more time”. Of course, there it was! I was used to the nudges from God telling me to play a particular song. I had several experiences in which someone comes up and names that song as something they needed to hear after I received a nudge to play that particular song.. But it’s rare that I have the nudge tell me exactly where to find something. When I lose things, I tend to simmer, particularly if I drop them, and they roll. Phil gets super loud and cusses out his frustration saying it helps him get rid of it before bending down to find the lost object.
Without a dog, I feel lost sometimes. I feel clumsy and dislike accidentally tripping or hitting someone with my cane. Then there are those situations when we realize just how much a dog does. I was traveling with a friend and his guide dog in the lead. I was unfamiliar with the block, but I usually do OK with my cane trailing buildings if they are there. I didn’t realize the sidewalk jogged in under a building, until I could barely keep both feet on the sidewalk, because it became so narrow! Fortunately a police officer got me straightened out and helped me get through the jog and out from under the building. My friend’s dog just took care of the jog without having to be coached. These incidents make me look forward to the day I’ll hold a harness and not encounter the obstacles I do today with my cane. 
Throughout December, we had something we lost, which didn’t become apparent to us until Saturday night. For the past two winters, we’ve hired a wonderful snow shoveler named Ray to shovel our front and back walks, ramp,, deck and driveway. We thought we heard him out there during the very small snows we had, only to be frustrated when nothing was done at all. Phil and I were getting frustrated with the situation and a little with each other too. Finally he asked me to go check to see whether the cash we left at the beginning of the month had been taken from its spot. We found the cash and found the problem when calls were no longer taken at Ray’s number. So then we had a new problem on our hands. Who were we going to hire to take care of our snow? I sent some texts, but then Phil had a fabulous idea! He’d spoken at an alternative high school in the area, so he called the friend of a friend who asked him to speak. Not only did Phil’s speaker recruiter promise to look for high school students in our area. He and his wife needed to walk their dog and came to our place. They took care of the little snow from yesterday, and Phil and I had a little fur to stroke. Most promising of all, we may have found some neighborhood friends, as the couple live only five blocks from us. They already texted us to get a date for dinner and then games at our house.
There are several things on the horizon about which I’m really worried! but there’s only so much I can do to help these situations. I keep having to remind myself of the “lost-andfound cycles”, and that I’m currently in the lost part. After doing all I can do to make it work, it’s really God who gives me the nudges or sends police officers, friends, and eventually dogs to help us go from lost to found.


Kragnes Christmas Card

“How do we begin?” we ask. “Where do we start‚ÄĚTo talk about 2015 without a song to impart?

Lines of “all we want for Christmas are Seeing Eye Dogs just won’t do,

But with this rhyme we’ll try to summarize this year for you.

Maybe if we’re quick about it, maybe if we’re fast,

It won’t feel like the eternity we’ve lived to read of this year past.”
Phil’s now a double amputee and spent most of the year healing.

But the sore on his leg is the physical wound, not the grief that he is feeling.

Three days before Phil came home, his guide dog Garron died.

He acted fine and touched so many, despite the cancer inside.

Zane was a major comfort in the months of Phil’s home stay,

But when Phil went back to work, Zane also went away.

He retired with a friend and is doing well while at his new home base.

With a younger Black Lab “brother”, we know he’s in a good place!
The Kragnes house feels so empty now without at least four paws,

But it’s out in public we feel less sure, and there’s a double cause.

The cane or wheelchair aren’t preferred for ways we’d like to travel,

   How the public treats us without our guide dogs makes our spirits unravel.
On December 14 Phil’s mom went home to be with her Lord,

Where her memory gone for years is sure to be restored.

But memories of Anna with friends and family live on,

And will be shared for years to come although her spirit has gone.  
Phil’s adjustable Lanyards or “PALs” are currently his pastime.

PALs may turn into more than a hobby, maybe a little sideline.
Rebecca still does her music at The Malt Shop and at Church.

She longs to write her songs again and is on the search,

For the creative juices which feel so dry, but one day they will flow.

Perhaps as life improves and steadies it will happen so.
The highlight of 2015 was seeing Stevie Wonder.

That night in March kept us afloat when it felt we were going under.
Rebecca’s Internet Radio shows are now at stations they fit.

It took trying several before finding comfy places to sit.

Peach Tree Radio FM hosts her Keyboard Kaleidoscope,

 Radio For Life hosts Blessing Blend, a Christian show of hope.
And hope is one thing we still have despite the crummy year.

2016 is bound to be better, and it’s almost here!

A friend keeps reminding Rebecca it takes many a baby step.

Rebecca appreciates family and friends for their influx of pep.

Phil got rid of home health care, recently his wound vac.

It’s the first of many baby steps which will bring normalcy back.

Next the wound will completely heal then a new prosthetic limb,

Will allow Phil to walk again! what a joyous day for him!

There are a lot of factors on which it will depend,

When both of us will meet and train with a future furry friend.
Next summer The American Council of the Blind will be in town,

We look forward to seeing friends who attend. We’ll definitely be around! 

Are Advent may be long, and our Christmases be late.

But our Thanksgiving will go beyond the turkey as we wait.

Thanks for the countless favors of our friends and family.

Thanks for the financial support for the ramp on Go Fund Me.

Most importantly for being with us through this rough, tough period,

And listening to our complaints and whines of which there’s been myriad!

Next year this letter will be written from at least one canine.

We’ll go back to a carol with words which fit the song in every line.

We hope your years have been better than the one which we have seen.

Merry Christmas happy solstice, Chanukah, quanza blessed twenty sixteen!

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