Wednesday, September 28, 2011

" Total Knee Replacement/Post-Op Week Six, and a Few Blooms "

This is going to be a double post today. I've noticed that many of my flowers are still looking very pretty despite the cooler temperatures and the lack of care. I haven't done any gardening since before my surgery six weeks ago so I am throwing a few blooms in here and there.

I don't know what this one is but it is one of my favorites. A little Hummingbird visits it everyday. As I sit it my chair it is just inches away from me!!

My visit to the surgeon didn't turn out exactly as planned. As a matter of fact I was pretty down after seeing him which is why I didn't post on Monday when I saw him. But all is not lost by any means!!

As you can see, the left knee looks pretty good and it feels great. The right knee however is healing at a much slower pace. The infection is gone (for now) but there is some fluid on the right side of the knee cap. The doctor said that this is normal considering the work that he did on that side. I don't think that I mentioned that my knee caps were ulcerated and they had to shave 9 ml. off each one and then put some sort of polymer or something like that , over the knee caps.
He said the fluid should dissipate on it's own. Lets hope!! The scab is being stubborn as well and if it isn't gone in four weeks, I will have to go back to the hospital to have it removed. I did notice last night that it was loose so I am hoping.

Check out these ferns. They are HUGE!! I bought them at Lowes for $3.50 a piece. They didn't look too good but for the price I couldn't help myself. I re-potted them and look at them now!! 


O.K. the knee. I told my doctor that I have felt no improvement in it in weeks. It doesn't actually hurt but it is always achy and tight feeling. The doctor gave me some Celebrex, an anti-inflammatory.
I took the first one yesterday and was very surprised at how much better my knee felt. He said that the knee was still swollen.

 This next flower is just so pretty. I painted and used stamps for the plant stand that it's in.

And that was the extent of my visit. I suppose I expected everything to be perfect and healed by now. I'm not very patient you know. I have to see the doctor again in four weeks. I am off of the awful antibiotics for now, THANK GOD!!!!!!

I am already feeling better just from being off of them.
Last week I splurged on myself and bought about four pounds of Ox Tails. I love them and no one else here will eat them so this was a bit extravagant for me! Since I was feeling a little low yesterday, I fixed up a crock of Ox Tail soup for myself.

How selfish am I ? That's pasta in there. I usually make it with barley but wasn't in the mood this time.

I wish I could remember the name of this next pretty little flower. I think it's called an Ice Plant. It's a perennial. It's very pretty and spreads all over!


I'm going to end this with two more photos and I just have to say that I am surprised that they are still alive after the lack of attention!

More Later....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

" A Gloomy Sunday "

Since I haven't been posting much lately and I've done pretty much nothing but sit here for the last three days, I thought I'd share all the excitement that's been going on around here!
First of all it is so GLOOMY and CHILLY outside. A typical fall day you could say. Just not one of the prettier one's that we all like to enjoy.
Katie, Natasha and I are sitting around the television eating pizza while watching rerun after rerun of "Ice Road Truckers" while the rumble of thunder looms in the distance.
Since being on this mega dose of Keflex, I have felt horrible. No energy. Just weird. So I sit here waiting. Waiting to be done with them. Two more today and two more tomorrow then I'm done.
Oh please let me be done. I have to go see the doctor for my six week check up and I just pray that I don't have to take another coarse. The knee looks better and I've been diligent with my exercises. The knees are working well. I just don't have a lick of energy.
The girls are bored but have each other for company at least. I am missing my husband. Only another five or six days until he comes home again. He's thinking of going Regional again. Which means he'd be home EVERY weekend. That would be nice if we can make it. Sometimes the money isn't as good.
I can't believe the price of everything anymore. I can't barely afford to keep food in the house. It would help if Katie could find a job. In a town this size for someone who hasn't had any experience, it can be difficult.

I am anxious to start working my other jobs and a few more, I just don't have my stamina yet. I wonder how long that will take.
Well I did say it was a gloomy Sunday didn't I ? 
Maybe I'll have a brighter post and a brighter day tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

" There is Wrenches Being Thrown at My Monkeys. Post Op-Week 5 "

I've not been a very good Blogger as of late but you see for some reason unknown to me there has been some wrenches thrown at my monkeys.

Let me splain...
During week five of my recovery last week, I had noticed that my right knee wasn't lookin' so pretty. O.K. I knew it wasn't pretty to begin with but come Friday after I sent a photo of it to my husband, I was pretty sure it was infected.

When your husband is yelling "What are you waiting for call the freakin' doctor?!", that's a pretty good sign. Yup it is. So I called and they fit me in. I had to get Kate out of school so she could drive me there as I couldn't get a ride. Thank goodness the school is just three blocks away, walking distance for her.
So away we went and it was confirmed that I had an infection. I was put on a mega dose of Keflex and sent home with instructions to return on Monday for a follow up.The good news is that the whole knee wasn't infected but just the scar.


This is how it looks today. Believe me it looks much better than it did last week!

Fortunately for me, my hubby made it home that night for the weekend and took good care of me. He also worked so hard putting up new banisters leading upstairs so that I could move back up to my own room!! How wonderful that was and I can't even begin to tell you how comfortable that bed was! I slept good that night thanks to my sweetheart, Thank you Honey!
The weekend filled with work for my husband passed and he was able to go to the doctor with me. I only saw his P.A. but he said the knee looked good and that I could loose the cane and DRIVE!!!!

Yippy, I can drive!!! 
And then it hit me. A bug. I woke Tuesday morning feeling like crap. I've been coughing, sneezing, stopped up and have absolutely "Zilch" for energy. I did manage to take my husband back to his truck. And I made a couple of trips to the store although I was very dizzy and probably shouldn't have.

Well you know there is no stopping me. Well almost. I've pretty much done nothing around here except for my exercises and they were labored at best. So now that I have this new found freedom, here I sit waiting to get over whatever this thing is that I have.
I have to go see my surgeon on Monday. My six week mark is Tuesday. I just hope I am feeling better by then. I want to have some FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I haven't been to your blog, I'm trying. But I am really feeling like crap so I'm sorry. I will leave you with a little smile. It is a picture of my two dogs. Ruby and Roxy.
I call it " Ya Got to Have Friends ".

Love Ya !!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Sleepless Night, Random Thoughts"

It's one of those nights. Restless and therefore sleepless. I did a lot of housework today, got a bit sore and took a nice long nap. That probably explains the sleeplessness now.

I've also had a lot on my mind while recovering from this surgery. I can't drive yet so I can't get out of the house much or go back to work yet. I had such a down day yesterday. It was cloudy and rainy. Had the worst case of cabin fever. I was talking to my DIL on the phone and she suggested that I ride along with her to do her errands in town. Of coarse I jumped at the chance. Wore myself out walking but it was so worth it. It really picked me up. I do believe that was the most that I've walked in a long time. The new knees did good, I just discovered that I don't have my stamina back yet.

I am grateful for how quickly I've been recovering but am still anxious to get my life back and then some since I'll be able to do more. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do for work. I have my part time job at church which is just a few hours a week. I wouldn't give that up, I love it too much. I have my cleaning job once a week for about three hours and I wouldn't give that up either.

So I am trying to figure out if I want to go back into retail which I am very good at and enjoy immensely. I make a great sales gal. Really. I can sell probably just about anything.

There's also office work which I am qualified for but am not to crazy about sitting on my butt all day. Thank goodness I have plenty of time to figure it out. I'd really love to do volunteer work but right now we need the money. So that will have to wait for a different time in my future.

I already have a couple of places that I want to apply to. It's just a bit too soon. Maybe by November or December. We'll see how the healing goes.

I rode my stationary bike for five minutes today. I felt great after that and was proud of myself. I washed my floors, dusted, did laundry and cooked dinner. That's when I crashed!

I'm pretty sure that my husband will be able to put railings up on the walls leading upstairs this weekend. God willing. It seems that is all I've been thinking about lately. I've probably driven the poor man crazy talking about it. But if he got it done and I could move back upstairs, I'd probably be busy up there for awhile which would give him some gaming time.

I have some new photos of the grandkids but my camera is in the other room. I haven't posted many photos lately. I've really been missing my oldest daughter, Ginny, again. I wish she were here and we could go thrift shopping.

I guess I'll just give up on this post for now, I could just ramble on for hours and it's already too long. So Goodnight to all of you. Sleep tight because I'll be awake watching over things!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

" What I Have Learned About Physical Therapists "

Prior to my Bilateral Total Knee Replacement surgery this past August 16th, my knowledge of a Physical Therapist couldn't fill a thimble. I knew that they helped people learn how to use or relearn how to use a specific part or parts of the anatomy that no longer worked properly. Weather due to an accident or replacement by teaching them certain exercises.

That was all I knew until I had my own opportunity to be in the care of a few P.T.'s from our hospital and then the "In Home Health Care" P.T.'s that came to my home three days a week for two weeks after I was sent home.

My husband Jake was by my side each time I was sent to Physical Therapy, in the hospital and at home. So he was able to see first hand what they would do and how they would do it.

He and I had an on going joke at the hospital about them. We would often tease them about it and soon learned that they also had a pretty good sense of humor as well as other talents.

Our joking went somewhat like this: Aren't Physical Therapists wonderful. They are always so friendly, sweet and welcoming. As soon as you walk through the P.T. doors they are standing at the ready with bright smiling faces greeting you with a big "WELCOME, COME IN WON'T YOU! WE'VE BEEN SO LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU TODAY AND EVERYDAY FOR AS LONNNGGGG AS WE CAN KEEP YOU HERE. AS LONG AS STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS WILL ALLOW US TO KEEP YOU. AS LONG AS YOU KEEP BREATHING. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, WON'T YOU COME IN?".

Well how can one turn down such a friendly and inviting invitation? Once inside they quietly point the way to where they would like you to sit, stand or lay. All the while you just can't help but smile back at them as they just look so darn friendly. 

And then a light goes off in your head and the sweet voices somehow change into a somewhat military tone. " Lift that leg.", " You can do better than that can't you?", " Come on really? That's as high as you can go?, Higher. Higher. HIGHER!!!".

It just keeps escalating after that. Most of the vocabulary has now changed to words like: Faster, farther, more, not good enough, keep going, one more walk around the campus, you know you can do it!

Forget about those tears I'm trying to hold back. Forget about that drink of water that they promised and kept forgetting about. Just walk! Just lift that leg. Just bend that knee!

What's that? My time is up you say? By now I'm looking at my husband who is sitting in the corner, shaking and I think he was drying a tear from his eye. I was so incoherent by now, that I just couldn't figure out why he kept covering his face with his hand, swiftly, every time the therapist looked his way.

Finally my time was over for the morning session. The sweet friendly therapists waved and blew kisses at us as my husband swiftly wheeled me through the doors and down the hall. I think I heard the therapist saying " I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL THIS AFTERNOON'S SESSION, YOU ARE GREAT!" , but my husband was running walking so quickly that I couldn't really hear them so well.

They really were great as they actually got a kick out of our demented sense of humor. They were very good sports about being teased.

By the time I was back in my bed, I was starving and exhausted. The thought of going back there did not rock my world at this point.
But in all honesty and sincerity, I wouldn't be where I am right now if not for them. They were a huge help with me and my husband. There were a few things they had to teach him about my two new knees and how to care for me. We are both grateful to them, especially Alice. She was sweet and understanding. Always willing to show me how to do things and answer any questions that we had.

They were, I do believe, the most important people in the list of caretakers through all of this.

Which leads me now to the lovely therapist that helped me at home. Her name was Roberta and not only did she get me up and going, she also kept teaching me how to do new "old" things. 

When you have your knee or knees replaced, you have to remind them how to work. You don't just jump out of bed the next day being able to do all that you did before. The muscles that surround the knee are key in this. They have been cut open during surgery. Not only are they trying to heal but they are constantly being worked out and strengthened or else you would get no where fast. And it's painful so pain management is key to the entire process.  

I was sent home from the hospital with about twenty different exercises that needed to be repeated twice a day. Along with walking in between. When Roberta knew that I had accomplished that, she gave me a new set of standing exercises that also needed to be repeated twice a day. She also was a great cheerleader as was my husband. It's a lot of hard and painful work. It can bring you down and feeling emotionally tired. Roberta and Jake got me through this. Roberta with her measurements of how much I had progressed every other day and Jake reminding me of how far I had come and of all of the future plans we had made.

The first time Roberta got me on my stationary bike, I just plain old "Freaked Out". Sorry but it is what it is. I couldn't move the peddle back or forward more than about two inches. My knees felt like they would lock up and I'd be on my way back to the hospital. But she was right when she said to keep practicing it and before I knew it I'd be peddling again. And on the day that I was released from Home Health, the head therapist, Sarah, got me to peddle all the way around and I was riding! What a high I had that day. I cried. I cry at everything anymore and you know what? I don't care. Life is full of joys and sorrows. Why hide it?

My next tearjerker happened this past Sunday. It started a week and a half ago when Roberta got me to walk up the fourteen stairs to my apartment/bedroom. The walls leading up the stairs have no railings but Roberta assured me that with my cane and her standing behind me, that I could do it. And do it I did. Again I cried, it was however very painful for me the rest of the day and night. Once again she assured me that with practice, I would be sleeping upstairs within two weeks.

Last Tuesday rolled around and my husband had to leave, over the road. It would be just me and Kate now. But before he left he made me promise that I wouldn't try the stairs until he came home in two weeks and could put railings up. I promised. And then, I broke the promise.

I was getting ready for church Sunday morning. Kate and I were dressed and ready to go but I was lacking a necklace and some lipstick. I can't go to church without lipstick.

When Katie was four years old we were going somewhere in the car. I wasn't wearing any lipstick. Katie said to me, " mommy when you don't wear lipstick, you look like you have no teeth.". I have taken that statement seriously ever since.

So this past Sunday I was by the bottom of the stairs looking up and I yelled "Katie, come here!". When she came in the room I told her that she was going to pretend to be a railing. She agreed and then I just started walking up the stairs with her BEHIND me. I walked up those stairs just as I had thousands of times before. I do believe I even got a smile out of my "Oh so serious, sixteen year old."

I got my lipstick, a necklace, some bracelets and a pair of capris that I had forgotten upstairs when I moved my clothes downstairs before the surgery.

I then walked down the stairs as I had a thousand times before only this time Katie walked in front of me. I went into the living room, sat down, called my husband and told him how I had broken my promise. I can't remember if he was mad or not, I was too busy trying to fight back my tears of joy. Didn't want to ruin my make-up before church you know. 

I think he has forgiven me and I haven't gone up there since. But I did it. I did it. 

And so now if you were to ask me what I know about Physical Therapists. I can tell you this much more than I could before, 

They give you your life back.

Friday, September 9, 2011

" What's Been Happening- Post Op Day 24 "

Here I am still alive and kickin'. Well maybe not kickin' just yet but I'm getting closer. Things are continuing to improve from my surgery and I thought that I better get this written before I fall asleep again.

It seems like I went from no sleep to nodding off at no particular time which I am attributing to healing. Although nights are sometimes still troublesome, I can finally nap again. I think it's because I am on my own again. My husband left for work Tuesday and Katie went back to school as well so the house is quite once again. It makes for some peaceful naps I tell you.

It is official, as of yesterday I have been cut loose from home health care. I have been working hard and improving everyday. Here are the things that I can do now.

I can walk without my cane. I only have to use it when I go out or feel the need. Bathroom runs in the middle of the night!
I can walk the dogs again. This is a big one for me. They would have to wait until after 4:00 p.m. to go out when Katie gets home from school. Now I can walk them through the day. Only thing is, I haven't told Katie this yet. I'm afraid I'll have to let her in on it soon as yesterday she said since I was doing so much, she was surprised that I couldn't walk the dogs yet! Shhhh!!!!

And here's the big one. I can ride my stationary bike again! It was a strange feeling at first, didn't think I could do it but I did. I was so excited that I was almost in tears. So I have now added that to my exercise routine. Just a few peddles for now but I'll get better.

My right knee is healing slower than the left. It is being stubborn. There isn't anything wrong with it, it's just taking it's sweet time. It still hurts some, where as the left one doesn't anymore and it is stiffer than the left one. But it is improving everyday.

I don't need hardly any pain meds anymore. So I am thinking that by my doctors appointment on the 26th, he should o.k. me to drive. 

Oh and more good news. The in home nurse said that by the next time my husband gets home and puts a railing on the wall going upstairs, I can go back to sleeping in my own room in my own bed!!! That is the best news yet. I miss my bed. I think I'll sleep better then too.

I don't think that I've forgotten anything. Things are moving along very well and I thank God everyday for that. You should see how straight I walk now. No more hunching over and limping!

I am posting a couple of photos of how the knees looks now. If you have a weak stomach you may want to skip this part.

I am hideous!! But at least my Pug still loves me.
That's all folks.

Friday, September 2, 2011

" This One's for You Ginny "

My new Tee-Shirt from Ginny, cool right?

My lovely daughter, Ginny, in a text this morning, suggested that I update my blog. So here I am. Once again apologizing for being gone so long but I've been busy recovering. So here you go my dear daughter and friends.


What can I say, this was a big surgery. While I was mentally and physically prepared for it I really didn't have a clue what I would be going through. Everyone is different.
If you were to ask me what was the worst thing that I've been through during this time, I can say with all honesty that it Wasn't the pain but the lack of sleep at night or anytime for that matter.

The nighttime discomfort is not easily quelled by pain or sleeping pills so it is just something that I've had to deal with on a daily and nightly basis. 

That is until last night. Last night was the first night that I have had any real sleep and slept past 7:00 a.m. for the first time in a long while. So today was a very good day. 

Not only did I get sleep but I climbed and descended 14 stairs with my only assist being my cane and my therapist standing behind me. And just like riding a bike I can tell you that it is easier going down than coming up!

But I did it and felt so elated and so strong afterward, it was amazing. 

Knee's before surgery

Speaking of amazing, apparently that is what I am. Let me explain. I have never in my entire 53 years had so many compliments as I have had in the past 18 days. From doctors to nurses to therapists, supposedly I am really a bionic woman. 

Healing tape and special wrap that allows for showers.

I am rarely using the walker anymore except for in the mornings and evenings. My flexion measurements are already about as good as they are going to get. That means that I can almost straighten and bend my knees as far as they can go. 

I have four sets of exercises that I do everyday like clockwork, which by the way I need to do soon again. I have been working diligently on strengthening the muscles that surround the knee. That is key to getting movement back and above what it was previous to the surgery.

After having staples removed yesterday.

Oh and before I forget, having at least forty staples removed is a bitch!! Sorry but it just flat out hurts. My husbands hand was probably sore after all of the squeezing I did to it yesterday while the nurse removed them.

Speaking of my husband, he is pretty amazing himself. He has taken such good care of me and our home and daughter. He waits on me, really. He gets me anything that I want and never complains. Truthfully, I don't think that I could have done a better job. Talk about feeling loved, if that's not true love than I don't know what is.

My daughter, Ginny came for a visit the weekend after I came home from the hospital. She brought me the tee-shirt that I was wearing in the above photo along with a few other awesome gifts! I was so grateful for her visit. At night she would lay in bed with me and have me laughing so hard that I could feel the pain disappear momentarily. I absolutely love the way she can get me laughing. It's a crying shame that gift of hers can't be bottled and sold.

Anyway it was so good to see and hold her in my arms. The best ever medicine. Thank you Ginny, I love you.

This hasn't been an easy trip by any means but I am so determined and stubborn that I knew it wouldn't keep me down for long. It will be a few more weeks or sooner before I can drive. I have to be off of the pain meds first and it's a bit too soon for that. 

Next week is my last week of therapy. After that I am on my own which is fine. I feel good and strong. Stronger everyday.
I still haven't read any blogs at all. I am sorry for that. I'm just not ready yet. Recovery is hard work and it's tiring. But I will get there soon. My husband has to go back over the road next Tuesday and I will be on my own so I am working on doing things for myself again.

That's kind of hard when you have a spouse who waits on you hand and foot!!
I should have plenty of time to start catching up with everyone next week. Until then, hope you have a great holiday weekend and thanks for stopping by.