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

Update / Progress Report

I think we are approaching the current state of normal. The last couple weeks have been somewhat eventful. We dog sat a pet who was very well-behaved. The only issue was that he’s use to sleeping in bed with his humans. Phil and I were not aware of that, and that’s one situation in which Phil’s not having feet in bed with him was a Blessing. If he was awake, he’d invite Henry the dog to his side of the foot of the bed. Notice I said if he was awake. Often I come to bed after Phil, and Henry, claimed my side of the bed. It wasawesome to see Phil interacting with a dog again, and it was fortutous considering the first anniversary of Garron’s death is coming up this week. Phil has been getting used to his new feet for about three weeks, and Thursday he turned them in to be covered to look more leg-like. His endurrance is coming along for the short time he’s had them. He has installed a baby gate and a couple shelves in the kitchen. Saturday night he also took his first fall, and his prosthetist said it would happen. It must happen to all amputees, but blindness plus being a double amputee can make it more difficult. Both of us are ok cane travelers even if we’d prefer to have Seeing Eye Dogs. Phil explained the process of falling far better than I ever could, and those Of you who follow him on Facebook have read it. It had something to do with uneven surfaces. I was more worried about the results, as I heard his cries. I started across the street first, so he could follow my canes taps. The feeling of two prosthetic feet under him is messing with some street crossings, which is something he plans to get use to ASAP. The worst casualty of his fall wasn’t either stump, but an elbow which swelled. It still smarts, but icing it soon after getting home helped. A man and a woman stopped and helped him up and across the street. The man walked us the half a block and through our alley to our home to make sure we made it home OK. He told us his name and where he lived, which isn’t far from us. Despite the myriads of Mark Johnsons in Minneapolis, I think I found the addressand phone number for him and his wife using the Whitepages app on my iPhone. I plan to call, leave a message of thanks and our numbers. They seem like nice people, and despite living in the area for 10 years (just like them), Phil and I know very few people in the immediate area. We were impressed with how many people stopped on this very busy street with offers of help, and it made us feel even better about where we live. It’s nice to have Phil being the cheif cook and going back to being only the cheif dish washer. We do have a dishwasher, but for a while now, things didn’t feel very clean. I always felt like it was my fault for placement of the dishes, but when Phil ran it twice after organizing things himself without the dishes getting clean, we knew it was time to get a professional in here. We pay for a service to keep our appliances going, and our dishwasher needed a new pump. Phil is still using metro for work until we have proof that snow and ice are history for a while. Then he’ll start taking the 23 to his regular bus stop and using his stool there until he builds up the endurrance to walk the five blocks. I think even without the dog he dreams of in his future, he’d still be motivated. I have to say I’ll be more mobile once I have a dog. Cane travel is a fact of life but not very much fun. I did something to my knee a couple weeks ago, and it’s taking a while to recover. It was painful to play piano for three hours at the Malt Shop using my pedal foot, but finally this week I didn’t have that concern. We’re busy with radio show nights, and I’ve covered a Saturday show for the last couple weeks. We’re in a book club once a month, and there’s the week to week meeting with our reader to get through mail. Our volunteer Reader had to move on at the beginning of the year. The guy who replaced him hasn’t been very reliable, and last week we learned he has emotional problems sending him to the hospital and ousting him from the program. We were getting disgusted with how he either canceled last minute or didn’t call at all. A friend is stepping in temporarily, and we’re using several sources to locate a suitable, permanent reader.
For those who have invited us out to dinner, we are to the point where we can start doing things like that again. In some cases, part of the social time of the evening is riding in the car with people. Though Metro Mobility provides us an independent way to get places, it can also be restricting in having to be ready to leave at a set time (even if often they are late). We’ve held off doing things like that, until Phil could walk to and from the car without needing to be pushed in a transfer chair. Until we get our dogs, we’ll take people’s arms and go sighted guide, but usually we’re meeting more than one person anyway.
Speaking of driving cars, Phil is starting to become active in a movement to get funding for researching self-driving cars. They are the wave of the future and could provide more independence for people with all kinds of disabilities who can’t currently drive cars now. I’m certainly for the research, although I’m currently a lot less confident in the technology than Phil and others on the coalition advocating for the research. 

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Comments on: "Update / Progress Report" (1)

  1. KathyZolo said:

    Hello Rebecca,

    Well, you and Phil have definitely gone through your share of change and other mishaps. I somewhat know a little about what Phil is going through with 2 prosthetic feet because my brother has one prosthetic leg. In a little different way, I kept falling after having my first knee replacement surgery and usually it would just be stubbing my toe on something that I didn’t expect to be there. I have also taken a couple of spills in the street so I am thinking about using a quad cane in my right hand with my dog guiding on the left. We shall see how that goes because we are also going back on March 27th to work on aggressive dog issue on Dixie’s part. She is beginning to mature and is very calm, but the dog issues are just horrible to deal with along with not hearing well and having trouble with mobility since I now have a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. I’m not complaining, mind you, just stating the fact of an adjustment that I am still trying to get used to. Yes, I dislike cane travel very much and I respect both you and Phil for getting out there and traveling with canes anyway. Please keep us posted on when you will receive your new dog.

    Kathy and Dixie

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