I haven’t been doing much lately. Not much reading, or updating the blog (really need to get back to that), or even fixing stuff up around the house (really, really need to finish that up). I’ve been a little distracted with my my Dad’s injury, the 6 month anniversary of my uncle Arnie and my dog passing away and today is also the 14th anniversary of my Grandfather passing.

I’ve been a little worried about my Dad. You see, every 40 year or so he tries to lose one or so of his appendages. It was nice out last week, so he decided to take the day off and go fishing with my Mom. As they were launching the boat the rope got fouled, wrapped around his thumb and ripped the end off. My Dad, whom you might describe as stoic in the face of adversity, wrapped it up in his hanky, told my Mom to bring the trailer back down so they could load the boat back on it, and then insisted on driving to the ER in Garrison. My Mom had seen the boat buck a little off the trailer upon launch, and my Dad reach down real quick, but didn’t realize how bad he was actually hurt until they got to the ER. She said it kinda grossed out the nurse on duty, too. From Garrison they took the boat back to Minot and stowed it, then off to Trinity ER to get it stitched and see if the doctor thought it might need surgery.

Those of a week stomach should look away now.

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Ripped the whole pad away and flipped over taking the nail with it so it was just hanging by a little bit of skin when he wrapped it up in his hanky. The tip of the bone also got ripped off. It’s stitched up and seems to be healing well without surgery, though the doc is expecting he’ll likely lose the nail.

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It’s starting to look better now. He’s been back to work (modified duties) and has to soak it a couple of times a day, then wrap it up and keep it dry the rest of the time.

He’s stayed in good spirits, but then again, this isn’t the first round of adversity he’s faced. When I was a little tyke he fell off a roof and smashed his ankles into a couple hundred pieces. Here is what my Mother wrote last year in February upon the 40th anniversary of that horrible day.

I cannot believe it, but 40 years ago this month Frank fell off a roof and smashed his ankles.  It was one of the worst days we have had. I had to sign papers before his surgery to amputate his legs and it was very hard.  He has done amazingly well considering they were planning on amputating both his legs below the knees.  The Air Force flew in an amazing surgeon (Dr. Trestler who was in the reserves and was the orthopedic surgeon for the Green Bay Packers at the time).  He saved Frank’s legs and ankles.
Much of the success was due to Frank and his ever-loving optimism.  He just would not give up and was determined to walk again.  And as you know, he has done fine for all these years.  Not to say it wasn’t hard – he had lots of pain and still does; especially as he is getting older.  Sometimes his ankles just ‘lock up’ for a while and he has to work thru the pain. But considering the alternative he feels it is well worth it!  He still has screws in both his ankles and had at least 4 surgeries.  I am so thankful that I have had the privilege of seeing such an amazing and strong man – he absolutely never complains!
It could have all turned out so much worse – in fact there was another young man (about the same age as Frank was) who also had had his ankles smashed about the same time.  The doctors wanted Frank to talk to him as he was so depressed about being a ‘cripple’ for the rest of his life and Frank had had such determination and blew away the doctors and their expectations. Frank talked to him but the guy just couldn’t get past his misery and ended up taking his own life – such a tragedy.
I believe his doctor was Dr. Herb Tressler of Green Bay, WI, who appears to now be retired (I would certainly hope so by now) and living in Florida (may he enjoy it to it’s fullest). He did an excellent job, as my Dad is still walking.
Things have gotten somewhat more difficult as in recent years his one ankle tightens up on him and turns his foot out at a 90 degree angle. Weather changes make them ache as well. Considering the alternative at the time, I’d say that’s an extraordinary result from the surgery. I remember my Dad in casts, in a wheel chair and using crutches. I don’t remember him ever complaining. I also don’t remember him getting chewed out by one of his local doctors for working on a boat in the back yard, though I do vaguely remember him out there scraping and painting it from the swing he rigged up in the tree back there. Apparently the doctor drove by and saw him in the swing in the back yard (house was right next to a parking lot so could get a good look into the back), then stopped and yelled at him because he was supposed to be taking it easy and stay off his feet (he was, he was sitting down).
It appears Herb’s son, Dr. Michael Tressler, has carried on the family tradition of orthopedic surgery in Green Bay. May he have as much success as his father.
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