We had a fairly major storm here last Friday.  As a result of snow – and even moreso, strong winds – our property Saturday was devoid of footprints, human or canine, except in the area right around the house.  There were some interesting, dune-like drifts.  So it was no wonder that Don decided he would, for the first time this year, don his snowshoes and go exploring.

We shut the sliding door in front of the doggie door, so Maggie & Reggie, our dogs, couldn’t interfere with Don’s adventure.  After all, Don was going to look for Clover, our deer friend.  With the dogs looking longingly after him through our large sunroom picture windows, Don trudged off.  (I think the word “trudge” originally meant “to walk in snowshoes” – it’s the perfect verb for what he was doing.)

We got our snowshoes in 2003, our first winter here, 5 years ago, a Christmas present from my mother.  We decided on traditional snowshoes for a couple of reasons:  we knew we wouldn’t be in competitions, and we knew they’d look wonderful on our log-home walls.  We were right on both counts.  We enjoyed them that winter, and the next.

Then came October, 2005, and my life-changing fall.  Dislocated ankles, broken bones, and resulting severe arthritis resulted in limited range of motion and pain that’s not compatible with snowshoeing.  This is the 3rd winter that my snowshoes are merely decoration.

But that may change!  This past week, I had an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon – from what I understand, the top orthopaedic surgeon in Canada for ankle replacements.  I’m now a candidate for a TAR (Total Ankle Replacement), a Hintegra.   It’ll likely be close to a year before I can have the surgery done, as there are very few docs who perform it, and there are those pesky Canadian waiting lists.  But that’s okay – as my regular orthopaedic surgeon (who referred me to the ankle specialist) noted, TARs are fairly new, and constant improvements are being made, so waiting can only help.  In addition, I’d rather have the certainty – even though the date is a bit far away – than be faced with the uncertainty that so many folks in the US face trying to get approval for TARs from their medical providers.  (I’m on an ankle replacement group, and the stories are horrifying:  in one case, a TAR was approved, that is, until the patient had the surgery, then the approval was revoked.  The patient was on the hook for $63k; in other circumstances, folks have flown across the country after initial approval, and the morning of the scheduled surgery were told it was a no-go.)

Back to Don’s outing.  He did find Clover, with evidence that she may be living (at least parttime) on our property.  We’re engaging in continuous discussions (so far without resolution) about whether to feed her (knowing at the same time we’d be feeding less loved critters like racoons and squirrels).  He saw her, and she scampered away, but not over the fence.  He also found several areas where she’d apparently laid in the snow.

I’m jealous of his outing – but, with any luck, this is my last snowshoe-less winter.  I just hope Clover sticks around!