Monday, July 30, 2012


We got to the hospital at about 6 a.m., and all the paperwork was done. They took me into the EP lab about 8, and the anesthesia started about 8.30. Dr. Levi had asked if I understood the procedure, and I told him vaguely, and that was all I wanted to know!

I woke up in Recovery, with my leg uncomfortable, and that took some wiggling to fix. I dozed off and on, and was returned to the same day surgery area where they fed me ginger ale, crackers, and a turkey sandwich. I ha a little of the meat, and the crackers, and the ginger ale, and woke up completely. I was discharged at 3 p.m., and we were home by 4. I had a little to eat and drink, and headed off for a nap. I barely slept an hour last night, worrying about the ablation. 

So I took a 3 hour nap, was up for a while, and now I'm headed back to bed! I see the ablation physician in six weeks, and I'm to continue the meds til then. I have two small dressings that have to stay til tomorrow. I was happy to find out that they go in thru the veins, not the arteries, so I didn't have to lay flat for 6 hours, only one hour. 

So the two big summer issues were the knee and the ablation, and they're both done! Along with the bonus tooth issue! I can concentrate on continuing to rehab the knee.

There are still family concerns- Mom has the eye surgery for the macular hole next week, and Barbara had a family medical disaster today. Seems like it's always something. 

And so it goes!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happiness is normal sinus rhythm!

At 4 pm, my heart went back into sinus, thank goodness! I immediately felt a thousand times better!

I'm still up because I slept half the day. Ralph went to bed early, he'd been up early because he heard an animal knock over our trash can, then later he was worried about me. 

I have to consult my apple tech support guy, AKA Dan, to see how to put pix from my iPhone onto here. I finished a blue and white granny stripe afghan that I've been working on forever. It's huge! 

And I finished Harvest Moon, another of the Virgin River series. I only have 4 more to go to be caught up. 

And now I'm off to bed!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Monday can't come fast enough!

I woke up at 4 a.m. in afib. The meds keep the rate down, so it wasn't real dramatic, just annoying. I hung in there til noon, then called cardiology. The on call doc said since I'm on the meds, not to do anything, and come in Monday as scheduled. That was a relief, as I sure didn't want to spend the weekend in the hospital. I'm still in hopes that it will break. 

I'm not dizzy or anything, but I've gotten nothing done all day. It's more likely to break if I'm not real active. 

Ralph just said it's thundering off in the distance, so I guess we're getting another storm. 

Angela discharged me from home PT. I can bend the knee more than 100 degrees, which is great. And I'm up to about every 7-8 hours with the tylenol, and the pain med only at bedtime. I'm sleeping better but not great. I used the cane almost all day yesterday, and only switched to the walker late last night. Today I've stuck with the walker- no use tempting fate. 

Cliffie has turned into quite the house cat. She hasn't asked to go out for over a month. She will meow to go out on the porch, and loves to lay out there and look around. She's discovered she likes a little milk from Ralph's cereal, and usually meows at him at dawn to come feed her- which he does not do. 

Steph, Dan and Toast stopped in. Toast had a haircut appt, but the place lost power, and of course did not call them to cancel. It was funny to see Toast without Whiskey. 

I'm still working my way thru the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr.

And the beat goes on!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ack- tooth update

After seeing that I have a history of afib, the oral surgeon would not do general anesthesia. He was right, of course, but I wasn't happy. It worked out fine, the novacaine stopped any pain, and I didn't have to deal with anesthesia issues. It took about 15 minutes for remove the shell of the tooth and the roots. I had to come home with gauze in my mouth for almost an hour, but the bleeding was scant. I was able to eat cottage cheese for dinner. I iced my jaw for a couple of hours off and on. It's still sore, but bearable. 

The dentist said anyone with a joint implant has to be premedicated with an antibiotic before any dental procedure, especially cleaning. I never got discharge instructions from ortho at the hospital, since I was being transferred to rehab, but that was never mentioned that either Ralph or I could remember.

I emailed my nephew Joseph, who has a hip replacement as a result of a car crash when he was 21. He said when he got his wisdom teeth removed, the oral surgeon had him premedicate, but he'd never heard of doing it before dental work.

Then I remembered my hospital years. Generally, the ortho's loved ortho, and consulted medicine for everything else. So maybe the ortho's figure the dentists will take care of it. 

I spoke briefly to Heather on her way home. She's got some job changes going on that will let her be off Thanksgiving, Xmas Eve, Xmas, NY Eve, and NY Day! She's very excited, and I'm delighted for her and Ed. Here's a rant- when other professions, like police, work holidays, they make double or even triple time. Nurses only get time and a half, which is not enough to make me want to work any holiday. Hospitals give a lot of lip service to valuing nurses, but they don't put their money where their mouth is. 

Monday is the ablation for my afib. I have my instructions as to meds, but I've been too distracted with everything else to think about it much. Good thing, because it's a scary procedure. I'll be glad when it's over. 

PT comes today, and it will probably be my last in home session. I start outpatient PT next Thursday. I only did a few of my exercises today, with the trips to the dentist and oral surgeon. I did go up and down the steps twice, in and out of the car, and some walking, so it wasn't a lost day altogether. 

We had a thunderstorm, and I slept thru most of it. I woke up needing pain meds, for my knee and jaw. It should take effect soon, so back to bed!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Postop Day 29

I had a crown on the bottom left molar, since 1999. My jaw was feeling a little funny, and when I touched the crown, it felt spongy- not a good thing. I called the dentist, who was closed yesterday, and went in this morning. The crown was so loose that they were able to lift it off. The tooth underneath was in terrible shape, and needs to be extracted. Some things I don't do awake, so I'm going to see the oral surgeon this afternoon for extraction. Because of my new knee, I need to be premedicated before dental work. 

Tuesday I had a doctor's appt, and we went to Olive Garden afterward for a late lunch. I filled up on salad, and brought the pasta home and had it for lunch yesterday. 

I'm supposed to be walking laps with the cane to build up endurance. Yesterday I did two laps and had to stop. Angela was due to come today, and I had to cancel her due to dentist appointments. I'm pretty good about doing my exercises. I might not do them all at once, but I do them. She'll be here tomorrow morning. 

I'm starting to sleep a little better. I slept last night from 11 til 2, was up til 3, and slept til 6. My foot is still swollen enough to be annoying. 

I'm able to put my leg up on the ottoman in the sewing room, and keep it up longer and longer. It needs to be stretched out often. And the last two times I've gotten in the car, I haven't used the leg lifter! So I'm definately making progress! 

And so it goes!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Postop Day 26

Angela the PT was here today. We went outside and worked on going down the steps with the cane. She wanted me to go down left foot first, and I couldn't do it. I can do it if I'm holding on to the rail with both hands, but not while holding with one hand. I could barely go down right (new knee) first. 

Then she had me lay with my legs hanging off the bed from the knees down, and she bent the new knee. It did OK, and when she let the legs hang, I could feel the pull. I also made an appointment to start outpatient PT next week. 

Angela said that no matter how many exercises I do, and no matter how much walking inside I do, I'll improve faster when I'm out and about. So we went to Applebee's for dinner! Of course I had to ice the knee and elevate it when I got home! But I was able to get the new knee leg into the car without using the leg lifter! Progress is definitely being made, slow and steady!

One of my internet friends told me to keep reminding myself that I had major surgery less than four weeks ago. I emailed today's knee picture to Amanda, who was amazed that it looked so good. It's just a scar now, now bruising, no staple marks, no scabs. 

We skyped with Manda, Ben and Kitten. Ben napped thru a lot of the conversation, and Kitten kept trying to cuddle with him. Cliffie also had a lot to say during the conversation. 

Tomorrow Sharon comes to clean, and I see the cardiologist in the afternoon. Next Monday, July 30, is the cardiac ablation for the afib. I think I'm missing the summer! 

I've been reading the latest Virgin River books on the Nook. I'm at least 6 books behind. I finally caught up on all the TV shows from the regular season that I had on the DVR. I watched the season finale of NCIS last night- what a cliffhanger! Now I'll start watching the summer series that I've DVR'd. 

And now I'm off to bed!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Postop Day 25

I went on an outing today! It was the surprise bridal shower for Juliette, my nephew David's fiancee. I decided to take the walker since it was at a restaurant and I wasn't sure how much walking was involved. I was glad I did- it was a bit of a walk. I did a little walking with the cane before Steph picked me up..

Steph pushed the front passenger seat as far back as it would go, and I got in and out with no problem. There was about 20 women at the shower. Juliette showed up dressed up- she said she'd been planning to get dressed up no matter where she thought she was going, until a shower happened. Good plan- she looked really cute. David stayed long enough to hug everyone, then he bailed. 

We were at Brio Restaurant. We had a choice of soup or salad, and four entrees. And of course cake! She got a lot of nice gifts.

We left here at 11, and got home about 3.30. My right foot is still swollen- it just won't quit. So I came home, elevated, iced, and napped. I did some of my exercises first thing this morning, and I'll do some tonight. 

Tomorrow Angela comes at noon. Her plan is to have me lay down on my stomach, and bend the knee from that position. Sounds like pre-medication is in order! I finally am able to sleep on my stomach, so the knee gets some stretching that way. 

And so it goes!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Postop Day 24

Today is a discouraging day. Both knees ache. Angela thought some of it might be the dampness in the air. Ralph fixed the quad cane so it's set to use in my right hand, to support the left knee. The right, or operated on knee, is the stonger one now. 

I counted the steps from my loveseat in the sewing room to the kitchen sink, and it's 63. I walked from the sewing room and back one full time, and one time using the walker. After so long of matching the cane to the right foot, it's hard to match it to the left foot. Since they both hurt, I didn't feel as steady, so I went back to the walker rather than chance a fall. 

I've done some of my exercise routine today, but not all. It's just too sore. I laid back down for an hour this morning and an hour this afternoon to elevate and ice it.

Ralph and I both didn't sleep well last night. At 2 a.m. we were in the kitchen snacking. So I've been trying to stay awake today so that I sleep better tonight. I'm going out with Steph tomorrow, which should be interesting. I'll take the walker and the cane. 

Before I had the surgery I bought all the cards I'd need this summer. Put the bag...somewhere. Can't remember where, can't find it. Ralph looked, since he did a lot of rearranging to make it easier for me, and he can't find it either. 

On the positive side, the incision looks great. No signs of infection. The foot is still stubbornly swollen. 

And so it goes!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Postop Day 23

It rained last night, finally. No thunder or lightening that I heard, but it seemed like every time I woke up, it was raining. I was up from 4-5.30 a.m. Same old, just couldn't get comfortable. Angela the PT was to come at 10, so I got up around 8.30 got dressed and had breakfast. At 9.30 I laid down to elevate the knee, which was sore. Angela called to say she was held up at a staff meeting and would be here at noon, so I took a nap. 

The knee was still sore when she got here. She suggested that it might be the weather, as I'm not the only patient complaining. Since she had been here yesterday, we didn't do all the exercises. I walked back and forth down the hall with a straight cane that she brought for me to try out. My left knee has been sore, so I used the cane in the right hand, and she said my gait was better. The surgical knee (the right) seems to be stronger than the left. 

The flexion was about the same as yesterday, about 95%. Extension was OK. She'll be back on Monday, and my assignment is to walk the length of the house til I get tired twice a day. 

The day was dreary, and after Angela left we had lunch and took naps. Even the cat slept on Ralph. Then he headed out to a Wounded Warriors thing, and I settled in to watch some TV and crochet. I've been massaging the knee trying to reduce the hypersensitivity of the skin of the knee. My right food is still swollen- it is somewhat down in the morning, but goes right up as soon as I walk around. 

I've been reading a book called Under Her Skin by Vicki Lane on the Kindle. The book is the latest of a series, and I'm enjoying it, but I get sleepy every time I read! 

John called from Florida last night while Heather and the kids were here, so they talked about dates in November. She and Ed and the kids are going to Orlando for a week, and John plans to take off a day and meet them. 

I used the cane while Angela was here, then went back to the walker- much as the walker is a pain, it's also more stable. I'll walk with the cane again tomorrow. Angela gave me the names of a couple PT places, so I looked them up online. I have to call one to see if they take my insurance- that's on Monday's To Do list.

And so it goes!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Postop Day 22

Angela the PT was here today. She asked if I was ready to try using the cane. Yes! I did good with it, so she said I can alternate the cane and walker as I feel like.

I did the full set of exercises under Angela's supervision. The swelling continues to go down, and I can get more flexion. She didn't measure, but thinks I'm at about 95%, with the goal being 115-120%. Flexion makes me wince, but extension makes me go "uh." To have a normal gait, I need both full flexion and full extension. It'll come.

I expressed concern about getting into the car, and she told me to lift the leg while sitting down, and ease it over to the right- the motion I would use to get into the driver's seat. It'll be another 3-4 weeks before I can drive, but I'll need to get into the car by myself to do so. 

I was actually able to lay on my stomach for a few minutes last night. Not long enough to go to sleep, but it's a start. 

Angela will be here again tomorrow, and Monday. She gave me names of local PT places, and will discharge me to outpatient PT around August 1. 

They keep saying rain and thunderstorms. It's down to 94 out, and no storms yet, tho it's overcast out. Cliffie can't decide if she wants to be in the house or on the porch, so she goes in and out. Ralph worked outside briefly this morning, before it got too hot. 

Heather and the kids are on their way up to visit. It's so great having them back in Jersey! 

And the beat goes on!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Postop Day 19

Not much new today. I did my PT exercises, and the home care nurse was here. She asked if I thought I really needed to be seen by a nurse- not really. So she discharged me from nursing services. I'll just be receiving PT services now, which is fine. 

The incision looks good, and the leg is much less swollen. Hopefully the foot's swelling will be next to disappear. I can move the knee more by the day. I'll feel like I'm making no progress, and get really discouraged, then sort of look back at the progress I have been making. 

Today I only took one nap, and it was short- about 15 minutes. I try to lay down to elevate the foot every time I do the exercises. 

Yesterday I talked to my friend Franny, who is also part of the walking wounded. Today my friend Pat called from Florida, so we caught up. Manda called tonight, so I talked to her for a long time. She and Ben were in Nebraska for a wedding, so I heard all about the house Polly and Randy are moving to. 

Tomorrow I go for the bloodwork for the cardiac ablation, which is scheduled for July 30. I'll be glad to have that done and over with. 

So life at the moment consists of PT exercises, reading, catching up on TV shows on the DVR, talking on the phone, and a little crocheting. Could be worse.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Physical Therapy

The PT was here yesterday. Michelle was covering for the PT who will be mine, who is on vacation. She guided me thru a series of exercises, non of which seem hard on paper. Some in a straight chair, some standing at the walker, and some either laying on the bed or in the recliner. The whole series only took about 15 minutes, and I could barely move at the end! I'm to do the whole series 3-5 times per day. She predicts that I'll be off the walker and onto the cane within two weeks. 

The swelling in the leg is resolving, but my foot is still very swollen and annoying. Luckily I have a pair of sandals with three sets of velcro straps. I can't fasten the middle set of straps at all. I spend so much time with it elevated! 

Today is postop day 17. The bruising is all but gone, the incision looks great, and the knee feels strong. I can do more by the day, and I sleep better every night. I'm managing on the one vicodin at bedtime, and tylenol the rest of the time. I know I don't have to worry about addiction issues because I am in pain, but I still don't want to take the narc any more often than that. 

I had an eye doc followup appointment today, so I did the steps, the car, and the parking lot. I was so tired and sore when we got back! I had lunch and went in for a nap. When I got up, I did a set of exercises, then elevated the lower leg so the knee would extend. I read a quilting magazine while I sat, and I'm eager to be able to get back to quilting. It'll probably be mid-August before I'm able to. 

Ralph got us some jersey tomatoes to have with lunch. It tasted so good on my sandwich! 

And so it goes!

Friday, July 13, 2012

In the middle of the night...

I went to sleep around 11, and got up around 2.30 and tossed and turned, so here I am! I don't want to wake Ralph up. The home care nurse was here yesterday, and PT will be here this morning. I want her to work on the outside steps with me, if it's not to hot out. 

I walked back and forth thru the house all day, which the carpet makes not as easy as tile. Seems like I'd be up for two hours and sleep for two hours. Sitting on the loveseat is just not comfortable for long. It's not that the knee actively hurts, it just is there. And putting the right foot up on the ottoman to stretch it out hurts! Ortho said I need 0 degrees for a normal gait, so I'll persevere. 

The nursing staff at rehab was - interesting. I was there 10 days, and only one nurse looked at my ID bracelet! Two times a nurse tried to give me the wrong narcotic, and once they handed me someone else's labelled eyedrops. What set me off totally was the day I was told that I didn't have a 6 a.m. med. When the day nurse came in with my synthroid, which nights never signed out, and my vicodin, and handed them to me, I went off. 

I said "You are handing me a narcotic and you have no idea who I am! You did not look at my bracelet, or at least ask my name! That's Nursing 101." Her response was to ask if my room # was correct on the bracelet (the one she didn't look at) and the answer was no.

Patient relations made her daily visit, and I told her of my concern. She went right to the nurse manager, who later came to see me. She started out defensive- rehab is different, the nurses know their patients, yada yada. I called her on it- it was several nurses, who didn't know me at all, handing me narcs and cardiac meds. By the end of our conversation she was planning refreshers for her staff in proper procedure and giving them all letters about what happened. 

The day I was discharged, the nurse manager walked out with us. She told me she was cringing inside as a nurse when I told her what was happening. One of those things she assumed her staff was doing correctly, and was horrified to find out they weren't. She assured me there would be changes made, and she seemed quite sincere. I hope she follows thru, before there is a catastrophe. 

And now I'm going back to bed. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Home again!

After two weeks away, I'm home with my new right knee! I had no cold symptoms at the hospital, so the surgery was done. It took less than 2 hours! I understand it's a very bloody surgery, another reason that I didn't want to watch one on you-tube. 

I had a dressing from thigh to foot, which got annoying real fast. It was on til Saturday morning. Wednesday was a space in and out day. Thursday I couldn't stay awake, and I realized why when they said they substituted another beta blocker for one of my meds. I refused that, and my head cleared and I woke up by the end of Thursday. I had a nerve block that kept the knee mostly pain free for the first 24 hours, then I was on morphine, which I only used once. Vicodin was the drug of choice for the pain. 

Physical Therapy got me upright on Thursday, but I felt like I would vomit, so they put me right back down. Friday I was able to get up to a commode with assistance and a walker, and PT walked me about 8 feet in the morning, and about 15 feet later. 

Saturday PT showed me how to move my dead weight leg in the bed, and I walked about 30 feet with the walker. I felt like I did so much! Saturday evening I was transferred to rehab 

Sunday I was evaluated by PT at the rehab, and was able to walk to the bathroom with the walker. PT really wanted me to wait for an aide, but as I told them, I'd put on the light, go the the bathroom, and be back in bed before anyone showed up to help. 

I worked hard in PT and OT. As I told them, I was there to be able to get out, not to screw around. I did everything they instructed me to. I could see daily improvements. Yesterday they said I might be able to get a few more rehab days, but I was ready to come home. I will get home PT and OT til I can easily transport to outpatient. 

The outer part of my leg started out one big bruise, which is now mostly resolved. The 29 staples came out yesterday, and I can get it wet tomorrow. It still feels like there is a tight band around my knee area, and that area is hypersensistive to the touch. I have to work on flexion and extention. I can flex better than extend at this point. 

I'm so glad to be home~