Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Three Week Report

Something special that has come out of having knee replacements is Roy praying for me each night before he left the hospital and now praying for me before he goes to bed. He takes a moment to settle his spirit, puts his hand on my head and begins to pray such faith filled prayers for healing and for strength. He reminds the Lord what He said in His Word and then Roy thanks Him for such a great provision. As soon as Roy has pronounced amen, he kisses me goodnight. Sometimes he moves on and goes about the things he needs to take care of or he will sit here with me and visit a bit. Something occurred to me yesterday in one of the many naps upon the bed, I don't remember being wheeled into an operating room, I kind of remember Roy walking alongside the bed for a bit. I don't remember the recovery room AT ALL and I don't remember being brought into the hospital room. I do remember they did not start me out on broth and JELL-O but solid food. You see in just about every other surgery or procedure, these are the things I remember but not conversations. In recovery the nurses call your name and start trying to wake you up. They bring those warm blankets. I kind have a sense of being moved into a room but nothing at all this time. Maybe it's because this surgery took longer than any other I have ever had. Roy seems to remember I was in recovery around 4:00 or 5:00. I don't remember them giving me any drowsy drugs but maybe they did and didn't tell me on the way to surgery.

On Wednesday they tried to get me up to begin PT and I fainted. Low hemoglobin and a nurse who would not, even with orders hook me to the pain medication machine, until someone higher up had to get involved. I knew by the Wednesday happenings, I needed Roy or someone with me to advocate care. Roy had to go to the office on Wednesday and it was good Lisa P came by. Roy decided he needed to be there on Thursday because things were being left in the lapse, no bed changes, no clean up or sponge bath for me. He was there listening to the conversations about having two units of blood to help build me up. Those were some very difficult and hard days as time slowly crept by and I felt I was getting further behind day by day. I was afraid that I would no longer qualify for Memorial Herman Rehab Hospital but at some point I came to realize it didn't matter how much I worried it wasn't going to change a thing. They had accepted me, the liaison had come by and saw the amount of work ahead for me. She was confident that MHR could knock it out of the park and get me going. She was so right!  But there was something I was more sure of, everything was in God's hands. He knew the desire of my heart and the request we had brought to Him. From then on Thursday until I left on Saturday, the care was better, I was getting better. I had different PT people working with me and it is so important to gel with those you are working with you.
So, yesterday was three weeks out from surgery. I'm making progress and have welcomed this week at home, not trying to get to out patient therapy. But I have been doing the exercises they gave me and doing everything possible to be ready to begin again with supervision. Last night, in the middle of the night, I transitioned over to the couch. It was 50% successful. When I moved to the couch that is when Buddy decided it would be just hunky dory to sleep under my neck. When she was a kitten, she would do this quite often but as she grew bigger and since I rarely sleep on my back she rarely finds the opportunity. She has loved me sleeping in the recliner and when she found me on my back on the couch, she took advantage. We were drifting off to sleep once again when in true, middle of the night fashion that scares the pee waddling out of me, Buddy moved slightly and when she did, her tail came to rest across my nose. I scream, Buddy jumps off me and as I struggle to get up off the couch picture turtle on its back and can't get up, I see Roy running through the living room in a blaze straight to the front door. He is asking are you okay? Are you okay and banging on the front door with his fists. Uh...yes...but I'm back here not at the front door. Yes, over the years in any true emergency fashion of the middle of the night, a noise, words from his sleep Roy runs to the front door. He did this at our condo too. I dread the day this happens in NC for there will be stairs involved.

Erin came over yesterday afternoon. We dined on Whole Food's finest chicken and tuna salad on cranberry walnut bread, ate both chips and cheetos, sliced oranges and strawberries with orange juice and chocolate chip cookies. Delicious!

Roy was a little late getting home from the office yesterday. Makes the evenings too short.

Well little Miss Buddy is back and sitting on my lap and on part of the laptop. I love these quiet moments with Christmas music playing in the background.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


This morning, right here in the living room, I was treated to a wondrous display of lightning flashing and charging through the skies. The lightning didn't seem to be that close and while I watched in reverence, the notice came through on FB that there was a message from Ria, way over across the ocean in Amsterdam asking me why I was up so early on a Monday morning. New normal is all I can think it is but we had a good time messaging for a little bit. When you add that last night I began transitioning from my walker to my cane...there was much joy. I told Roy since I had watched so much Will and Grace lately, I was naming my walker Karen, after Karen Walker on the show. Roy left for the office and I decided to try and take a morning nap on our bed. Success! I was able to get up on the bed without trouble, find a comfortable position and fell fast asleep. I awoke kind of started because I couldn't place where I was...and then I remembered. I do believe I am on a Buddy type schedule; complete with early, mid and late morning naps and then repeated for the afternoon. I'm awake in the night and doze off occasionally.

We have had a bit of a mystery going on and we think we have come to the end of it without knowing too much more. Last week American Express called Roy asking if he had placed an order with Victoria Secret online? No, he hadn't, I hadn' someone had gotten ahold of his info. He got a new card from them and it wasn't until yesterday while going through some things he had put on our church pew in the entrance way that I found the VS package. It was activewear pants and the Pink genre. When he got home I showed him the invoice and clothes. He called VS and an account had been set up which they quickly marked as fraudulent and asked him if he could return the merchandise. He then called Am Ex to talk with their fraud division and they told him that several other attempts had been made to order things but have them delivered to a different address.

So I am noticing I am picking up a few more physical characteristics of my Grandma D. When most are dealing with thinning eyebrows while aging, mine are thickening up and turning black, just like Grandma. I do not want this at all. I mean if I ever have to go to live in assisted living, I will be one big uni-brow with a mustache. Not an attractive look.

Last night I had fun phone conversations with Lisa and then a little later with Dena. I'm laughing and talking loud, which brings Roy to the rush of checking in on me yet when he is in the room with me and I am struggling with a task or I have hit the wall physically, there is something on TV that has his attention and I barely register a glance. He and I laughed about this later, you know after I took my shower and meds, when I felt much better.

This morning I had Christmas music from Dish playing in the background. I went with Traditional and heard a lot of Frank, Dean, Johnny Mathis, big band, Rosemary Clooney and Peggy Lee renditions of very familiar and some not so familiar Christmas music.
Yes, the familiar asterisks means another day has dawned. Monday was a good day but as the afternoon turns into the evening, my energy level depletes faster than I want it to. I used the cane most of the day. I iced my knees and ankles, did the stretches, and a bunch of other exercises for me to do. I also read and got some notes written. Today, Erin is coming over around lunch time and I am looking forward to seeing her. The sun is out and it is a beautiful day. I got a bunch of cards in the mail from NC and those notes always make me so happy and are so encouraging. Cards are my love language.

Once again the new normal took over the morning. I woke up when Roy did, around 4:00 am. Had a cup of coffee or two and then washed white clothes, which reminds me those clothes now need to be put into the dryer. I watched a little news and then turned over to a Christmas music station. Around 6:00 am I took my first nap of the day with Buddy on the bed. I don't think I am at the place yet where I can make it a whole night in bed because I get uncomfortable quicker there than I do in the recliner.

Roy made his delicious tacos last night for dinner and I think we are having them tonight as well. That's about it for now. I better start my morning grooming because I am sure a short nap will be involved somewhere in there. So glad Erin is a late lunch-er.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Beginning The New Normal

A rainy Sunday morning in Rancho de Five. The tree in our backyard just a couple of weeks ago looked like it was just barely hanging in there but with the rain over the past week or so, has come back once again. When we first moved in, this tree had a tremendous amount of stress and each evening we would water and care for it as our area managed to get through the last part of the drought that had controlled the weather for quite sometime. I noticed yesterday that some of the trees on the green space next to us have quite a few bird nests.

Last night was a much better night than Friday. I slept in the recliner and slept hard till about 3;30 am. Then I dozed off and on with the addition of Buddy to my lap. Roy decided he would play sabbatical from church this morning. I am so glad he did because he has worked hard at the office and he has worked hard taking care of me. He needed the rest.

The neighbors behind us have broken the trend out here in beigeland of white Christmas lights lining the outline of the roofs and they have gone with multi colored lights. The view from the recliner through the windows I can see a small portion of the lights. Very festive and relaxing in those 3:00 am moments.

It seemed ironic that the last night at rehab the PNA was the same one I had the first two nights. She is a little rough in her care and I constantly had to make sure my feet and legs weren't being run into the wall as she maneuvered the wheel chair. Maybe in her own way, her impatience and roughness inspired me to get to the place where I could do a lot on my own because it was tough. That's the thing when it come to caretaking, I think we observe those who are rehabbing and make a decision that they might be moving kind of slow but it is an unsure thing. That is the thing that bothered me the most, many just thought if they pushed or moved your legs, you would go faster...uh no cause it hurts. That last night there the PNA was stationed in the hallway near my door. She coughed all night long and it was a note to self kind of thing, make sure there isn't a reason to have her come in, even though on an average visit by staff, 3-4 sets of latex gloves would be used.

The Christmas pics of families and children are especially good this year. What cuties! The out take pics are delightful as well. My long time friend Mary Madeline is a lover of tea and family. She prepared a tea for the girls in the family, along with the other Mimi's. Oh my goodness, the tables were beautifully laid, the treats and dainties looked delicious and everyone in attendance had a Christmas glow that could not be contained. How fun that Mary Madeline has such wonderful memory making fete for young and old, boys and girls.

Our taco soup turned out very good last night and Roy makes some great cornbread. Think we are opting for ordering Chinese for lunch today. Orange chicken will be my choice. Roy is going over to Whole Foods to get some peeled and sliced oranges for me this week and a few other Whole Food treats.

Living the new normal this week and we will see how it all works out. I do know that new normal will be adjusting everyday.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Much Needed and Looked Forward To Saturday At Home

It is good to be home. It is good to begin this portion of the journey. The last twenty four hours were hard and didn't go according to plan, but it all worked.

Just like each morning in rehab, the day begins a little after 5:oo am when they take vitals and apply pain patches. Then you are left with an hour or so to go back to sleep or begin your morning grooming. Around 7:00 am they take more vitals and then you either go to breakfast or eat in your room. The dining room was so chaotic and noisy, so most mornings I ate in my room. Yesterday, there was more of a spring in my step and I actually got ready like usual, not like rehab ready which consisted of brushing my hair, teeth, applying deodorant, and apply lotion. The Dr had so kindly filled out the paperwork the night before, the pharmacist went over prescriptions and meds and then the nurse went through your release papers, think sign here, here and here...initial here.  I was then ready to go to the gym and do my final required thing, ring the bell signaling I had passed and graduated to the next level in this recovery. Funny thing, all haired and makeup upped, they didn't recognize me at first.

We then headed over to Dr Smith's office where the waiting room was packed. I believe they saw 22 patients who had had surgery during the past few weeks. We were there a long time, but when I saw the x-rays of new knees, it was so worth it. Also getting the staples out. Dr Smith was blown away by the progress I had made. Next week out patient therapy will contact me and we will get all that scheduled. I might wait a week before starting to get off pain meds as well as help Roy out timewise. That week also might give me the time needed to be able to drive so I can get over there. I am motivated and find myself doing my exercises subconsciously while sitting around.

After Dr Smith's office, we celebrated at Tony's, fajitas for Roy and cheese enchiladas for me. By this time we were starving and I was exhausted. We ate quickly and then headed home. At first Buddy did not know what to think of the walker, which after watching a few Will and Grace episodes yesterday I decided to name my walker, Karen Walker. She finally came around after investigating it and deeming it safe. She was in my lap. Roy's fun was just about to begin as he went on an adventure to find a pharmacy that stocked my pain meds. CVS said they could get them on Thursday. Uh no, wasn't going to work. He called around and found a Walgreen's that could help us. So, he was off to get the prescription filled, went to prayer time at his church, returned and picked up the pills and brought some dinner home.

After we ate, I went through the tons of mail that had piled up getting rid of catalogues and the like. Roy put together the shower chair and brought stuff in from the car. I hit the wall around 10:00 and would love to say I went right to sleep. I did sleep some but could not get comfortable. I am so thankful that I found that website for people who share their stories of bilateral knee replacements. Reading about and then getting a recliner was a great decision. Funny though, I am taller after replacements and my ankles hit the edge of the recliner now. Pillow to the rescue, made it comfortable.

Around 3:00 am I got up and moved in here. Put Hulu on I Love Lucy. Took pain meds, read a little bit and then fell asleep. Meanwhile tired Roy was up and down with me throughout the night. Good news is, I can get into bed by myself and I can get out. It is the moving off the edge of the bed that is difficult for me. It will all come.

While going through the mail, Roy brought me a box that had been delivered. It was from Brenda and inside the cutest story she had written about the penguin she had sent me. Buddy of course investigated the newest addition to our household. Roy had brought home the turkey she had sent me from the rehab hospital and Buddy had found where he put it. She commandeered it as her own and dragged it around the house for a couple of days. Thankful, she did not rip the face off.

Roy has returned from the Kroger loaded down with groceries. He brought me a little rubber ducky as a surprise.  Buddy is up from her nap. I am so thankful for friends who continue to pray for us and I used the restless night to pray for friends facing surgery in the coming days, facing decisions and plans for their health future. I prayed for those near and far, friends participating in Celebration both on stage and behind the scenes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bronzed Tennis Shoes

The PT schedule is a little different today. All the hard work of stretching and standing and working took place this morning. This afternoon I have OT, which I realize is necessary, but dang it, so boring for me. The morning ended with ice packs to the front and back of the knees. You see I had worked very hard this morning and it is dawning on me that in the year of 2016 and at the age of 62, I am in the process of relearning how to walk and how to climb stairs. While rehabbing the good ol hip, I learned that my brain needed to reconnect communication wise with my feet. So the year has been filled with many moments of brain talk. The result is a steadier gate and no falls. Today, after Jasmine and I walked outside for a bit to navigate less than smooth terrain, we worked on stairs. At first she was going to have me climb the regular stairs to the second floor but I reminded her I have not done any stair work, at all. So glad she rethought the practice because today relearning out to use my knees for climbing stairs was some of the most difficult and challenging work I have done. The steps we worked with are less than deep regular steps and I struggled. The obvious became so apparent that I have spent years and years and years adapting to how I could climb stairs. The strangeness of having straight knees was almost too much to comprehend. The right knee as has been the constant is the knee that will require the most work and the most to overcome. The feeling of accomplishment washed over me as we were able to increase the reps but never once in the whole exercise could my mind wander because it was just like being a baby whose steps are tennuious. Only thing, it will hurt a lot more if I fall down and go boom than it does a baby.

It might be a good thing to discover the 3:00 am pain pill late in the game. The most agonizing time are those hours before the 8:00 am pain pill for workout purposes. Oh my, today's 3:00 am pill made a huge difference. And now since my side effect of pain pills has made headway, I don't feel tool bad about taking the pills.

Seeing the images of Gaitlenburg burning are unbelievable. I have never been there and really never have had an interest in going there but I am saddened for all those who have lost homes and businesses. I'm still trying to grasp the enormity. I saw earlier that the Stump Dump on Monticello was on fire but it had been contained. Now that my friends is just a little too close to regular routes and our house.

I'm wondering if I should get these huge tennis shoes I wear bronzed to commentate my first new steps with new knees?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monday Evening Recap

Got my schedule for tomorrow and PT doesn't begin until 10:00, then I have a big break in the afternoon and will finish out with OT until 4:00. The hardest part of the day will be getting through OT. I have a feeling if I didn't have such a strong advocate in PT, OT would try to hold me back because I am breaking apart the criteria and breaking all the known therapy rules. It is obvious to anyone who watches me any length of time, there aren't any real concerns. Tomorrow I get to walk outside as well as work with a cane and begin making the switch from the walker to more moveablity.   Parts of OT want to see if I can still brush my teeth by myself. Oh my.....

The day could have started out really, really strained. The PNA bounded into the room, turning on lights and announcing she could not work in the dark. No good morning, nothing. When I responded back to her you could tell she was not expecting anyone functional or responsive...and there it started. My schedule didn't begin until 10:30 and she wasn't too happy that I didn't plan on getting ready until right before breakfast and then would continue my morning grooming afterwards. I did not see her again for a long time. Others brought things in or did vitals. She made my bed but didn't use clean sheets, just turned everything inside out. The day had gotten better with her as I resolved to show the love of Jesus to her but I was prepared to go all turn over the money changer tables if He gave me the nudge. She was one of the ones from last week that created quite a stir over who and who wasn't going to receive attention that day. I think her goal is to sit at the front desk as much as possible. There are very few like that around here and I was delighted later in the afternoon to spend some time with the woman in charge of the food service here and we had a great conversation and encouraged one another in the Lord.

Roy has been such a help and love these days here and I think he is like me, ready to move onto the home portion of this program. But me being here has been such a help for me and really for him. Kathleen and Peggy came by for a visit today. Very fun and filled with DC treats.

That is about it. I have pondered many things today and had the opportunity for praying. So thankful and grateful to the Lord and His arrangements. He is so good!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Morning

It has been a quiet day here at rehab. The day nurse was telling me that three patients have been admitted today and you can set a clock by their arrival, right at shift change. Last week I came in the late afternoon, so that didn't apply. The halls have been noisier with family and friends visiting loved ones. The interns and those who help with rehab are a little easier and funny than the usual week staff. Funny thing here, we all wear our bracelets and labels open to one and all to see our allergies or if we are fall risks or need lots of assistance and of course those every pesky flight risks. I had a safety moment Saturday before going to rehab. It was well done. Having a laid back schedule was so welcomed. Talked with Gale today. She is my NC Sunday School teacher. Judy C and I texted back and forth and Vivian sent an early encouraging text this morning. I am remembering that a year ago today, Darlene and Patsy were having a wonderful trip to the Biltmore and we took most of Saturday to do some sightseeing. The little store in Bat Cave was closing up last year but this year we wouldn't be able to get close to it due to the fires in the area. Sounds like rain will make an appearance on Tuesday and for this, we are most thankful.

The night nurse this evening is one of my favorites here. Before the holidays we were talking about how she became a nurse. Her story is one of those treasures that the Lord allows us to discover. I asked her how she became a nurse. Her confidience and demeanor makes her a picture perfect look of what you would want to have in a nurse. She shared that she had a young child and at that time she was making a living as a cashier. She had gone over to Memorial Hospital to take a CPR class and she saw a card...a postcard announcing new PCA classes that were going to be offered. She talked with the director of the program and was accepted. The director also found her a job with a Dr in the area and she would be able to support herself and her child as she went to school. She continued on by becoming an LN and working double shifts at the hospital on weekends, coming home on Sundays, studied for her tests and her young son miraculously found someone who would wrap up a plate of Sunday lunch so that he could feed his mom when she got home. Night nurse now has a son working on his masters and she is considering applying for nurse practitioner school. Such a small thing, a postcard announcing a class changed her life, changed life for her son. It wasn't easy. Her story so touched me and many a time I have thought about what she said and how life unfolded before her.
If there are asterisks that means it is a new day here on the ol' Monablog. There is a slip of morning left this Sunday. I have had OT and talked to my Sunday School class in NC. Roy has brought me coffee and my s-i-l and I have talked. Been a little reading and napping in this morning's activities as well. I was kind of dreading OT because at times it can be so boring...but Rachelle had me working with a ball and trampoline and of course all she did was endear me to her for that. I'll throw a ball a lot longer than I will build towers with golf balls. My night was pretty good and now that Nancy, s-i-l, explained to me why my body is doing different things to regain normalcy, with a better understanding I know maybe a little better how to deal with things.

Last night I realized if anyone wanted a good look at what fear looks like in all its forms, a rehab hospital just might bundle them up for you. Staff, doesn't matter. It is interesting to observe fear in its finer, seemingly less destructive form around here. You see a lot of manipulation of circumstances to achieve peace, inner peace. We all do this but say there is something you don't want to respond to or you don't want to justify or give an explanation for, fear gives an out and what is so funny, we think we are being so clever. This kind of manipulation is so easy to see thru. Fear allotment is what I call this, when you think someone or something is going to take from you time, schedule, words, whatever....the easiest way to use this fear is denial. So, around here you can ask a question and it might take you all day to ever get an answer because some think if there isn't a response, you'll forget or they can ignore and just excuse it all with, I have been busy or there is so much going on. Around here, the agenda sets the tone. So if there is something you want to express and that's all, things are quickly shifted into, oh yes, the next person, service or whatever will listen to that or help with that.

Time for BP.

Nancy's Monablog