My New Knees…Take One!

Twelve days ago I went into the hospital at 11 o’clock and was taken back at about 2:30 for my surgery.  The surgery was expected to last 3 hours, minimum, since I was having both knees replaced.  My expectation was that I would blog at the end of every day in order to be able to describe things such as pain level, therapies that were done, etc….I am here to tell you that BOY I WAS WRONG!  I took a notebook as a back up and figured that I could write in it daily and then transpose my notes into a nice little daily blog.  Twelve days later I  think I remember writing in the book, but for the life of me I can’t even tell you if the book is unpacked yet!  Life as I knew it is no longer a possibility….now my life consists of physical therapy exercises 3 times a day, laying in the spare bedroom in the 2 CPM machines that I am renting, and/or sitting in the recliner with the Game Ready Ice machine flowing cold water and soft compression through the binders that I strap on both knees.

Sleep is a suggestion at this point…last night we went to bed at 10.  After tossing and turning, propping and unpropping my legs with pillows, turning to my right, then to my left, then on my back, until I finally figured out by 1am that sleep will be evasive.  I have these pads that my husband straps around my calves every night and they alternately squeeze throughout the night to prevent blood clots.  The problem with these squeezers is that every time I move, they slide down to my ankles.  Talk about frustration!  At 1 am last night I unhooked the squeezers and went to the bathroom to figure out a way to shave my wooly legs, then back to bed by 1:40.  At 2:30 I still couldn’t find a way to lay without pain so off go the squeezers and to the kitchen I head.  Perhaps a snack will help me sleep?  All I can carry is a small bag of cashews, so I gingerly carry them back to the bedroom, put on my squeezers and sit propped up next to my peacefully sleeping husband to eat the cashews.  By 4 I have now moved into every conceivable position with no relief so all that’s left to do is cry. DId I mention that tears come quite easily?  Finally I just prop up, adjust the freakin squeezers for the 400th time, and close my eyes.  3 hours later I feel a warm hand reach for mine and realize I slept.

My 16 year old daughter Maddie has become my right hand gal.  She now knows how to strap on my binders, strap me into the CPM machines, does the laundry on a daily basis, hauls me to physical therapy 3 days a week, and has assumed the responsibilities that I can no longer do.  I depend on a walker to get from room to room, although I got in trouble from her because the other morning I was in the bathroom and the walker was in the bedroom.  She scolded me like I was 4….and she had every right to do it.  I think I have experienced every emotion known to man, and I am humble enough to say that I am not as tough as I had previously believed.  My husband, who has been my rock, comes home from work, peeking into the room to see which Shelly will be sitting in the chair. Or should I just change my name to Sybil….I know I have discovered as many personalities as she had.  The tears come at the drop of a hat, and I just want to be left alone in a dark room to feel sorry for myself.  This is where my support system comes to my rescue. They won’t let me feel sorry for myself, they encourage me, they will hug me if I need it, or they will just leave me alone when I need time to work out my feelings.  Having both knees done at the same time means that it is hard to get away from the pain, but down the road I will be happy I had this done. Plus, you can bet your sweet bippy that I would not return to have a second one done had I chose to go that route.  No way!  I don’t write this to scare anyone off, because I am sure in a month I will be singing a different tune for sure.  This has by far been the hardest thing I have done in my life, and that includes giving birth to 4 children without drugs….but when I am healed and life is back to normal I will reflect back and be proud of what I have done.  I am going to find my notebook and read through the notes that I wrote in a drug induced haze and will begin the real story of this adventure.   Thanks for reading!

Here We Go…

The day has arrived.  I have finished all of the requirements to get to this day.  I have had my physical, my EKG, my blood work, and my pre-op appointment with the surgeon.  I have gone to the “Loan Closet” and secured a walker with gliders on the front and wheels on the back, a raised toilet seat, and a quad cane.  I have been to the grocery store and filled not only the fridge in the kitchen, but also the “shopping fridge” (as we call it) in the garage, and all 3 freezers in the basement.  I think at some point I have confused being laid up for a few weeks for a possible apocalypse?  The laundry is all caught up thanks to the 16 year old beautiful child that lives with us, folded and neatly put away by momma.  The house is clean, although I will vacuum before I leave (just so I feel better)!  I made taco and BBQ and we put that in the freezer for quick meals.  Madison is ready to be the “woman of the house” with one condition….she will NOT make roasted cauliflower!  My husband and ROCK is in the shower and will be making me a piece of dry toast that I will savor and enjoy in a few minutes. (he spoils me with breakfast every morning)

So by 12:30 I will hopefully be wheeled back to the surgical suite and Dr. Norris will begin the process that will greatly improve my mobility and give me some relief.  I told him to be sure that he gets a good nights rest before today and he just smiled.  I have asked for prayers from my friends and I know that God will be standing right behind the surgeon with his hands guiding him every step of the way.  We will be going to his office before the hospital so that my knees can be marked (although this confuses me since both are being done) but who am I to question?  My heart warms at the thought of family members that will spend a loooonnnngggg day waiting, because I know for a fact it is easier to be the patient instead of the one waiting.  I have been blessed beyond anything I had ever envisioned.  And when I get discouraged I will remember those who have supported me and will push on.  My motto will continue to be “If God Brings You To It, He Will Bring You Through It!” I GOT THIS!!!!!!!! ♥♥♥

My New Knees

Untitled                                                                       MY NEW KNEES

In less than 12 hours I will check into the hospital, they will put me to sleep, and I will wake up with not one, but two new knees.  Two knees that are composed of metal and plastic.  They will replace the ones that God gave me over 56 years ago. They will replace knees that I have not taken the best care of.  I have worked as a nurse for over 30 plus years which means walking millions of miles.  I have also carried more weight on my knees then they could handle.  It’s funny because when you are in your 20’s and overweight you think this day will never come.  Well it is about to come for me.  One way that I handle stress is to write, and write and write.  So I am going to blog about these 2 new knees and perhaps I can give insight into what goes through a persons head and what happens to their body going through this process.

I have had some type of knee pain and stiffness for about 15 years but it was tolerable.  About 2 years ago I got to the point that the pain was just becoming a nuisance.  I could not kneel down to scrub the floors, and I could not bend them enough to squat, a movement that most people take for granted.  Taking the laundry to the basement was a feat in itself.  I am so glad that there is a very secure railing because I have become very dependent on it.  I go up and down the stairs one at a time, with both feet being on the same stair before going up or down another one.  When the laundry was done I lift the basket up 2 steps then lean on it to walk up 2 stairs, over and over until I reach the top.  Getting in and out of the car was just torture, not to mention getting off of the couch or chair.  My husband would lovingly extend his hand to help me get up.  Now for most women this would be fine, but to me it showed weakness, and I was not raised to be weak.  I was the one bringing up the rear when a group was walking, being teased because I couldn’t keep up, all the time thinking “If you even had a clue how much pain I was in maybe you would be a little more tolerant”. At the end of the day it feels like both of my knee joints are loose and sometimes changing positions in bed can result in excruciating pain as I try to gently move so that they won’t pop out of place. (although I am not sure this could happen) I truly try not to complain, but sometimes the pain catches me by surprise and I will moan or even say “ouch” or something that shouldn’t be written down. I am looking at chairs and couches before sitting down to determine if I can get up without making a spectacle of myself. I have that “old lady” walk where instead of that “swing of the hips”  I have the hobble that looks like one leg is shorter than the other.  About 2 years ago I began going to a wonderful orthopedic doctor and after some x-rays it was determined that my knees were basically “bone on bone” with some bone spurs throw in for good measure.  Now I understood that when it felt like there was a “catch” when trying to bend my knees, there actually was a bone spur (which is a “bony nub” that grow on the end of a bone) hooked on the end of one of the other bones and I was forcing it to move past the area where it was caught. Treatment began with Cortisone injections in my right knee.  For 10 days I felt like I was a teenager.  There was no pain and nothing to stop me from doing whatever I wanted.  The bad part about feeling pain free is that you crash when you wake up and that first step has the hint of what is to come.  Then we moved on to  SYNVISC which is like artificial synovial fluid, which I no longer have to cushion the joints.  This helped about 8 weeks, but not as well as the cortisone.  Then it was a second SYNVISC in the right and one in the left (which is now gotten worse because I have favored it because the right hurts)  This time the relief was for about 2 months and then I endured the pain for another 6 months until I just went in and said “I’ve had enough!” I have questioned the option on new knees for quite awhile and Dr. Norris said that one day I will know when the time is right because I will become so tired of constant pain and the limits that bad knees put on my life.

So tomorrow is the day that I am looking forward to with both excitement and fear. Will I be able to tolerate the pain, although they say that it is a different kind of pain? Will I be strong and resilient enough to continue with the physical therapy, even thought it will increase the pain? As everyone knows, doctors and nurses are the worse patients, so will I push those away who want to help and support me? As I was discussing my fears with my husband he just looked at me and said “Just think of those people like my brother (who died of esophageal cancer) who can’t get rid of the pain. At least you will heal and the pain will go away!” Boy oh boy what a shot in the arm that was. So I promise to follow directions, even though I don’t want to move. I promise to be kind to those around me who just want to offer help, and I promise to keep writing about this journey….the good, the bad and the ugly!

If These Walls Could Talk

Yesterday I put my house up for sale.  It amazed me what emotions came up and bit me in the behind the moment I finished talking to the realtor.  I thought I was prepared…apparently I wasn’t.  In order to bring everyone up to speed, I need to go back a few months ago when I married the man of my dreams (at the ripe old age of 56) and moved into his home.  Whose house to live in wasn’t really an issue.  Since my house was 2 stories and his was a ranch, he figured going up the stairs would just get harder as we aged, so here we are in his house.  The hard part was.. we both lived in the homes where we were previously married to other people and raised our children. Each home was filled with memories that will never go away…each home was filled with possessions that were amassed during long marriages….and  we both have adult children that were trying to adjust, his children getting used to seeing a different woman in their house, and mine having to give up the home they were raised in.  I think it would have been easier to just sell our houses and purchase something together, a blank slate, so to speak, where new memories could be made.  In the end  I respect my husband and know that at our age it makes no sense to start over with a new mortage…etc….so here we are.

In order to get the house ready to sell we have been doing work to fix the things that I should have had fixed, but found difficult to do as a single mom and homeowner.  A few months ago I finished cleaning up after the painters left and just sat on the stairs and listened to the silence.  As I let my mind wander I was flooded with memories and sounds and smells.  My ex-husband and I bought the house in 1985 or 1986 (I have always been awful with dates) when our 2 oldest were about 4 and 6.  They loved having a big yard to play in, and the neighborhood was chock full of kids.  Later we brought home 2 more babies who grew up and called the house a home.  They have all grown up and moved away, except my youngest daughter, who is 15 and has begun this adventure right by mommas side, trying to adjust to these new digs.  My husband has converted a wonderful room in the basement, complete with cable, a new tv, dvd player and a DVR (which I had no idea what that was, but she was excited!)

The mind is an amazing part of the body and it is funny how as I sit back and recall the years in that house, I only remember the good and happy times.  I can close my eyes and picture giving the newborn babies baths in the kitchen sink, drying them off and dressing them on the dining room table, never forgetting to lotion them down with Baby Magic. Then there were the tub baths, usually with multiple kids at once because momma had 400 other things to do at the same time.  I would sit on the  toilet (with the lid closed..sheesh) and they would get out one by one to get dried off, powdered, hair brushed, pj’s on and head downstairs for a little tv and a bedtime snack.  I always knew that I could have a little extra time in my day when they could bathe themselves. Unfortunately by the time they could take a bath alone, they were growing up  at the same time.

Now came the memories of the sibling fights, the refusals to share, the fears of thunderstorms and tornados, the broken bones, the stitches, the calls to poison control, the surgeries, the toothaches, the “I hate you mom”,  the “I can do it myself MOM!”, the “I love you mom”.  The house was always messy, no matter how much I straightened it up, and it was never quiet, except after midnight. There was endless laundry and  endless dishes. to be washed.  Then right before my eyes new memories were made as they grew older.  Now it was broken hearts, broken friendships, letting them leave  town with another teenager behind the wheel, letting them leave town with THEM behind the wheel, the same clutter, except now the pile of shoes at the door are bigger in size.  There are endless stops at the grocery store and there always seemed to be an extra kid at the dinner table.  There are proms, musicals, plays, football games, volleyball games, piano lessons, pom poms,  tumbling, band concerts, bicycles, chorus concerts, speech competitions, pools, scholastic bowl meets, weight lifting, homecoming dances, senior nights, confirmations, brownie scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, boy scouts, almost Eagle scouts,  first jobs, senior pictures, front porch swinging,  graduations from preschool, eight grade, high school, college, moving somebody out in the fall and back in the spring, singing around the piano at night, sand boxes, countless birthday parties, getting to choose their birthday meal and favorite cake, tricycles, sleepovers, baseball in the front yard, bake sales, swing sets, homework, science fair projects, weddings, grandbabies, saying goodbye, praying everyday for their safe returns from  somewhere as close as the town over, to far away places like Europe, Iraq and Korea.

Yep, if these walls could talk they would tell the story of one crazy family that that fought, laughed and loved throughout the years.  And soon  perhaps there will be a new family in the house making  new memories, just as my adult children have  turned  their ‘houses” into “homes”, and my daughter, new husband and I will  make new ones here!  Its true, home is where the heart is and there is a difference between a house and a home.  Plus, a few months ago one of my oldest daughters friends told me…..”Your house always smelled like cookies when I would come over!”  This brings a smile to my face and that lump in my throat is gone!

IS MY TIARA ON STRAIGHT?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

cakecentral

  My daughter (number 3 as I call her since I seem to call her every other siblings name) has now been a newlywed for 3 months.  They have returned from their dream honeymoon cruising the Hawaiian Islands.  Daryl has accepted a new job with a new company.  Katelyn has returned to her job as a correctional nurse, and they have settled into their roles of husband and wife, tossing aside the old titles of boyfriend and girlfriend.  They have moved in with her father and his wife while they are saving money for a down payment on a home they are buying in February.  All in all, life is rolling along as it should be.  I have begun dating a wonderful man, which now involves “running” every weekend, here and there, with each weekend being a new adventure. Since Katelyn and I work together, every Monday we share with each other how our weekends went, where we had gone, etc.  After our share session this week she pouted and said “Wow, you guys are old and are doing more than we do.  We just sit and watch movies at home or go out to eat once in awhile!”  I told her that we are just in the dating phase that they were in 2 years ago, and quite frankly…HA HA HA….NANA NANA BOO BOO!!!!
Monday morning she came  into work and said that she and “D” had a fight before she came to work.  Of course being the mother bear that I am I was prepared to kick some son-in-law butt.  She then sat down in my office and told me what had happened.  She said that she asked him to go out and start her car in order to warm it up, and he was playing a video game that he couldn’t pause, so he told her he would do it in a minute.  She then became upset because he didn’t jump up and do as she commanded.  She said that she stormed out to the car, while saying a few sailor words, and left for work.  I just looked at her in amazement…and went “WHAT?????…..Kateyln! Shame on you!”  I told her that first off, it was 36 degrees out, so her car didn’t need to be warmed up for 10 minutes, and that her response to him was way out of line.  I went on to tell her that there was no reason that she could not have put on some shoes and start her car if it was that important to her.  She looked at me in stunned silence and informed me that she was a diva and he should have done as she asked.  With that statement came the usual motherly eye roll…except it was the monster of all eye rolls…one that could be mistaken as the start of a seizure…I swear I saw the bottom of my brain from the inside.  Where had this “diva” come from?  Where did she learn such behavior?  I knew that she didn’t learn it from me, as I am as far from a diva as they come.  We all knew that she was a self proclaimed princess….but a diva?

  At this point her co-worker Bonnie joined the conversation and said that her husband starts the car every morning without being asked, so it was fine for Katie to expect it to be done.  They then laughed and joked about being divas as I sat there with this stupid, bewildered look on my face.  Who were these fairy princess women?  Had I truly missed the boat during my former marriage by not declaring myself a diva?  After sitting at my desk contemplating what had just happened, I decided that my next question was “How does one become a diva, or at least a princess?”  So out of my office I go to have this all important question answered.  I then posed the question, and waited for guidance, because now that I was embarking into a new relationship, perhaps I too could be Cinderella instead of Ursela the sea witch?????  My beautiful, educated, funny, and loving daughter answered in all of her blond innocence: “Mom, NO ONE CHOOSES TO BE A PRINCESS….IT CHOOSES YOU!”  I just stood there with a pout on my face as the tiara slowly slipped off of my head and hit the floor with a gently ping….sigh. ♥

FOOD FOR THE BODY  

 Six Minute Caramels

(shared with me by a new friend Jane)

Ingredients:

 1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Directions:

1.  Combine all ingredients.

2.  Cook 6 minutes on a medium high heat, stirring every minute.

3.  Stir and pour into lightly greased dish

 4.  Let cool

5.  Cut, wrap in wax paper & store in an air tight container

Princess Katelyn’s Wedding

somehow I now have an extra blogging page….going to try to include this on my shellys stories page.

My Blog

Food For The Soul

wedding 9/21/2013It’s now been 2 weeks since the event of the year. An event that was in the planning since she was old enough to notice boys. An event that will live in the memories of those who were present to share the event with each other.  Yes, we are talking about the wedding of Princess Katelyn and her new husband Daryl.  This was the wedding in which I was determined to lose 55 by age 55….(perhaps 20 by 55), the event of the century, the event that often times had just a hint of bridezilla bubbling to the surface, the event that every girl dreams of.  I will go on record as saying, as her mother, that she was absolutely beautiful, and appeared to be walking on air the entire evening.  Everything went as planned, except we forgot to unbustle her dress before she walked down the aisle…but she…

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