Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Update

Just about a month ago, I had my knee replacement. It's hard to believe...I never realized just how painful pain could be. I never realized how much one surgery could totally drain one's energy. I never realized how much I took walking for granted.

Over the past couple weeks, my knee has been healing quite well and my physical therapist tells me I'm making great strides in my recovery. As I'm typing, I'm sitting cross legged, something he told me he's never seen a knee replacement patient do so soon after surgery, yay! Now, having my leg complely extended is another story.... I learned new words, or at least different meanings for words I already knew. Some of them I don't even remember right now...thanks, meds!

Bending my knee, I can get it to at least 135* or more. Therapists consider it great if one can bend their knee to 120* within the first month. My extension went from 15* to 7* in the past week. The goal is 0*, although that doesn't often happen.

However, with the great strides that I've been making in what I'm able to accomplish, my knee still reminds me there is alot of healing ahead. If I stand on it or walk around for more than 30 minutes, the knee (actually, my leg bone and the new joint) swells up....and I'm in major pain for the next 24 hours or so. If I sit up "regular" in a chair for more than an hour, the same thing happens. It's frustrating, having to do things in little bits and spurts.

I'm also walking quite a bit without my walker (although I haven't been "released" from my doctor yet, so I'm not supposed to!)...and I'm often walking with little to no limp. But...just as often, it feels like my knee is going to buckle on me.

Those who know me know that it's hard for me to just take things easy and go slow. And I often over do it, but I am very greatful to my friends who are still occasionally bringing us meals so I don't have to clomp around and find something to fix. I'm also very thankful for my friend Diane (Hi Diane! I know you'll be reading this soon!) who still comes over once or twice a week to help catch up laundry, vacuuming, dishes, and light cleaning.

It's also been hard not going in to the market ( lately, and especially on Pumpkin Party Saturdays. I miss them! But I also know that if I venture in, I won't be able to help myself with getting busy there and will regret it for days. Thanks, Barb and Andy, for taking care of things so well!

So...please keep up the prayers. And the encouragement. And phone calls. They are really appreciated. While I've made great strides, it's still a long road of recovery ahead. Oh yay.

Please also remember a friend's little girl, Cora (age 5), who messed up her leg pretty bad shortly after my surgery and is in a wheelchair right now. And the long list of others who recently also had knee/joint replacement or are soon going to.

Love ya all!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Hard to believe I've been home almost a week now! Okay, since my last update, here's what's been going on:

I was scheduled to go home from the hospital Sunday afternoon and was really looking forward to it! But I woke up Sunday feeling quite muddle-headed, really out of it. The nurses actually woke me at 8:00 and I fell asleep again only to have them wake me again at 10:00. As I was in the restroom a few minutes later, I started shaking on the right side, first my hand then arm then everything on the right side...couldn't talk without stuttering...and that quickly got worse, too. The nurse got me back to bed and then doctors started coming in. I couldn't stop shaking and the stuttering just got worse where I could barely speak...but I was thinking clearly (albeit wondering what in the world was happening to me). The internal medicine doctor came and told them to get me off all the narcotics and soon after a psych intern came and started asking me all kinds of questions. I fell asleep again, it was around 1:00, and when I woke up about two hours later, the shaking was gone and the stuttering was just about gone....then the head of the psych department came. Meanwhile, they had started me on two different pain meds, Celebrex (anti-inflammatory) and Tramadol (pain). I felt NO pain (still had pain with the narcotics). After a 30-minute or so talk with the psych guy, he told me it was one of three things: medication, anxiety, or trauma. Well, DUH! I asked him if HE thought I was crazy and he told me based on our talk, he believes I'm clearly sane (so THERE!)....and seemed to lean towards the meds.

It was scary...not knowing what was going on, wondering if I was having a stroke or worse. Thankfully, it does seem like everything cleared up when the meds were changed...and honestly, the new combo works much better. So much better in fact, that I overdid it that night. Tony and the kids came to visit, and before they got there, I took what to me was a long walk, sat in the chair for 90 minutes when they were there, then had that leg thingy on that bends my knee for me -- for over an hour at a pretty high angle. No pain...but then the exhaustion hit!

After having a good morning on Monday, the doctor confirmed that I could go home finally...I'd been there for a full week! It was a rough ride home -- 90 minutes in a pretty uncomfortable position but no way to get more comfortable. What I've come to realize even more this week is that this is going to be a loooooong healing process! It was good to be home, familiar surroundings, see the kids, and settle in. Thankfully, going down stairs is easier than going up, and I'm settled downstairs for a few weeks.

One benefit (?) to the pain I had in the hospital and problems with medications is that I was authorized to have home health care, so a therapist comes in three times a week and I have three nurse visits over the first two weeks I'm home. That isn't usual, so I'm very thankful to have it.

It's been a very humbling week for me. I didn't realize just how traumatic this would be to my body physically. While I don't have alot of pain any more, each day is getting better, the simplest things wear me out beyond exhaustion. I've been in tears many times because walking to the bathroom, a very short distance, makes me so physically tired. A few days, I've had to get lunch for the kids, and being on my feet for ten short minutes makes me hurt and tired beyond belief. The kids have been fairly understanding through this, but it's hard on them, too. By Thursday, we were all ready for a break, and I thank God for my home school friend Sara who called to see what I needed. I told her I need my kids out of the house, occupied, distracted, something! So she brought her twins (right between Luke & Susanna's ages) over the next day along with lunch. The kids went crazy, and she helped my dear friend Diane who had come over to help with house keeping. And overall, the kids have been doing well, trying to help, make me feel better, things like that. My first day home, Susanna spent two hours painting my nails...with literally 15 different colors. They're quite interesting.... She also loves to rub lotion on my feet and give me "foot massages." She's my "ice" girl, getting ice packs when I need them, and Luke is my "foot boy," helping put my foot on the couch or pillow when I can't lift it. They love to get me things to drink, and when I'm on my feet getting meals for them, they'll bring the food over to me since I can't get it myself.

My poor husband. He's been trying his best to keep up with general things around the house along with everything at the farm. There are times we go several days with dishes piling up in the kitchen...I can't walk without the walker, and I can't stand/move for any length of time, so I can't get the dishes stacked or unloaded from the dish washer. With my limited movement and the walker, I can't even get into the laundry room! Luke has been complaining that he's running out of clean underwear!

When Diane came over Friday to help clean, she took one look at my kitchen and said "well, I guess I'll be starting on the dishes!" Then she turned around and said "and the laundry as well!" She got so much accomplished, and between her and Sara, the house (or at least the basement...although I'm sure upstairs is good, too!) looks so much better. That helps me relax more, because I go crazy looking at the things piling up in the kitchen and on the carpet..then get up and try to do things and end up even more worn out! I'm also thankful for my in-laws who have done some grocery shopping for us, and my dear sister-in-law who brought McDonald's for us...and got some birthday presents for the party the kids are going to. Another sister-in-law brought me Chinese food today, yum!

Yes, I now realize my limitations, and I am going to push to the point of where my therapist thinks I should...but not beyond. There is no way I want to go thru knee surgery again any time soon!

I am thankful, too, for those who have been providing meals for us. Between three suppers brought to us each week and friends every once in awhile dropping by with lunch, it has really given me relief as I don't have to worry so much about taking care of meals for my family.

On a totally different subject, I am so thankful our pumpkin parties have been doing well. Last week, we had a record turn out for a non-MEA weekend (MEA is a weekend in Minnesota where all the schools are closed for three days; it is our busiest Saturday of the year). This week was even better. I ache wanting to be at the market, helping with the pumpkin parties, talking with customers, seeing my kiddos working in the wagon ride skits (yes, both of them are in the skit this year!). I miss seeing Tony playing the banjo, launching the pumpkin propeller, and just the crowds in general. But again, I am very thankful God provided us with such excellent employees. I started crying today when I talked with Andy Thompson, thanking him for all his work. Between him, Barb Melheim, Bria Wolff, and Joy Haataja, they've been keeping up with everything at the market, especially on Saturdays. Kelly Schanelic has been doing his usual wonderful job in the concession stand. With them working, I honestly am not worried about how things are going, if things are falling behind, whatever. They've been keeping up with everything wonderfully! And Tony has a great crew in the back, too.

Sometime in the next week, I'll try to start uploading some photos that have been accumulating over the past year. I'll also try to post photos of the lovely flowers I've received from my in-laws Paul and Lori, Al and Carla, Beth, and my friends Barb and Diane. We've got quite the collection going downstairs! Susanna has informed me that any flowers I don't want, she'll gladly take for me...and when I'm tired of the balloons, she'll gladly take those, too!

Thank you all for the continued prayers. Keep 'em coming...they're valued, treasured, and needed! I'm also not able to get emails right now as our main computer with the emails are if you send me an email and don't hear back, you'll know why!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where things are now....

So Tuesday Tony, the kids, and I showed up at Sanford South (formerly MerrittCare) in Fargo so I could have knee replacement surgery. Pain had been pretty bad for quite awhile, leaving it close to impossible for me to walk at times. Surgery went well, and the nurses said that for ones, Dr. Nelsen did a very straight (but long!) cut. I was pretty out of it for most of Tuesday, but then the femoral block they did to numb the leg wore off about 3 a.m.....oh, the agony! I used to think I knew what a 10 was on the pain scale. Believe me, I had no clue! They gave me morphine and a few other things that helped some, and I did a bit of PT Wednesday morning, but then they gave me a second femoral block....and couldn't get the pain under control for the rest of the day. I had some major problems going on for almost all of Wednesday and most of Thursday, but they finally found the right combo of meds for me -- oxy cotin and percoset....but it knocks me out! I did find out though how effective it is....when I woke up at 3:00 am today to use the restroom -- no one wanted to wake me up to give me pain meds (she's sleeping peacefully!), so I had nothing in my system when I got up, OUCH!!!!! It took quite a bit of time to get the pain under control again!

Today, however, has been better. I've learned how to get into and out of the car (believe me, that won't be happening much for awhile!); walked about 100 feet (HUGE accomplishment!), did my therapy, and YAY! took a shower. All before noon. And I am exhausted.

I'm frustrated. How am I going to handle this when I get home? Just going to the bathroom takes everything out of me (haha). There are times I just cry from the are the kids going to be able to handle that? I can't even get UP to go to the bathroom by myself, because I can't lift my leg by myself. When they took out that second block, the front of my leg, from knee to ankle, went numb. They assure me that happens, and everything should be back to normal by bed time tonight. We'll see. Meanwhile, I honestly can't lift up my leg, even a fraction of an inch by myself.

People have asked about the food. It's surprisingly good. I can order whatever I want from the menu whenever I want. I had raspberry fritter french toast for breakfast this morning with crispy hashbrowns, yum! Yesterday, I had talapia with citrus butter, scalloped potatoes, and green beans....and for supper, I had toasted cheese with a tossed salad and oven-baked french fries. Earlier today, I had roast beef and gravy, some more of the really yummy scalloped potatoes and green beans. Oh, and for dessert, I alternate between lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and rainbow sherbet (which is a delicious night time snack! I'll have to have Tony pick some up so it's waiting for me at home...). Other options available are chicken alfredo, just about any kind of sandwhich you can imagine, several kinds of soup, roast turkey, hamburgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, mandarin chicken salad, southwestern chicken salad, lasagna, stir fry, rotisserie chicken, and much more. Breakfast options include many kinds of hot and cold cereals, alot of fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, cinnamon or caramel rolls, build your own omlet, scrambled or fried eggs, eggs benedict, biscuit and gravy, and even more. So the food is actually quite delicious! isn't home cooking :(

It's been kinda lonely here. We live two hours away, so I haven't expected Tony and the kids would be able to visit. My good friends Chuck and Judy stopped by, though! They surprised me on Thursday. "Brownie" on Wednesday, but I didn't get to see her as I was getting the second block put in. i've had some phone calls, although there are times i'm just not retaining what I'm hearing (sorry!). Flowers from my dear sister-in-law Lori arrived to my room about an hour after I did.

Continue to pray for me. I battle with discouragement...not knowing how in the world we'll be able to handle things at home. We're going to need ALOT of help, not just meals and light cleaning. Help with the kids, I'm going to need help with every day things that I didn't expect I'd not be able to do. I'll be house bound for awhile -- even therapy will be coming to me for awhile. Pray for me, for pain and for me to heal quickly...but pray for the kids, too, that they'll be able to deal with all the changes that will be going on, that they'll be able to handle seeing me when I'm in pain...or when I'm zonked out. Pray for Tony that he'll be able to handle things, too, on top of all the farm stuff. And...DON'T LAUGH!...pray that I can get to the bathroom when I need to without too much pain!

Thank you all for your continued prayers. Please understand when I don't process other things you tell me right now. There is so much I'm trying to take in right now, and it's difficult. I know so much other stuff is happening, but I can't focus on it right now. It is hard enough focusing on one minute from the next with this healing and therapy. I can't handle much other stuff right now.

But on that note....I do want to say BIG congratulations to Tony's dear niece, Mary Joy, and her husband Jim, on the birth of their darling daughter earlier today! Paul and Lori are officially grandparents, and my in-laws are great-grandparents!!!!!