Simple Simon says “Take Two Steps Back!”

My goodness how I hated playing Simple Simon as a kid.  I always seemed to be messing up, which meant I was the one who was out first.  I’d like to tell you that it was because even as  a child I was a rebel, the one who refused to take orders, but in fact I was the one who just could not pay attention long enough to actually win one single game.  Now that I am well into my fifties I can still say the taking two steps back simply sucks!  I know that this is a brash way to put it, but how can you sugar coat a steps taken backward?

Simple Simon says “Take 2 steps backward”–In the summer of last year I had bilateral total knee replacement surgery.  It was a huge decision to make, but considering the fact that the bones in each knee were meeting and rubbing against each other every time I moved made the decision a little easier.  I was so tired of being unable to walk, get up from a chair, or even roll over in bed without pain.  When I received shots of cortisone my knees felt like they did as a child and my quality of life had improved immensely. Unfortunately in 2-3 weeks the pain returned and my spirits just seemed to sink lower into the abyss.  The decision was made and surgery was completed.

Simple Simon says “Take 3 steps forward” — I worked hard during my recovery, which was long and pretty tough at times, but I needed to push on, suck up the pain, and get better.  After 8 weeks I returned to work and life resumed at our normal fast pace.

Simple Simon says “Take 2 steps backward”– There was just that one little thing…..the sharp stabbing pain in my right knee that I had when I tried to get up from a low chair during therapy.  I called the doctor and he said that it sounded like a “patellar clunk”, which is scar tissue that catches on the patella when a person goes from a sitting to a standing position.  Well wasn’t that just dandy!

Simple Simon says “Take 2 steps forward”–Arthroscopic surgery was scheduled for December 22nd on an outpatient basis.  Scar tissue removed, no complications, and surgery was deemed a success.  I was told to take it easy, stay off my feet as much as possible and return in 2 weeks.  OOPS…did anyone remember Christmas was coming in 3 days?  My husband and I have 6 children, 2 daughter in-laws, 2 son ♥in-laws, a girlfriend and 3 granddaughters who were depending on us.  Plus 2 huge meals with extended families were scheduled to be held at our home.  I am the ultimate list maker/organizer so I had all of the shopping, gift buying and wrapping, and grocery shopping done before the surgery so the holiday came and went with surprising ease. (it helps to have a husband who will pitch in like a pro without a complaint)

Simple Simon says “Take 3 steps backward”–Two weeks later I return to the doctor.  There is some swelling above my knee near the outer area and they think that some blood may have pooled there.  Easy fix….just stick a huge needle into my knee and try to aspirate the blood.  Do I want to do it?  If not then it will take a long time for the blood to be absorbed into the tissues which is causing a tight feeling in my knee.  I agree and they spray a local anesthetic ( to freeze the skin) and in goes the needle that is attached to a 20 or 30cc syringe.  OMG I am telling you right now that the pain from that needle was horrific, and I swear I am tough.  The bad thing was that apparently the blood had clotted and nothing would aspirate.  I finally told him that was enough and please stop.  A band aid was put in place and I was told to come back in 4 weeks.  This floored me because I was already off for 2 weeks which I thought would be the extent of my time off.  Four more weeks at home, four more weeks away from the job I loved, four more weeks of sick time to be burned up.  Luckily I am seldom sick so I had a good bank of time saved up, but this caught me totally off guard.  After about a week I finally worked it out in my head and realized that this was for the best and settled in for four more weeks at home.

Simple Simon says “Take 4 more steps and a small hop backwards”–Three short days later my knee continues to be swollen and tender, but it’s tolerable.  That morning I went into the bathroom to get ready for the day, only to realize that blood/fluid is shooting out of one of the previous steri stripped areas from having my staples removed.  It took a long time to get the bloody fluid to stop, but finally I was able to clean and dress the area and secure it with an ace wrap, just like they did at the doctors office.  The swelling was almost gone and the pain had subsided.  Perfect, I reasoned, this was the fluid they were trying to aspirate the other day, and I went on with my day.  By bedtime that day my right knee is once again swollen and the pain has increased.  I limp off to bed only to realize that I can’t get comfortable.  After tossing and turning I decide to try to get up and sit in the recliner.  I actually took 2 pain pills (not much of a pain pill fan) but by 3am I realize things are spiraling downward and we decide I go to the emergency room then perhaps they can drain it again.  The wait was surprisingly short and the ER Doc comes in, asks a few questions and proclaims that  “This is a surgical knee and I won’t touch it!”, “You should have called your doctor instead of coming in here”, “I will give you some pain pills and wrap your knee and run some blood tests but you need to follow-up with your surgeon!” At this point I have had no sleep, I am in pain and I just look at her and tell her “Never mind, we will just go home because I don’t need pain pills and I won’t pay for any blood work” and at 5am we are on our way home.

Simple Simon says “Take 6 more steps, a cha-cha, and a huge bunny hop backwards”–We were hosting our family Christmas that day at noon so we try to get a few hours sleep and begin the preparation for the dinner.  There actually was very little to do since we did most of the prep work the day before, so we welcomed 18 people for lunch.  Unfortunately as the day goes on I am drooping more and more and by 1pm I have a 101 fever.  This time my husband has my surgeon paged and together they decide I need to return to the ER, and either he or his PA will meet us there.  So with a house full of guests we leave the kids in charge of handing out presents and off we go. I get streamlined right in since they know I am coming and the PA meets us.  Once again he tries to aspirate the fluid that seems to be on my knee.  This time there is no spray to freeze my skin so we decide to use some Lidocaine first.  The problem is that this time I know what to expect, but the thought of some relief overcame my dread.  My husband parks himself on my left and let me squeeze his hand as the PA is trying to get something, ANYTHING, out of me knee.  The pain was even worse than the last aspiration, but he was able to get about 5cc of fluid out.  At least there was something to sent to the lab so we could see just what we were dealing with.  I am then discharged to go home with a referral to see another surgeon in the practice that deals with “complications.”   I’d love to say that this is the end of the story, but it’s just the beginning of another adventure. I’ve played the game of Simple Simon and I have now taken a small and huge bunny hop, a cha-cha, and 19 steps back, with the question being “When can I begin taking just a few steps forward?”  ♥




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