FOOD FOR THE SOUL
With Simple Simon breathing down my neck I make my next move and visit the surgeon who will take care of me now. I am aware that there are 2 procedures that I am now facing. One is where he will cut open my knee and clean up the infection by cutting away any infected tissue, repairing, and then flushing out my knee with copious amounts of fluid. The second scenario is that he will take out the 7 month old hardware, place a spacer in there and then reopen the knee in 6 weeks and place in new hardware. With either scenario I will be on IV antibiotics for 4-6 weeks. Now at this point I am very discouraged because this time around I know what’s coming. I know how difficult and trying the recovery will be, and the thought of IV therapy almost puts me in a whole other state of panic. So 3 days after my ER visit my husband and I are sitting in the exam room waiting for my sentencing. The surgeon arrives and begins….lab work shows that my infection is strep in nature (the same strep that is on our skin), the culture shows that this bug is susceptible to all antibiotics (which means theoretically the infection will respond well to any antibiotics), he will need to perform surgery as soon as we can schedule it, and I will need to be on IV antibiotic for 4-6 weeks, then oral antibiotics for an unknown amount of time. At this point the strong woman that is usually inside my soul is now broken down and is replaced with a hopeless and desperate soul. I begin to break down and then I see my husbands face and realize I’m not in this alone so I take a deep breath and brace myself. At that point we schedule surgery for the following Monday.
The surgery is performed and I am pleased that the pain is not as intense as the initial knee replacement. He had to cut away inflamed tissue, replaced the loose prosthesis in my tibia, and placed a larger spacer because he had to cut away some of the bone. At this point bone samples are sent to pathology and hopefully a repeat surgery will not be needed. This time the main objective is not physical therapy, but creating a plan to clear up this infection. I am seen by a specialist who will take over my antibiotic treatment both in the hospital and at home. On day 3 they insert a PICC line and on day 4 I am sent home to begin recovery. Home health is scheduled, the toilet seat is replaced with a raised seat , the CPM machine is in place on the bed in the spare bedroom, and the ice packs are ready in the freezer, and the extra pillows are put into the recliner to avoid too much pain from getting into a standing position. After arriving home we realize we left the walker in the hospital room, but I realize that I really don’t even need it.
My first visit with the home health nurse was stressful to say the least. I am supposed to give myself the antibiotics 3 times a day, as equally spaced out as possible (give or take an hour either way) and I chose 6am, 2pm and 10pm. Unfortunately the nurse made her visit at 10am so my first dose will be done without her supervision. She gives me directions, which I write down, and she assures me that in a week this will be “easy as pie.” At 2pm I followed my written instruction and successfully gave myself the first dose. The scary thing is that this catheter is inside my body 43 inches and is resting right outside my heart, and being a nurse a million scenarios are going through my mind. One thing I have come to realize is that you can be a nurse by profession but once you are the patient or the patients loved one, your knowledge will either help or hinder you. The physical therapist visits 2 times a week and I reach my goals of a 120 degree bend and zero when the leg is stretched out, by the end of week 4.
It has now been 5 weeks and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The depression that hit me like a ton a bricks is leaving, I can once again lift my leg into the shower, lift it into the bed, put on my shoes and socks, and am almost pain free except when I go from a sitting to standing position. I can walk up stairs foot over foot and can go down the same way if I have 2 rails to hold onto. I can do the IV therapy in my sleep, and the old toilet seat is back in place. I have stored the walker in the basement and have less than 1 week left of house arrest, when I can return to the job I love and have missed for almost 2 months. I have found out that my very supportive husband knows how to step up to the plate! He has wrapped my arm before each shower so the PICC line does not get wet, has put on my shoes and socks as if I was 2 years old, held me when I needed to cry, and helped me clean up when the antibiotic wreaked havoc on my stomach and I would lose my meals. I will never forget the night he made me laugh out loud and he just smiled and said “It’s so good to hear you laugh again honey!” I realize that with every challenge that God has given me he has placed the people in my life to help me through this difficult time. I also realize that the list of these wonderful people is long and priceless, from our Pastor and his wife, to the friends that have sent cards, visited, sent words of encouragement, and my wonderful husband and children.
So Simple Simon, I have taken back all of the bunny hops, and lost steps I have taken backwards and this train is now moving forward. It is my hope that this will be my last game I play in awhile! ♥
FOOD FOR THE BODY
Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles
1 Large can cream of chicken soup
1 Large can chicken broth
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 stick of butter
Place all ingredients in the crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the chicken is done.
Shred the chicken and place back into the broth
Season with salt, pepper, garlic power, onion powder (the list is endless, up to you)
Turn up to HIGH and add enough of the Amish style noodles (thicker ones) to the point they are covered by the broth, and cook for 1 hour.
After an hour stir and enjoy.
I know I’ve included this one in the past, but it is so yummy and easy that I wanted to share it again!