One year and 16 days

I cannot believe that I have been retired for over a year.  Where does the time go?  It really has been an amazing year but I am realizing more and more everyday that time goes way too fast.  Another birthday will is just around the corner and I do not believe that I am doing as much as I can or should be doing.  Wow, how is that for a first paragraph after not writing in my blog for a very long time?

It is 6:00 AM Saturday morning and Roxanne and I are getting our hair cut.  Yes I did say 6:00 AM.  We have been doing this for a number of years as our stylist likes starting his day early.  So if you need a good stylist in Edmonton, call Van at 780-951-3960.  He is great at what he does, and is a great person.  You would really like him.

Another WOW for today, one of my former colleagues from RBC just walked in. Small world, I will end for today so I can talk to visit with him. Please know I am back and will be writing much more soon. I know you all want to hear about the 2 new hips which are almost 8 months old. Have a great weekend everyone.

THANKFUL

Just a quick post today, I woke up and realized that today is 5 months since my bi-lateral hip replacement…..progress is wonderful and I can even go hiking again. God is so good.I even have had chance to recommend the surgery to other people. Bottom lineI wish I had not worn out my other hips. But I had the surgery and I am not going to stop enjoying life.. I actually feel better now than I have in the last several years.Have an amazing day everyone. Your best is yet to come.

9 months!!!!!!!

Roxanne’s extended family get together July 23

I woke up this morning realizing that today is 9 months since I retired. Where has the time gone? It seems just like yesterday that it was November 1st. This really shows me how fast time really moves and I must be diligent in impacting people everyday. That is one of the things that I miss most about not working. I knew everyday while working that I had an impact on people. I truly believe that is one of my talents and gifts. I have the ability to impact people in a positive manner. Am I always perfect? No! But I sure try my best, because we have to use the talents that we have been given.

Wow, what a way to start today’s BLOG posting. Today is also 4 months and 11 days with my 2 brand new hips. Things continue to go well, and the healing and recovery is fantastic. For the last couple of weeks I have been telling people that I am feeling better now than I have at anytime in the last 2 years. I used to love to walk and then it became a real chore and not something that I liked to do. With these 2 new hips I once again love to walk. This morning I went for a walk, and according to the FITBIT I have walked 5000 steps so far this today. I will reiterate once again, that having the hip replacement was the right thing for me at this point of my life. I now sometimes wonder if I would still be working for the Bank if I had had the operation before retiring. I really did not realize how bad I actually was. I know it had been impacting my day to day activities. I have to say how thankful I am to the Lord for His strength during the healing process.

A great day at the Calgary Zoo

Speaking of steps, 2 weeks ago Roxanne had to go to Calgary for work. I decided to go and keep her company while she drove. Six hours in the car there and back and I did not have a problem sitting. The best part of the story, I went to the Calgary Zoo to spend the day. 15000 steps and I did not get tired. Seeing the zoo was great as I had not been there in 30 years. More importantly that day taught me that my healing was going well. At that time I was down to one cane, and for the most part I am only using it for my walks or when I will be away from home for a while. I am trying to get close to 10,000 steps everyday at this point in time. I am not always hitting 10,000 but I am sure trying.

GOAT (The Greatest Of All Time)

Retirement has allowed me to do many other things that I was not able to do while working. Last week Roxanne had a couple of extended family events one during the week. It was great to be able to be out during the middle of the week and not have to worry about phone calls or emails. Roxanne has such an amazing extended family. I have enjoyed meeting everyone of them over the years. A positive trade off of retirement is being out during the week. Then last Friday I was able to take my parents and my aunt to Smoky Lake. It was a great day and we made lots of wonderful memories. Also you will see the picture of the pies. The apple pie I bought was the greatest pie that I have ever had. If you are ever in the Smoky Lake area stop in at Serben Farms. They have the absolute best food.

I keep saying that I will write the BLOG more often and I will, in saying that I appreciate all the people that are reading the BLOG. I trust that you are enjoying the story of The Retired Banker. Have an amazing day. Today I want to close by saying if you have any prayer requests let me know, and I will add them to my prayer journal and commit to pray for you daily. Take care.

Recovery Continues

Day 237 of Retirement, 95 days with the new hips

First Eskimo Game Of The Year

I have been very amiss in not writing since my surgery. Only one post since the surgery and that talked about the day of the surgery. Some have asked me why I was not writing, for that I must apologize. I found that I did not have a great interest to write while in the early stages of recovery. Now that I am feeling so much better I want to start writing again.

Thinking back to the surgery and my time in the hospital, I can confidently say that I was very blessed. The care I received in the hospital was AMAZING. My surgeon does not do the “anterior” approach so it was the standard hip replacement surgery. I also became aware while in the hospital that they would not have done the “2 for 1 Special” if the “anterior” approach was the surgery of choice.

I remember very well taking my first few steps the day after the surgery and how humbling the experience was. Very little energy and I did not go very far the first day. By the time I went home from the hospital I was doing about 100 steps. Of course using a walker the entire time.

Thankfully the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament started the day of my surgery so I was able to watch the 1st and 2nd rounds in the hospital. It was great, private room, big screen TV and food that was pretty good. (Although I did not want to eat very much). One of my friends brought me a bottle of Coke and it took me 3 days to drink the bottle. Those who know me well know that Coke is my beverage of choice.

A number of my former staff came to visit me in the hospital and we all realized that I did the right thing by retiring first and then doing the surgery. It was discussed that I would have been in the hospital and then at home working away on my “Blackberry”. I would not have slowed down at work and would not have taken the time to recover. With all those thoughts in mind I felt comfortable with the fact that I retired before surgery.

In the hospital they showed me exercises that I needed to do at home until the surgeon gave the OK to start Physio. Thinking back on it now, it was so hard to do some of those exercises in a minimal number, now they are easy and I can do them in great numbers.

A doctor doing rounds came in on Sunday morning, and told me how “brave” I was. She stated that she would never do 2 hips at the same time as she was afraid that she would fall down and that no one would be there to help her up. The Occupational Therapist and I were talking about her comments and he said “Gord if you fall down at home when you are alone phone the ambulance and they will come and help you up”. Thankfully I have not had to do that and if I did fall now I am pretty confident that I could get up on my own.

When I came home I ended up sleeping in the bonus room on the main floor for a few weeks as I was not yet ready to tackle the stairs using crutches to go to the bed room. I think it was more of an unwarranted fear, as when I started doing the stairs it was slow but easier than I expected.

Roxanne has been so amazing these past 3 months. I don’t know what I would have done with out her. She is PERFECT. The greatest care giver that anyone could ever ask for. She works all day and then is still eager to help me out when she gets home. She is an absolute blessing from the Lord

I got the OK to drive at week 7 from the surgeon. Roxanne went with me the first few times just to make sure. I did great and she was comfortable with me driving on my own. It has given me lots of independence and allows me the chance to get out of the house on a regular basis.

When we saw the surgeon at week 7 he said I was making great progress, especially for having 2 hips replaced. I started Physio at that time and they also say I am making great progress. However I have to continually remind myself that having two hips done is not the same as one and it will take longer to recover. The blessing is that I will not have to go back in for another surgery.

The picture at the beginning of today’s entry was taken on May 26th at the first Edmonton Eskimo game of the year. We were able to get tickets in the accessible section that day. I stood the entire game which was great. Since then we have sat in our regular seats for 2 games and everything has been great.

I think I will end for today, but for anyone reading this blog that is needing or contemplating hip replacement and you have the option to go for 2 at the same time that is what I would recommend. If you have any questions please let me know I would be pleased to answer them

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Day 175

Just back from the recovery room

It is hard to believe that today is day 175 of retirement or as I can now say day 35 with these 2 new amazing hips. I must apologize as I said I was going to keep people updated on my BLOG. Easier said than done as I did not want to use my phone to type. Today I have lots of energy so I will hammer the keys on the computer for a while to share some updates. I won’t cover everything today but this will be a start.

March 20, 2019….first day of Spring, start of Purim and Gord gets new hips.

I remember the morning very well. The sky was very clear and a brilliant blue as Roxanne and I drove to the hospital. I wanted to drive as I knew it would be a while before I could drive again. Even when we got the the hospital I let Roxanne off at the door with everything and I went and parked her car. I thought I could prolong the surgery just a little longer. I wanted to keep my independence as long as I could.

I won’t remember every detail of my hospital stay but over the coming days will try to write as much as I can. Surgery was scheduled for 11:10, we got there about 9:30. There were a number of other people also there to have knee or hip replacements. It was very apparent I was the youngest that day. Not only the youngest but the only one that day who was going to be having a bi-lateral hip replacement. “The 2 for 1 special.”

When it was time to come and wheel me to the operating room, I told the nurse we needed a moment. I wanted to pray with Roxanne before it was time to go, The nurse said she would even pray with us…Roxanne and I both shed a few tears, then it was time for me to go. I reminded myself NO FEAR, and the Lord is with you.

Into the operating room I go. I knew my surgeon and although he is quiet he is a great guy. I was introduced to the others and remembered their names. Just prior to them getting ready “to do what they needed to do“. I said keep working I want to pray. So I prayed verbally and thanked the Lord for their talents and abilities. I asked the Lord to bless them and their families, that it would be an easy surgery and that I would recover faster than normal. Then it was AMEN, there were 6 in the room and I heard at least 3 AMENS when I finished. It was a not a spur of the moment decision to pray, I had felt the Lord’s nudging for many days that I needed to pray before the surgery. I wanted to thank the Lord for the team in the room. Beyond their skills in the operating room, but even for their day to day lives.

After Amen, I did not remember anything else until I was in the recovery room a couple of hours later. A short while in recovery and then to my hospital room, where it would be wonderful to see Roxanne’s face. I will talk more about Roxanne in the coming posts, but I have seen over and over and over this past month how truly amazing Roxanne is. What a blessing from God. I could not have asked for a better wife and best friend. She is a miracle.

I am sure the pain medicine they gave me was good as I was smiling as you can see in the picture at the start of the Blog. We took the picture shortly after coming back to the room. We had 2 amazing couples come visit later in the day, it was great to see friends.

Physio came in later in the night and sat me up. They wanted me to try and walk a few steps. I think I could have done it, but they say that I looked a little “green” so they decided to pass on the steps but I did sit on the side of the bed for a while.

That was the end of day one. I can confirm that all arthritis pain was gone, the only pain I had was the surgical pain. So when people tell you that the arthritis pain is gone at the outset, it is…..

Well I hope you enjoyed reading day 1, and I will try to write more in the coming days. Thank you everyone.

Day 139

It is now day 139 of retirement and I am still finding new adventures every day. I miss my colleagues from work but I don’t really miss the work itself. It has not taken me long to adjust to the next phase of life.

In late February Roxanne took some time off work and we headed to the NASCAR races in Atlanta. We had an amazing time and it was so great to connect with people we had met in previous years. We are already looking forward to going back in 2020.

I have been absent from the Blog for a while and for that I do apologize. I can guarantee that the next several weeks will see me writing far more.

In the summer of 2013 I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis of my right hip.. That was a real shock. I always thought it was only the elderly that had this issue, was I ever wrong. It was worn out probably from years and years of being very active. I first met my surgeon in 2014 and although I was a candidate for a replacement at that time I was not mentally ready. I learned to cope and at that time I said “it really isn’t that bad.” I would say it really wasn’t that bad and although I had pain, I could hide any limp etc. I had visits to the surgeon again in 2015, 2016, and 2017. I knew that it was getting worse, and he was surprised that my symptoms were not matching the x-rays for level of pain and discomfort. He had indicated that most people with the x-rays that I had would have already had the operation.

Jump forward to the summer of 2018 and my annual visit to the surgeon.
It had been getting harder and harder to walk and everyone noticed my limp except me. I told him I was ready. He said that I was healthy enough that he would do both at the same time. My right hip was so bad I did not realize that my left one was also joining the party.

Coming home from the Nascar races in Atlanta we changed planes in Minneapolis. For the first time ever I asked for a ride in a cart as I just could not walk anymore. That in itself was very humbling for me. The prime of my life at 57 and I could not walk through the airport. The driver of the cart told me he had just had his hip replaced and he said it was great.

This brings us to tomorrow, March 20th. I am scheduled for a bi-lateral hip replacement. Almost 6 years from the first diagnosis I am having the surgery. I have no idea what the day will bring. Many of you know that my faith and trust in God is the most important thing in my life. With that in mind I know that I should not fear, but I do have some apprehension. But I will not fear. I have come too far in life to lose faith now. I know that He will direct the hands of the surgeon and I am also trusting the Lord for a very speedy recovery. Tomorrow evening my Jewish friends celebrate Purim, I will never forget that my surgery is on the same day as that celebration.

Roxanne has been such a blessing throughout all of this. I could not have asked for a better wife. She is so amazing and so supportive. I love her so very much and I know that she will be very patient with me over the next few weeks while I recover. Roxanne is a perfect example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

So now everyone is up to date on my life. I do promise to write as much as I can while in the hospital and also recovering. Retirement has been an amazing journey the last 139 days. Tomorrow I will start the next chapter in the fantastic journey.

Day 92 The Adventure Continues

A Great Visit To Palm Springs With Roxanne And My Parents

It is very hard to believe that it is today is day 92 of retirement. Looking back on the last 3 months I have only one word. AMAZING!!!!!. A person spends a large portion of their adult life in a career or series of careers. As time goes by they eventually start thinking about retirement. Then the day arrives and they are faced with a new reality. For myself, retirement or as I call it re-firement has been better than anything I could have ever imagined. It truly is a gift and a huge blessing.

One of the things that I really wanted to accomplish in the early stages of retirement was to be more focused on Bible reading and prayer. These 2 areas reduced considerably in my life in the last few years. As much as I loved work it also was exhausting, and many nights when finishing work I would just eat dinner watch TV and go to bed. Although far from perfect I now have started a routine to read the Bible and pray every morning before I do anything else. I have started a prayer journal and in it are many names and many needs. Yesterday while in Vancouver for a meeting a lady at the airport saw me reading the journal, then asked what it was. After I told her she asked me to write her name in it with her need. Every morning I also thank the Lord for the blessing of retirement and I will never take for granted the fact that I was fortunate enough to take early retirement. What a gift.

I was absent from the BLOG for much of January as I had a very special trip for 2 weeks of the month. I was able to go with my mom and step dad (also known as DAD) to Palm Springs California for 2 weeks. Roxanne was able to join us for one of those weeks. The background to this story is that my parents would visit California for several months during the winter for the majority of the last 30 years. They stopped going 3 years ago as the driving to California and everything associated with it were getting more difficult.

Roxanne and I had 2 days in Palm Springs last winter and when we got home my mom said they would sure like to go again. That got all the wheels spinning in my mind. How could we get it to work?. Without telling my parents I was planning to retire I started discussing with them that I would arrange for a vacation and arrange the travel down by airplane and that I would drive them around for the 2 weeks.

January 8th arrived and we flew to Palm Springs. Although it rained for 4 days I think we had a great trip. I know I had a great trip. I trust that they would say the same. They were able to see many of the “friends” that they had met over previous years. They appreciated renewing friendships with people from all over North America. We ate at many of their favorite restaurants, saw the sites and had many laughs. Having Roxanne with us for a week was also a big blessing as I sure missed her the days that we were apart. One of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced in life was going to the Palm Springs airport and watching Roxanne walk into the arrivals area. I now know why so many people cry at airports. That image of Roxanne will be forever stored in my memory.

My parents stayed at the same condo for a number of years and rented from an amazing owner. Right off the balcony was a tree that my mom loved very much. It provided shade in the afternoon and lots of birds took shelter in the tree. It was great to look at. The last full day we were in Palm Springs the wind was blowing very hard. It was just before we went for lunch that the tree snapped in the wind with a large portion of it ending up on the balcony. My parents saw it snap, and I had just come off the balcony with some laundry, so the timing was perfect. It was interesting to have the tree break on the last day because my parents don’t know if they will ever get back to California. This may have been their last trip.

The Tree That Mom Loved So Much

I will always cherish those 2 weeks with my parents and I would do it over again with out any hesitation. It was a special time and I would recommend quality time spent with family to everyone. We never know how much time we are given so to spend it with family with no distractions is such a blessing.

I even came up with a possible “job opportunity” while looking up at the sky while at the pool one afternoon. I realized that more and more snow birds want their own cars with them rather than renting but they are no longer capable of driving that distance or don’t want to. The thought that came to me was offer a service to drive cars to Arizona or California for “snowbirds”. I talked to my good friend “Mr. M” today and he thought that it was a great idea. So I am going to explore this a little more but be assured that the cost will be reasonable. Maybe I can even expand it to looking after their homes in Edmonton while they are away for the winter. So in the interim if any of you reading the BLOG know of people who may still want this service this winter LET ME KNOW.

When I arrived back in Edmonton Roxanne and I were able to host the booth for International Messengers at the “Break Forth Conference”. What a powerful 3 days, and in the evening we were able to attend sessions and hear from Bob Goff, Lisa Bevere, and listen to the music of Jesus Culture. We met many amazing people and it was great to spend 3 days in that atmosphere.

Break Forth 2019

Wednesday and Thursday of this week I was even able to go to Vancouver for an International Messengers Board meeting. It was great to see everyone and discuss our organization. I also had the most amazing view of Mt. Baker from the plane. It reminded me of the majesty of God.

Mt. Baker In All It’s Glory

To end the writing for today it is time to give a “Closet Update”. I will start off my saying how much fun this has been. Turning an “RBC home office” into a “closet for Roxanne”. Since the last update the painting has been completed and the 6 frames are up. Hopefully this weekend Roxanne and I will be able to insert many of the inner pieces. It is great that this project is in the home stretch as this is the first thing that I wanted to accomplish when I retired.

Making Progress On The Closet

Wishing everyone an amazing weekend. For the football fans remember to cheer for the Rams. I have been a Rams fan since I was a little kid so any support is greatly appreciated. Much of North America is cold, so keep warm. Over the next few days we are supposed to have up to a foot of snow in Edmonton so that will be fun as well. Blessings to everyone.