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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Strike a Pose

This is what you get when Carrie allows her picture taken now. She has to pose and pose she does! I'm just wondering where she gets the "poses". Maybe we should check the magazines she subscribes to.
















Poppie fixed Carrie's doll. Now the doll has a "bad knee" and a "good" knee.

















I made it to the surgeon's office today to pick up the script for the pain meds. I left his office and went to a PT center and talked to the physical therapist there. I decided I would use the 'script for therapy and had them check my insurance. My insurance will only pay for inpatient therapy. That means I would have to check myself into a Rehab hospital and stay there for the entire time I would be in therapy.
The therapist called me later to tell me he would accept me on a 1/2 pay basis. Meaning I would pay for the therapy but only 1/2 the rate they would have charged the insurance company. I'm seriously considering signing up for a couple of weeks of therapy and I'll pay for it.
I'll be making a decision on this soon.

End of March


It's hard for me to believe that it has been 4 weeks since I had surgery and harder still to believe that it has been 4 weeks since I've had a cigarette. As to the cigarette, I still get that craving; it's not often, arrives swiftly and then disappears quickly. I don't find myself obsessing over them. I just ride out the craving when it appears and I find that hours and hours go by without it reappearing. I think I'm doing great but I'm still scared that one day I'll pick one up to take a puff and the habit/addiction will be full blown again. I try to stay aware of this fact. I'm an addict. I can not have even one puff. I have friends that can occasionally smoke. I thought the last time I quit, that I was one of "those'. I found out quickly that I am not. One puff and I was a full fledged smoker.


I'm still in pajamas but I must get dressed and drive to the surgeon's office to pick up a 'script for more pain medications. I am taking the pain meds but only one of the two I'm allowed every 3 to 4 hours. I don't take that one pill every 3 to 4 hours though. I stretch the time out. If I'm not hurting, I don't take it. I know that when I do exercising I have to take a pill to make it through and also for the pain afterwards.

Ice, Percoset, exercise, Ice.


I want to get to the doctor's office before Carrie gets here. I don't want to take her with me. Too much work getting her in the car, out of the car, and twisting my own self sideways to get in and out of the car. It's just faster if I do this alone.


I'm outta here to dress and go!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stretches and Ouches

4 wks post op pic









Attractive huh? I could care less what it looks like. I just want it to operate correctly!
Through the weekend and onto a Monday morning. Not much has changed weather wise. It's still a bit chilly, no rain and lots of sunshine. Carrie is here with me and we are getting ready to enjoy a bubble bath. Soon it will be her nap time and mine too.
I'm still doing stretches and noting incremental changes. Slow going on the healing but I'm thankful there are no blood clots or signs of infection. Ya gotta be grateful for what you can.
I actually was up and out of the house at 5AM this morning. I had to pick up some milk and bread. I can get in and out of the car a little easier now. Still slow moving but at least I'm moving.
And this is Carrie post bath. I promise to let her put her makeup on after her bath.













If you double clik on this last picture it will enlarge and you can clearlly see the great job of applying makeup that Carrie did all by herself!






Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunny Sunday

It's still chilly here but with sunshine and clear skies and no humidity. It's perfect. A light jacket and jeans weather.

I'm still doing the exercises. I do notice a little improvement in movement which is encouraging; though I have to repeat the stretches to keep that movement and not start losing what I've gained.

I've also been watching TV and when I find a movie that is just starting, I watch it. I used to have this awful habit, or so I've been told, of watching a movie that had already been playing for an hour. I am trying to break that habit. I only tune in if it is just starting. It sure makes more sense that way. (grinning)

This is just a short post to note the day. I'm in the middle of my movie here and I want to see the ending!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday

Clear, bright, sunny and dang COLD here this morning! I took my Percoset this morning and then waited for about 1/2 hr before I attempted to get up. I stretched the leg and attained almost full extension, then I got to a sitting position, stretched my leg some more and then I hoisted myself via my arms to a standing position. Some pain, yes, but minor and some stiffness still so I took it easy on my first few steps along with my cane as an assist.

I walked to the kitchen and got something to drink and took my morning vitamins and aspirin (blood thinner). Not too bad a trip. I continued to walk around for a while to loosen the knee up a bit then back to the sofa for some computer time and phone time with my sister.

We are looking for D-Links to become wireless. I'm wireless; it's sister that is trying to become wireless. We inspected D Links found on EBay and Googled megabytes per second speed available on the D Links. I think she has made a decision on what she wants to order.
I got off the phone and watched TV for a bit then did some leg lift exercises and soon I will sit in the elevated office chair and do some flexion. I'm pain free right now and can actually walk around the house with a very minor limp. I still need to get more extension and it might have to be done with weights.

NOON:
I just got my shower and I'm dressed. At least that task is easier to get accomplished. I can tell it's almost time for a Percoset. That's my next task and that will take me right to nap time!
Happy Day Everyone.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Days End

It's not technically the end of this day; it's more like 8:13PM but that's late enough for me to call it a day. I have been giving the knee a workout. I've stayed up on it most of the day. I've done a lot of walking despite the burn of the muscles. I just got back from Walmart and some grocery shopping. I used my cane to make it around the store and did ok but by the end of this shopping spree I was more then ready to sit down some where.

I got home and put away the groceries. I figure the more I walk the more the muscles will rebuild. I may regret this tomorrow morning. I'm going to take another Percoset and stay off my feet the remainder of this day. I've done enough walking.

My mood? Well, compared to this morning I suppose it's better. I'm not promising I won't have another meltdown. Day by day and one following another.

Carrie was not herself today either. She has caught a cold and is stuffy and congested. Listless would be the best way to describe her today. We did quiet activities. She was comfortable watching her movies and having books read to her. When it was time for her nap, she didn't argue. She was ready to rest for a while.

It's time for me to take a night long break and that is something I'm looking forward to.

Clinically

Can I describe how I feel clinically? Is it possible to do a clinical report on the progress of this knee and do it without emotion? I don't think so.

This may not be a pleasant post. This is how I feel 3wks. post op.

Clinically I can say, the swelling in the knee has decreased until an exercise session. After exercising it becomes warm, reddened and swollen again. I do the extension stretches. The ligament at the back of the knee burns as it is being stretched. It burns and hurts. I give it a lapse and do it again. It becomes almost straight. The leg I mean. I can then stand up and walk without a limp. As soon as I sit down and flex the leg, then try to stand, I find I've lost the extension I had just gained. This is very frustrating. This frightens me.

When first getting out of bed in the morning, the knee is very stiff. It doesn't extend nor flex and the hamstrings and quads are screaming out in protest. They have been relaxed all night. Getting up in the morning is painful. I have to spend about 1/2 hr. stretching the muscles in order to stand and walk.

I had a minor meltdown this morning. I was just getting out of the shower when I heard the phone ringing. I knew there was no way I was going to get to the phone. By the time I got into the living room, the house phone had stopped and my cell phone was ringing. I did get to the cell to answer it.

My sister in law from Arizona was calling. Chris is a very positive person. She has just supported her husband through a total knee replacement. She was the perfect person for me to talk to this morning. I told her how frustrated I was feeling. I told her how I thought this was as good as it was going to get; I was fearful of never having this leg any where near normal again. I was tearful thought this whole exchange.
She listened quietly. She let me vent then she told me her husband had the same feelings as he was healing. He had the same issues with the pain and not being able to get out of bed in the mornings. The muscles not extending and flexing; the frustration and depression. The feelings that the leg would always be painful and never back to a normal walk.

I think I needed to hear this. To know that John (her husband) had the same worries about the knee. I shall be 4 weeks post op this coming Monday. I still have time. A year is required for full healing and maximum usage.

I took a Percoset this morning. I usually stay away from the pain meds till the evening. Chris suggested I take one before I get out of bed in the morning. She's right. That is one of the major painful times. I'll try that for a while.

Talking to Chris this morning was what I needed. Just hearing that John had the same feelings; that this was going to get better was better then any medicine I could take. I may need another pep talk. She has promised to call in a couple of days!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Republicans

I live in a mostly Republican State and therefore a very conservative state. The election was a shock to many here and I'm not sure they still believe it. I am sure they are still unhappy and more unhappy as the days go by.



I listen to them blame all our current woes on this new administration; an administration that is barely 60 days old. This is the story they tell themselves; nothing is going to change their views. They need someone to be angry with; this administration is it. This is their fantasy. No amount of reasoning will change one iota of what they want to believe.

I am amazed that any Republican politician has the nerve to criticize the current administration. What did they do on their watch? How much respect, management, concerns over health care and education were addressed on their watch? If they had a better answer then the current administration, what were they waiting for? They had the past 8 years in office to exercise their options and solve some of these problems.
The clean up crew is here. What a job they have. How much time will they be allotted?
It takes at least 6months to build a house. This administration might need a little more time then this to clean up the house left to them.
I'm watching way too many news reports; I'm going to curtail the time I spend tuned to CNN. Enough is enough. I'm full. I'm overflowing and I need a break.
Now where is that cartoon DVD?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Land

My goal for today is to stay awake. I slept most of yesterday away and had no problem sleeping last night.



I'm sitting here waiting on Carrie and watching the morning news. The weather has been forecast to be full of rain and no sunshine. That leaves indoor activities for all of us today. Carrie has plenty of books and toys to keep her entertained. If that fails, she has her Poppie to entertain her. She already thinks her Poppie is her playmate. She commandeers all his time when she is here. She mimics everything he does and says. They sing commercials. He changes the words to the commercial songs so they apply to her. Sometimes she doesn't know what the words mean. He has been singing "Roll, em , roll em, roll em, RAWHIDE!!" to her and she sings back "roll em, roll em, roll em , RAWHI". When asked what Rawhide was she replies "mitt " a true BS explanation. She always gives an answer even if she has to make it up. I have no clue where she gets the B.S. ability. Hubby blames it on me. I reject that!
Yesterday she chastised her Poppie for making noise. She said "my baby is sleeping". Poppy asked where her baby was and she laid her hand across her stomach and said "here, here in my stomach". When asked how the baby got there she replied "I don' t know". Sometimes she is the infant and sometimes she is the parent.
Sometimes she is the Princess, sometimes she is the mermaid who can't walk on land because she has no feet. All the time she enjoys her little fantasy worlds. A happy child is she. Happy in her Happy Land.


When I think about it, I know a few adults that live carefree in their own Happy Land.
They pick and choose the stories they want to believe; they don't question any inconsistencies but prefer instead to believe what makes their life most pleasant. I remember a few times in my younger life doing this. Yes, I did. I also learned it didn't make it so. I prefer to not waste time which is what I had been doing. I prefer to face "it" head on and move on. I have a difficult time listening to the adult living in their Happy Land. I wonder as I'm listening to them if they know, really know, and prefer to stubbornly reinterate over and over the fantasy. If everyone around them recognizes the fantasy, then they should also? I'm embarrassed for them. I wonder if I'm contributing to their fantasy by not confronting them with some red flags that have been waved. Do they not see the red flags? Do they see them but wish to ignore? Is the truth something they can't bear facing? I'm at a loss. I have no answer. I sit and watch. I prefer not to have to listen too often though. It's not easy keeping that stunned look off my face.

I'm off to see what today has to offer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Knee Woes

Last night I did a lot of stretching of the popliteal ligament. This morning I woke at 3AM with some pain. My knee was swollen and hot. I took a Percoset and climbed on the sofa .

Today I'm laying around with an ice pack on my knee. When the swelling subsides, I'll do some more exercises. Right now I can't determine if I'm making any progress at all. Some days I can walk without discomfort but today is not that day.

Brusided, swollen and reddened. That's my day. Another Percoset taken and I"m drowsy. I've napped on and off all morning. That just about covers all my plans for today. Icepak, Percoset and naps.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Far Enough?

Princess Carrie visited today.





It's windy and cool and I don't enjoy being outside today. There is nothing new here.
I"m still doing exercises but feel I should be doing more. This is week 3 post op and smokeless. When I get antsy and depressed, I don't know whether to blame it on the knee or my wanting a smoke. Facing two major challenges at the same time may not have been the wisest move on my part.

I'm in too far to turn back now. I try to read about other people in rehab and sometimes that helps with perspective. Most of what I read reinforces the time I need to get back to normal. That helps. Sometimes I think I should have progressed farther with ROM; reading other stories of rehab I realize this could be 11 months of rehab. Not too different then the other two times I've been down this lane.

I decided yesterday to take the car and go for a ride. That went ok but when it was time to get out of the car and go into a store, I decided there wasn't anything I really needed so I just drove back home. The knee had a burn going on and I was just happy to be back to the house. Some days are better then others. Some days it hurts less then others.

Nothing big or new to publish. I'm just hanging in here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Beauty and The Beast

This is The Beauty. I had stripped the cushion covers off her chair so I could wash them. She found a way to use her chair. She just climbed up on the back of it.




and this is The Beast. And to think this cost me over 100,000.00!



Actually this does look better now. The swelling has decreased although it still has a way to go. The swelling makes it painful to do the exercises. Breaks are needed between exercise periods. I just read on the web that full extenstion was still trying to be attained 11 months post op. I'm almost 3 weeks post op. I need to lighten up a bit and not get so worried about it this early in the rehab game. I just ate two Percosets about 1/2 hr ago. Since they are now kicking in, I'm going to exercise that knee and hope it's a relatively pain free workout.
Oh. Monday will be 3 wks. post op and 3 wks smoke free.
I watch my hubby take his smoke breaks outside. I don't envy him this. I don't envy the "have to go" aspect. The weather is great and it's actually pleasant to sit outside in the dark. Sometimes I go out with him just to sit and talk. This doesn't bother me as far as craving a cigarette. I don't crave a cigarette just because he is having one.
He has cut back on how much he smokes now. He smokes only 15 a day which is great. I was not that smoker. I could never cut back. It's an "all or nothing" venture for me.
When I get the urge to smoke I just ask myself "Do I really want to HAVE to stop what I"m doing and go outside for a smoke?". I don't. I really really don't. This doesn't guarantee that I won't start again. I'm smokeless today and that's all I can say.
I really must go exercise. I hate it. I can't begin to express to you how much I hate doing those stretches. It's very painful. Even with pain meds, it is not painfree.
Before I start whimpering and whining, I'll say good night and hobble off to do my thing!

Boring Rehab Post

Should I be worried? I'm working on extension. I prop my right foot on a pillow and let the knee sink downward. This is to get the extension I need. To lengthen the leg. I can feel the burn of the popliteal ligament in the back of my knee as it stretches. I stay in this position for 5 minutes; take a break and do it again. Soon I can see that the leg is more straight; I get up and am able to walk without a very noticeable limp. It's still not perfectly straightened out but enough that I can fake a straight walk.

The problem is, as soon as I sit down and work on flexion by pulling the foot back toward my body; then I feel like I lose the extension I had been working on. I can't straighten my leg again without going through the extension exercises once again.
Maybe this is what has to be done over and over to get the flexion and extension I need. Maybe in 3 months of doing these exercises I will be able to walk normally?

I wish I knew for certain that this is a matter of time and persistence. I've been down this road before. You would think I would be more confident of the rehab I'm doing. This is different. This is a prosthetic; not a normal part of my body. It's a machine like device implanted. It's just different.

I"m off to take a walk; I just did the extension exercise and my leg is straight for now which means I can walk without a limp.

Oh, one other thing. If I miss your phone call do not be offended. It takes me forever to get to the phone. Sometimes I don't even bother trying to get to it. Sometimes I'm asleep with the phone ringers turned off. I take a Percoset to do my exercises, then I sleep. I sleep a lot it seems and with no rhyme or reason on the times I sleep. I don't choose my sleep times. I sleep when the urge strikes.

On that note, I'm off to take a walk before I pass out again.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Tub Adventure

The water was nice, warm and deep. Bubbles floated around on the surface of the tub full of water. I stripped off my clothes and dangled my left foot over the tub checking the water. I move to standing on my left leg in the tub. Next I turned sideways while standing on my left foot and swung scissor like away from my body with my right leg. I can scissor kick to the side with my weak leg and that is how I get over the rim of the tub with it.

Next chore is sitting down in the bath water. With one hand braced on each side of the tub, I kicked out my right leg to almost full extension and standing on my left leg only I lowered myself down into the water.


AH! It felt wonderful. I played in the tub like a 3yr old Carrie would. I sat and soaked and then scrubbed with Dial soap. I was in no hurry to get out of the tub and since I had no idea how I was going to get out of that tub, I just enjoyed.


The time finally arrived. My skin was starting to wrinkle. It must be time to get out.

I thought I had it figured out. I placed my hands on each side of the tub, pulled my left leg toward my body, planted my foot and tried to heave myself one legged to a standing position. What was I thinking? I didn't come close to a standing position.

Ok, rest break and then try something else. The water is starting to cool down.



This time, I lift my right leg (the one with the new knee) and swing it up and over the edge of the tub. I'm still sitting in the tub but now my right leg is over the edge of the tub and stiffly pointing to the ceiling. I start inching my self up the side of the tub while pushing with my left leg and hands. Finally I can get to the side of the tub and sit on the rim of it. Another break is needed. I'm slippery and exhausted. Was a bath worth all this? NO and I will rethink doing this again.

Now I have to find a dry unslippery area of the tub to place my hands so I can push myself to a standing position. I grab a robe and wrap up in it and get out of the bathroom and to the sofa. I need a long rest and a nap!

Tomorrow I will be satisfied with a shower. I don't see a bath in my future for a while.



Tub Maybe

Carrie spent the night. We both had a nice warm shower/bath for Carrie and dressed in our PJ's. Carrie went to bed around 9PM and was back up at 1AM looking for me. She found me in my bed and led me back to her bed while chastising Poppie for stealing me out of her bed. I let her believe that lie.
She left this morning with her mom and is scheduled to spend the weekend in Lydia (small town) with her Dad. We shall miss her!
My knee is stiff. I don't know if it's because I have been leaning on it with more exercises; I think that is why therapy isn't done two days in a row. Normally they do therapy 2 days a week with a break between those two days. Maybe I need to schedule the pace of my work outs.
Anyway, it seems another fabulous day is on the way and hubby has already been doing the lawn work. I sat on the patio in the sun watching him work.
Right now I'm going to take a bath if I can figure out how to get in and out of the tub.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19th

First of all, Happy Birthday to Daughter! May you have many more.

Today was my 2wk post op appointment with the ortho surgeon. The sutures were removed and some x rays taken; I can now take a bath or shower without using garbage bags and duct tape. I can use cocoa butter on the suture line and I will; it surely needs it.

He said the flexion was great but the extension not so great. I'll do some exercises and do some work on it. He was pleased with the progress all in all and I will see him again in a month.

We went to Dwyers' for lunch and sat outside. The weather is a perfect high 70's and no humidity. I love Spring. It only hangs out here for a week then it goes directly to HOT!
I'm outta here to get my razor and shaving creme and do a little upkeep on my leg.
C Ya

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Untitled Wednesday





Today we went to Walmart. This is not a big event usually but today I walked around inside the store. From front to back and then back to the front; I was all over the store.After a while I felt the burn in the muscles of my leg and knew I had done enough walking. Back to the car and to the house and a Percoset. A nap later and I'm ready to be up and about again.
One day once again. A little more strength each day. Tomorrow I will be seeing the doctor. I expect him to order the sutures removed. I still have a lot of swelling but it has improved a little. I'll find out what the doctor thinks about my progress tomorrow. I might sign up for some rehab.
Tomorrow is daughter's birthday. We usually do lunch at Bennigan's and always have the same thing each year. A cup of potato soup and we split a Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Neither of us can finish our 1/2 of the sandwich. It's a battered and deep fried heart attack on a plate and oh so yummy.
I'm off to do some exercises. C Ya.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Tuesday




I stayed up and walked a lot today. I walked till my knee starting burning and knew then it was time to sit down. We took Carrie to the park to feed the ducks then to the slides to let her have some kid fun. By the time we got back, I knew it was time for me to give the leg a break.
I'm waiting right now for her mom to pick her up and I'll take a Percoset and do some exercises. A little at a time. Patience and a cigarette. That's all I need to make my little world perfect.
Unfortunately I'll have to pass on the cigarette. I'm over two weeks out on the non smoke thing and I'm still hanging in. Hanging is exactly what I feel like I'm doing. Funny but I never notice how much time goes by when I'm NOT thinking about a smoke; I just remember the times I really want one. I have to stop and think and realize that it really isn't that many times during a day.

I don't know if it would be easier on the non smoking if I was more active and could be involved in some major project. Right now sitting around and watching my stitches dry is not enough to keep my mind occupied.
Daughter just picked up the Carrie Girl. It's rest time!

VIDEO: Fidel and Carrie at Park
video

Monday, March 16, 2009

Reasoning

I'm up early with my cup of coffee and the morning news show. I'm listening to some lady say that although she is unemployed now and losing her home, God has something in store for her. He has plans for her.

Do you know how pissed off I would be if a family member who is in charge of my well being watched me going through difficult times and they smugly said "I have plans for you. Something better will come along." Now this family member thinks that maybe sharing that plan with me might just relief some pressure from my life? I'm sure that lady on the news feels that God IS a family member. I'm wondering how long she plans on waiting to hear the good news he has planned for her? All the catastrophes will be blamed on who? I'm always slack jawed in amazement when I listen to these people's reasoning. Denial must be a class they teach in theology school and is quickly instilled in each ministers' congregations. Anything good, yeah Jesus ; slaughtered nations, children and adults? Injuries, illness and disease? God's will! How do people learn to swallow this fantasy? What happened to deductive reasoning?
Still smokeless, antsy, anxious, deprived, depraved and depressed.

Ok. Not really depressed but I needed a "d" word.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Evening Progress

It's Sunday evening. I had the best of lazy days. We did leave the house and go drive around for a while but I was just as happy to be back home. Long afternoon nap intertwined with some television was my idea of a perfect day. I could still climb back into bed and go right to sleep.

I did do some work on the new knee. I moved the office chair back in the living room and then cranked it up to the highest position. From that high chair I could dangle my leg and work on moving it back toward the chair for flexion. I really should use that chair to sit in as it lets my leg stay in a 90 degree position plus standing up is much easier from that chair then from the sofa which sits lower.

Thursday is my appointment with my doctor. I will be working on more flexion. I'm not too worried right now. At 3months post op, I should have the muscles stronger in that leg. Right now it's way to early to expect any significant changes. I think walking daily does the most for building muscle strength.

I remain smoke free. I have a visual image of myself on how I feel about this. I keep seeing that cat with claws extended and hanging from the ceiling. I think that just about describes how I feel. I feel as though I'm on a tightrope and I'm barely hanging on. This is not how I feel all the time; its how I feel when a craving hits. They really don't happen that often but are very intense when they do happen.

Back to the television and some isometric exercises.

Hospital Fun

It's way too early to be out of bed and I've been up for 2hrs already. It's cool and wet outside and we should be getting more rain today. My plans for today? I'm going to do a lot of leg stretches. Maybe between downpours I can go for a walk. I have a doctor's appointment this week. I need to have some more flexion and extension before I see the doctor. I'm sure he will be checking my progress.

Yesterday I decided to take a shortcut on wrapping my leg prior to getting into the shower. I'm here to tell you, this was not a good idea. It sounded perfectly workable and much easier then stuffing my leg in a garbage bag and duct taping it to make it waterproof. My idea was to wrap it in Saran Wrap. It works for bowls in the fridge but sad to say, it doesn't work for legs in the shower. My shower was short lived after I discovered the Saran Wrap wasn't keeping my leg dry. Yesterday I got 1/2 a shower; today I will try for a full shower with lots of ooohs and ahhhs as I enjoy every bit of the hot water I plan on using. I'll garbage bag my leg and enjoy this shower.

I'm 2 weeks out of surgery or will be on Monday. I don't know how far along I'm supposed to be at this time. I'll just do as much as I can and hope that's far enough.


I just got the hospital bill yesterday. The steel appliance (knee) alone was 61,308.00. I had to look at it a couple of times to make sure I was seeing the correct amount. That does not include hospital stay, meds, room, surgical suite charges, and all supplies that went along with this. The anesthesia charges will be additional along with those meds and the doctors' charges will be additional. There goes the Porsche I could have been driving.
I'm off to find the duct tape and garbage bag.
C ya

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sisters of The Teche

My friend Louise, her twin sister and another sister sibling grew up surrounded by music. In their younger days they had a band and played locally. Today they have revived a bit of that group but now just the sisters get together. Recently Louise's son had a birthday so they got together at Bob's Pub here in Lafayette for a birthday party for Cain. Here is the link she sent me of the performance. Louise is on the drums and her twin is left front on guitar....with the other sister on the right.
http://wosat.com/sistersoftheteche/

Dressed and Out

I'm out of pajamas and dressed. I'm going somewhere today. It doesn't really matter where; it does matter that I go. I'm getting a bit of cabin fever so I'm dressed and ready to go explore today. Maybe lunch at Dwyers? Or just browsing in some stores? I'm not picky about where I end up today. I will take my camera and use it. Spring is full blast here and it's always pretty to cruise around with all the flowers blooming, the trees getting their foliage back. Have a good day; I'm going to try!

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Better Day

I started doing more stretches and working on getting more extenstion on my knee. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get full extenstion but after doing extenstion exercises for a while yesterday, I had it almost fully extended. Working with a knee replacement is different then the other rehabs I've done with this knee. The muscles surrounding the knee have to be built up because those muscles control the movement of the metal knee. I can get it straight but then when I bend it to walk, I can't get it back straight because the muscles in the knee are still to weak. I think this is what was so depressing yesterday. I think I'm expecting this to happen to soon.

I do notice a difference; an improvement since surgery. I can sometimes lift the leg vertically which is something I couldn't do when the PT had me try that at the hospital.
I need to not expect too much too soon. I need patience. I also need a long hot shower and today is "shower day".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Poor Pitiful Me

I've had a crappy morning. There is no good reason for this. It's just the way it is. I am in a teary mood. Just anything sets me off. I feel sorry for me. I'm having a major pity party and the guest list is non existent. I am the guest of honor.

Maybe it's withdrawal? Usually some where into the second week of being without nicotine I go on a crying binge and maybe that's what today is all about.

Carrie spent the night. She didn't want to go home. Around 10PM we headed for the bedroom where she sleeps. I laid down with her till she went to sleep then I got up and headed for the sofa in the living room. I didn't go to my bedroom because Carrie usually awakens at 3 AM and finds me in my bed. She gets into bed with me and hubby has to leave because between her snoring and my snoring he can't sleep. To circumvent this, I just sleep on the sofa and when she gets up she joins me on the sofa. This morning she gets up and finds me on the sofa. She climbs up and puts her head on the pillow. She tells me I can't lay beside her because I will be in the way. She wants to watch cartoons. I informed the little princess that we wouldn't be watching any TV. She immediately goes to sleep and I'm left listening to her snore.
I grabbed my blanket and moved to the chair and 1/2 and tried to find a comfortable position.
I ended up with my legs over the back of the chair, body draped over the seat cushion with my head on a pillow on the diagonal near the arm of the chair. It really wasn't uncomfortable at all. I watched TV for a while and finally drifted back to sleep. Maybe the sleeping arrangements have contributed to my mood today. Maybe I'm just tired and need a good nights' sleep on a full flat mattress.

I'm sure today isn't a crappy day. I can see the sun shining, the grass got nature watered yesterday and today it is bright green and lush looking. I have a pot of gumbo cooking.
I'm just not used to being in a crappy mood. Maybe going back to bed and sleeping through this is what I need.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hanging In Here

Carrie was back here again today. I'm very grateful that my husband attends to a lot of her needs. I move very slowly. She requires that one get up an down frequently in one day. This is where I'm weak right now. Hubby fetches her chocolate milk, turns on the bathroom light for her and generally keeps her entertained when I have to get some sleep. Thankfully she isn't too demanding as three year olds go.

I can feel that some of the soreness is starting to leave my knee now. The soreness from the surgical cuts are fading. I'm still swollen to about 4 times the size of an ordinary knee but that will pass in time.

Day o9 on smokeless. I think I've left a couple of teeth marks on the coffee table. I'm hanging in there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just An Additional Note

Still smoke free or smokeless. Sometimes I think this is easy; other times I realize I am having a strong craving and I then try distracting myself; sometimes I clinically observe this craving. I don't know which approach is better but I do know I keep thinking the same thing. One puff and I will be right back to where I was two weeks ago.

I have to keep telling myself that I can't smoke one and that be the end of it. I've been there, done that. I thought the last time I quit that after a while I could surely have just one. Just one was great. The next day I had another plus two and by the third day I was up to a pack a day and quitting was in the past tense.

I can never just put them down when I want to quit. I have to have a "helper" to get past those first three days. Once it was breathing treatments that kept me away from the cigarettes for those first three days. This time it was having access to a Dilaudid drip. I have to stay free this time. I don't know the next time I will have something available to get me through those first three days.

AnyWAY, today is day o8. I'm shooting for day 14 as a goal. I'll reset that goal to "a month", "three months" and so on as I progress down this particular path in my life.
Have a pink lung sorta day!

Carrie Lee Bailey

Today would have been Carrie's birthday. Carrie was my paternal grandmother. She was a mother to three and a wife to Joseph Washington Tate. Carrie was married at 16 or 17 yrs old which was common for those times. She moved a short distance from her family's home to her new husbands' home and stayed there all her life.

Grandmother whom we called Nana, was a short, not always rotund lady with merry blue eyes and silver crinkly hair. Her hair wasn't always silver and I remember when she used our friend Lady Clairol to reestablish the color of her youth. I didn't know the young Nana. The one that owned a red velvet sidesaddle; the one that rode the most spirited horse and was known throughout the country as an excellent horsewoman. I didn't know the petite, svelte young dark haired beauty except for the old photos I would see of her. I'm sure she was still there somewhere but as with all of us, those memories and self snapshots get pushed to the rear as life with children and responsibilities, burdens and coping lap into the present and future. I loved the Nana I knew.

The road to Nana's house was unpaved, ungraveled and little more then a narrow path which started about 2 miles from the main road and wound round and round and up and up. Nana's house was at the most "up" part of the property. There were numerous gates to open and close, hills, curves and ruts to navigate to finally arrive at Nana's. From the curves on the way there, you could catch glimpses of the house sitting on the highest point and you knew Nana was watching that road for the first signs of our arrival. She loved having her grandchildren visit.

Weekends Nana usually had fried chicken, thick gravy for the mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and peas and biscuits and butter and jelly. I can remember her and her daughter in laws all in the kitchen preparing the Sunday meal. The children were served their food and then the adults sat together for their meal. I don't remember cleaning up after the meal so I must have been too young or else there were so many daughter in laws there that the children were left to play with their cousins outside.

I don't remember my grandmother ever being angry with us. We spent lots of time with her during summer school vacation. There was always one or two spending their summer vacation with her and Grandpa. I remember the walks we took every afternoon. I remember the sound of her feet crunching the small rocks in the road as we walked. That sound is what I remember from those walks.

We worked in the gardens and picked fresh vegetables for our meals. Nana never really made us work. We picked just enough vegetables for the meal we were having. I remember sitting with her and hulling peas or peeling potatoes. It never felt like a chore.

We took a nap every afternoon. I would lie alongside my grandmother on the sofa as she watched "As The World Turns" and both of us would drift off to sleep. I slept with my head on her stomach listening to all the gurgling sounds; sounds I would pretend were musical.

I have memories in bits and pieces; some clear and some wrapped in gauze. Today is Nana's birthday and each year I remember that clearly.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Festival Internationale




It's almost that time of year once again here in Acadiana. This is my favorite of all the festivals.
The music is great. Local artists and bands worldwide attend.
I did a lot of walking today. I would take a break when I felt discomfort and when I would tire out. Bit by bit, day by day.
I just got a call from a nurse friend that was pulled to 4th floor on Friday night. While looking through the med bin she found my name on some meds and surmised I had been in the hospital. She just called; I hadn't talked to her in years.
Louise's husband plays bass guitar for Sonny Landreth. They are doing a one day gig in Moscow, Russia, then to Australia. Louise hates the travel so she doesn't follow the band much. I worked with Louise for years and though we don't connect often, it's always a good feeling to hear her voice!
I'm gone to watch TV and relax for a while.

This Time

This time one week ago, I was preparing to go to the hospital. Amazing. Amazing that it has been almost 7 days since surgery. It will be seven days in about 5 1/2 more hours. I don't want to wish my life away as we all seem to do especially while waiting for something. On that note, I'm wishing it was a month from now. A month out from surgery should put me almost pain free and almost walking perfectly.



Almost. I must learn more patience. Patience with the healing process. I must learn to me more grateful. Grateful for what I can do this far along in the process.



.....I can bathe myself

.....I can walk short distances

.....I can care for myself albeit slowly

.....I have pain relief

and I have a good excuse to laze around.

I must make a decision this week. Do I want to do the rehab on this myself or go to a facility. All the muscles and the skin are bruised and sore. The incision site is sore.
If I go to a facility, they will push rehab for as long as insurance pays for it. I think my coverage pays for two weeks of rehab which means they will not take their time; it will be rushed and pain be damned. If I do this myself, I can do it as tolerated. Will I regain full flexion/extenstion? If I had months of rehab time alloted, the therapists would bring that knee along slowly but since insurance companies rarely afford that much rehab time the therapy will be timed accordingly.

Decisions, decisions. Another option is to work on it myself for a month then do a two week stint in rehab. By the time they get me, most of the surgical soreness should be gone plus I will have been doing rehab on it and they can just finish it off.

I may wait till my appointment with my doctor and discuss it with him meanwhile I will be doing as much as I want to tolerate with it.

Oh; 1 full week and still smokeless as of this posting.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bagged Up

A garbage bag and a roll of duct tape equals one refreshing shower! It took a bit of manually lifting of my leg to clear the rim of the tub but once in, the shower was fabulous! I even shampooed my hair. It has been 6 days since I was under a shower. It's difficult to equate hand washing with a good shower.

Hubby was having a fit; he was afraid I would fall and ruin the knee. I did fine.

The weather here is awesome. Sunny and warm and I have the a/c running. Sometimes I go out to the front porch and sit at the little table there that holds an ashtray and still has the last pack of cigarettes I had opened. I eye that pack of cigarettes and I miss the action of smoking. I don't reach for that pack of cigarettes because there are so many other things about smoking that I don't like. I hope I can stick to my resolve to quit. I have quit today; tomorrow I will have to deal with when it gets here. I'm thinking about hiring someone to come in and shampoo the living room furniture. I would do it myself but I have this little knee condition that I'm dealing with right now.

This coming week I will set up a rehab schedule. I'll have exercises that I will do in 15 reps each and for an hour a day. If I am going to do this myself, then I'll have to have as professional approach to it as possible. I'm sure my surgeon will expect to see some progress at our next visit.

Right now I start off using the walker till my knee loosens up a bit then I can truck around all over the place without the walker. Still smokeless and that's a daily report as it could change quickly.
I'm going to take a nap. It's noon after all.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dialed Up

I'm not allowed to take a shower so it's sponge baths for me. I just had a wonderful soapy wash and a facecloth rinse. Needless to say, I still feel soapy although I have a better odor now. I have a Dial soap odor. If I should get rained on I might just bubble up all over the place. It's sorta like shampooing the carpet and knowing you didn't get all the soap out that you put in.

I feel fresher but the day they give me permission to take a real shower will be the day I actually feel CLEAN. The doctor wants no moisture on the incision site. I'm sure he wants to take no chances of an infection at the surgical site. I've thought about taping a black lawn garbage bag to the top of my leg using duct tape. I can't see how any water could get to the incision site. I might rig up something for tomorrows bath/shower.

I make short trips without my walker. I'm getting braver. I'm supposed to do full weight bearing on it and when I don't use the walker, I am putting my full weight on the knee.

On another note, we noticed this morning that someone had stopped by sometime last night and riffed through my Grand Marquis and the Corolla. All the stuff in the glove boxes were strewn all over the cars. I think they were kids looking for Ipods, cameras and games. Hubby's truck was locked up so they didn't get into it. My neighbor said they had went through his boat too. This happens occasionally; it's been years since the last time this happened.

I'm off to fix some lunch and then a nap.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Carrie and The Bo Bo

Carrie came to visit today. It was late afternoon when she arrived. She had to come inside to see me as I was deep into caressing the sofa. She doesn't quite get it about having my knee fixed. She understands that something was wrong with it but this phase she hasn't figured out yet.

I showed her my leg; she could see how big it was and commented on that. I told her she couldn't bump into my leg, and she had to be careful if she wanted to get on the sofa with me. She immediately went into care taker mode. She covered me with a blanket, put my sock back on my foot and got her stethoscope and bp cuff to check me out. If I could just teach her to be rude and have a super inflated ego, I think she might just be excellent doctor material.

I'm on day 5 of my self imposed smoke out. It's not too bad right now. I think about them but it's really not that often. Hubby will suddenly disappear for a while and it takes me a few minutes to realize that he is outside having a smoke. My tongue has sore spots and my lips have sore areas from the lack of nicotine. This is all normal and will disappear in a few days. My breathing is always too shallow when I quit smoking. I think when smoking I intentionally inhale deeply on the cigarette and without that cigarette, I inhale shallow. That too will self correct.

It's time to do some exercises. Did I mention I hate doing them? If not, then I just did and now I must do them.

Slipping Away

I'm projecting right now. I'm projecting one month from now. It's the only way I can cope with being disabled for right this moment.

I tell myself in one month I won't have all this swelling in my knee and that I'll be able to use the muscles in my leg. One month, 30days aprox., 4 weeks, this is not a lifetime. I'm taking the Tylox so I spend a bit of time still woozy; makes it difficult to finish a blog. I've started this one and saved it only to come back and look at it a couple of times and decide I need to sleep not type.

I just took a couple more Tylox and I feel them already. I need a nap. (waving as she slips away)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Home Again

I had to do my time in the rehab room this morning, then back to my room for a dressing change and to get my discharge papers. The doctor had left a 'script for Tylox which we got filled after leaving the hospital.

It's nice to get back to my house. I don't like staying in the hospital although I know some people that don't mind it at all. It's a holiday for them. I've always found it to be associated with pain which is not what a holiday is about.

I have a lot of soreness and swelling in that knee which makes it difficult to do range of motion exercises. I'll still do them but I'll go slow. I have two weeks till I have to see the surgeon again to have the staples removed. I'm using a walker to get around the house which isn't really that bad. I have full weight bearing on it.

Friday morning 5:10AM
I'm up and with the walker I made it to the bathroom and then to the coffee pot. After getting a cup of fresh brewed, I headed for the office computer. I have so much junk mail and other mail to go through. Since it's a "sitting activity" I'll put it on my list of "sitting jobs" to do.
I'm day 4 post op. Haven't had a cigarette since Monday and I haven't hurt anybody YET. My knee is still swollen and sore. I didn't expect anything less. I'm going to sit outside today on the patio with a good book and the warm temps and do nothing. That's my goal for today.

A Few More

This was my Physical Therapist. Bless her heart. She would cave easily if I whined loud enought.







Lauren, a "new nurse". She was in orientation while I was in her care.
I'm getting released a day earlier then planned. My knee needs much more rehab but I'll take care of that after I'm home.
This went much better then I expected. Don't let anyone talk you into having this surgery if they don't do a Femoral block. Some doctors here still don't do them. I think they should have to have this surgery minus that block. I'm sure they would become a believer.
I can't stay awake for long. The pain meds make me woozy and looking at food makes my stomach do somersaults.
Ms. Sheila another pleasant face and she bought food with her which placed her right up there close to goddess status.













This picture taken to gross out my little sister. She has a weak stomach.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Cast of Players

This young lady appeared every 4hours with her thermometer and her blood pressure cuff to make sure I was still showing evidence of being alive.
If Terri would have noted no signs of life, she would have passed the message along to Jen the RN. I'm sure Jen had orders on what the next move would have been although I didn't ask. Jen was busy; I tried to stay out of her way. She is the keeper of the pump with all the la la juice. I figure anyone who controls this much power should be treated very nicely. Jen also poked so many holes in me I felt like a perforated roll of tissue paper.






This is Erika. She is a warrior in training. Soon she will hit the trenches along with fellow warriors armed with scissors, bandages and needles. Her days will be long and her patients too many. She shows all the signs of a good warrior. She poked a few holes through my skin and pushed liquid in too. She looked like she enjoyed doing this which is a sure sign that Erika would happily join the ranks along with her fellow prodders and pokers.
I hope she maintains her sweet unaffected attitude.
I don't know if I will be able to get a picture of Charles. He was the person that transported me daily to the Physical Therapists. Charles always emitted good vibes. Charles was no threat so seeing his smiling face was always a high point of my day.
The therapists made me a little nervous. I made them prove to me they didn't expect me to do any fancy tricks with my bright shiny new knee. They get an "A" for all the patience they showed. I felt as though they understood our fear.
The cast of characters were many. I didn't mention the housekeeping dept., the dietary department and the lab staff that I saw daily. I may get back to them shortly but right now I need to go back to sleep. The pills are working again.

Dilaudid, You are my Friend

It's 1:50 A.M. here. I'm so excited for all you cigarette smokers out there. I've discovered the cure to the addiction to cigarettes. I smoke; yes I do. It's really none of your business whether you approve or not. If I were requiring you to pay for them, then you could freely voice your dislike and disapproval but until that time happens, please kindly don't offer unsolicited wrinkling of your nose, rolling your eyes or any of those other forms of disapproval that you were led to believe were your rights on the rudeness path. I remember when the indoctrination started on the quit smoking cigarettes campaign. It started slowly and quietly. You were bought along nicely by the discreetly heard style of hate. Soon you were even encouraged to voice your unsolicited opinion. Then we were "uncool". The health craze was running rampant, the "no child left behind" campaign was here and I don't remember the diet of the moment but I'm sure someone just discovered the only way to be thin and stay that way.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, cigarettes. I haven't tried often to quit, It was just too scary thinking about it. I usually broke out in a cold sweat when the subject came up. If I were around a crowd of people, I would quietly exit the room and have a smoke.The last time I tried to quit was after a respiratory event. Doesn't that sound so "right"? Basically I couldn't breath. I was wheezing, snorting and barking. Such attractive qualities one and three. Bronchitis. The doctor prescribed all kinds of meds and sent me home with a breathing machine. On Day 3 of being unable to breath I realized that I was on Day 3 of no cigarettes. Now we all know what that means? Well not much but a little.It has been said that it takes 3 days for all the nicotine to leave your system. WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The brain cell kicks in and I start to think that maybe the worst part is over. I can just maintain now. At this time I would like to say, the worst was NOT over.

Two weeks creep by with much of the time spent daydreaming about a footlong cigarette. Not every minute but a lot of em were spent fighting the urges. Eventually o8 months had passed and I seldom thought about one; I stress the word "seldom" and I was still not smoking. I remedied this later but suffice it to say, I made it o8 months.

The other time I tried was back in the ZigZag Days; the days of the little pipes and big bongs. Yep, I figured I could just light up one instead of a cigarette. That didn't work well at all. I would forget why I lit a doobie and light a cigarette anyway.

I'm still in the hospital. This is Day 3 of my internment. I have a pump of pain meds being delivered to a sheath running beside the nerve in my femor. This keeps me from screaming in pain which I like very much.
Another pump is in progress and on demand I can get Dilaudid. Every 12 minutes I can press that little button and get delivered some Dilaudid. This makes me itch and sometimes nauseated but hey, what's a little itching? I'm having a one person party here. Oh wait. I'm getting to the heart of my story here. If I'm not careful, I will lose my train of thought.

I really haven't felt much pain at all. I've been using the Dilaudid to fight the nicotine craving. I haven't felt any cravings but then I haven't let much time go by without punching that little button that delivers all that pleasure. That pump will be taken away today. I've got to use it for those 3 days I needed to get started. I'm going to try it again. I'll miss my friends. I'll miss sharing a smoke with all my smoker friends. Maybe we could meet over a chocolate bar?
It's never two late to start school and never too late to quit smoking.

If this is the drugs speaking I reserve all rights to delete this post and find my cigarettes and lighter.

Monday, March 2, 2009

4:30 AM

Of course the first thing I wanted when I rolled out of bed this morning was something to drink. My tongue feels like a wad of cotton in my mouth right now.

I'm going to get a quick shower and get dressed. It will be time to go soon.
Strangely enough, I'm feeling quite calm now.

I'll get back to you in about 4 days unless I have my laptop bought to me in the hospital.
Thanks for all the well wishes. They were much appreciated!