Monday, January 12, 2009

For sale: Full leg brace and crutches. Cheap!

I had my surgery follow-up doctor's appointment this morning. I got a whole lot of questions answered, learned more about the inside of my knee and, most importantly, got the okay to bend my knee and exchnanged the big, bulky brace for a much more comfortable, flexible brace. I'm cleared to walk around on my own (no crutches) as much as I'm able, go back to work, do upper body and abs work at the gym, drive and resume pretty much my normal life as soon as I'm comfortable doing that. So that's all great news. I still have to wear the brace while I'm up and about, but I don't have to sleep with it. And I'm pretty sure it will fit under most of my pants. And I do still have some swelling in my knee. That's normal and apparently is the last thing to go back to normal. So I'm guessing I'll be doing a lot of elevating and icing of my knee for a while. But, overall, I'm exceedingly happy with the answers that I got and the results so far. Okay, just being able to bend my knee makes me overjoyed. It's the small things. :)

Apparently the surgery that I had was the 85% solution. For 85% of the population, this surgery, the physical therapy that follows and maintaining a good, balanced exercise program completely fixes the issue. For the remaining 15%, there's another surgery (which sounded like a whole lot of not fun) that fixes most of them. While I've never been anyone's definition of normal, I'm really hoping that I'm at least normal enough to be in 85%.

Starting hopefully sometime late this week, I'll be doing physical therapy. I don't know if that will be the "come in three times a week" type or the "do these exercises on your own and come back in a week" type. I'm hoping it's the later. I'm doing the therapy at the same place as last time, so the people know me and know that I will do what they tell me to. But, we'll see. PT will last 3-4 weeks and then I go back to the doc and we evalute where I'm at.

In the meantime, I'm hoping to return to work starting tomorrow. I don't have the stamina for full days yet, but short days are better than nothing and talking with my immediate supervisor it sounds like it would be helpful for me to have easy, face-to-face, interaction with my coworkers while I'm doing this stuff. Plus, I'm pretty sure I'll be less distracted and more productive (and have fewer computer issues) if I'm at work rather than at home. I have to go back in through the medical department, get their approval to return and get a medical parking spot (read: assigned and much closer to the door). So that will be the first hurdle. Hopefully it will go smoothly and I'll be able to get at least a few hours or real work done tomorrow.

Many, many thanks to everyone who's helped me out, stayed with me, brought me food, visited, drove me places, prayed with and for me, let me vent to them, offered to help, encouraged me, made me laugh, and everything else. It's been a tough time, especially last week and I know it's not over, but you guys have helped me through it all and I know you'll continue to help me out as I need it. I don't have the words to say other than "Thank you so very much". I couldn't have made it without you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What I did on my first day free from Couch Arrest

My first day off couch arrest. Yeah! I celebrated by duct taping a garbage bag around my leg (and dressing and brace) and showering. Wow did that feel good. Amazing how much difference just getting clean can make you feel. Of course, after that and getting breakfast I was pretty worn out. I don't quite understand how, on Monday, I worked all day and then went to the gym for about 90 minutes and was fine. And yet on Thursday just taking a shower and fixing breakfast requires a couple hours on the couch to rest up from. I guess that's another thing to add to my list of things that I don't understand. After my shower, I proceeded to spend most of the day on the couch...but I could get up anytime I wanted to. (It's the small things I've been holding on to.)

I'm off the prescription painkillers but am still hitting the ibuprophen pretty hard. I think this is to be expected. Advil PM is an amazing thing and made my night much more restful last night. It worked many times better than the prescription sleepytime drugs they gave me. I need to find out what that stuff actually is and remember that it doesn't work well for me. On a related note, I apparently respond really well to Demoral.

I saw a standup ad for the Monsters vs Aliens movie when I went to see Valkyrie last weekend. Today I looked up the trailer. I think it's got potential. The scene with Bob (or Blob?) hitting on the Jello made me chuckle. Valkyrie was interesting and enjoyable. A good drama with some action to liven it up a bit. The accents were a little distracting at times. Why is it that almost all of the Germans who weren't being played by Tom Cruise had British accents? I guess the director let everyone use their own accent and a lot of Brits were cast. Tom Cruise's very American accent did stand out at times. But it was only slightly distracting. He also didn't get to smile much...such a shame. (What...the man has a nice smile. That's all I'm sayin'.)

AMC is streaming the old British tv show The Prisoner for free (and without commercials!) on their web site. I had heard much about this series but had never seen any of it. I watched the first episode this afternoon. It was interesting but kinda slow moving. That's not surprising given that it's from 1967....and British. I'll probably watch some more episodes when I have some time. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's worth at least watching that first episode, just for cultural awareness as the series is referenced fairly often.

If you need noise cancelling headphones, these JVC ones are a good deal. I have a similar set that I bought before going to India last year and they work great. They don't block out all of the noise (nor do they claim to) but they make a very significant difference. And they're comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time.

My dad sent me a cool email that had pictures of a car that had run over a mattress...and just kept going. Apparently this is not a good idea.

60 lbs of tangled spring wrapped around the drive train. The driver drove over 30 miles with this mess, stopping only when it punctured the gas tank and ran the car out of fuel. Apparently the driver also complained of a "shimmy" when driving at high speeds.

Lesson of the day: stop driving if you ever run over a mattress. Better yet, don't run over a mattress.

And I think it's time for exercises, dinner, more exercises (well, the same exercises but again) and a movie to get me through until bed time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Musings from the couch

So, post-surgery day two is winding down. I'm off couch arrest tomorrow which means I'm allowed to get up and move about to do more than just go to the restroom (and move from the bed to the couch and back again). Not that I'm going to be doing that much moving about. While I can put full weight on my leg, it's not a lot of fun to walk around. And, since I can't bend it, sitting in a chair isn't really comfortable. Maybe I'll lie on the floor for a while tomorrow, just for a change.

Today was full of all sorts of visits and phone calls from friends and family and many of them brought food. I stocked up before the surgery and now my refrigerator is overflowing. Not that I'm complaining, I just find it kinda humorous. When your world is reduced to the size of your living room...or, more practically, what you can reach from your seat on the couch, you look for the humor where you can. :)

But, fortunately, there's this great thing called the internet (maybe you've heard of it?). My world may be roughly the size of a.....yeah, I'm not certain what this is the size's a bit bigger than my cube at work but smaller than a boxcar....definitely bigger than a breadbox...anyway, when your world is small, as long as it includes a computer with internet access, much of the world is at your fingertips. And some of the places in that world can be kinda cool.

Some interesting (or not, judge for yourself) things that I've come across today:

Yugster is kinda like Woot, but the stuff they sell isn't quite as cool. Today's offering was a collapsible silicon collander. Now I can see the benefit of these things, but the headline "Saves Valuable Cupboard Space!" makes me alternate between chuckling and scratching my head. Maybe it's just that I've got amble cupboard space for everything in my kitchen (and then some), but how exactly do you measure the value of cupboard space? And how do you decide what's deserving of the most highly coveted spots? I guess you probably go by what's the most used, but what about the big things that only fit in one spot? What if that's the most convenient place for something else? Do you have to do a cost-benefit analysis to see if it's worth putting the giant stand mixer in the spot where Mr. Coffee really should go because that's the only place that Ms. Mixie can live? And will that upset Mr. Coffee to the point where he won't make good coffee anymore?

Which reminds me of something completely unrelated...except by the coffee thread. One of my coworkers got a new coffee pot for Christmas and brought it in to work (this was on Monday...back when I was actually going to work and was able to bend my knee and stuff). And, as often happens, a couple of us got to talking and we decided that what you really needed was a sentient coffee pot that could figure out not only exactly how much coffee you were going to drink that day but also how strong you wanted it and then would brew it exactly like that. That would be cool....until the day it decided to rebel against it's evil meatsack overlords and decided to go out hunting for Sarah Connor (or possibly unleash nuclear weapons on the 12 am I looking forward to the return of Battlestar Galactica). And that way only leads to death and destruction (and possible Summer Glau kicking butt and taking names, which is always fun to watch).

Another thing I came across was that it's Dave Kellet's birthday. He's the creator of the Sheldon web comic. For his birthday, he asked that his readers introduce just one other person to his comic. So, consider yourself introduced. I've been reading Sheldon for, I don't know, over a year now. It's another thing I discovered via the Whedonverse...he was doing some strips about Joss Whedon and possibly Firefly. The original strips were enjoyable enough to earn Sheldon a place in my rss feed reader and I've been enjoying it ever since. You should check it out. You might enjoy it too.

And I think that's about it. Tomorrow I get to fix my own meals and hobble outside to get my own mail! I'm not sure if I should laught or just sigh about the fact that I'm excited about this.

Thanks to all who have stopped by, stayed with me, called, emailed, brought food and everything else. So far, this whole experience has been a lot easier than I thought it would be and that's all thanks to you guys.
Anyone want to go to lunch on Friday? If you'll drive, I'll buy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Well that's not exactly what I expected

So, it's about noon on Tuesday and I've been home from surgery a couple of hours.
Praise God that things went well!

The good news is that my meniscuses (meniscies?), ACL and all of that are all good and in tact. And I'm feeling pretty good right now.
The bad news is that the issue was a misaligned knee cap. But, we're pretty sure it's fixed now. My surgeon went in and loosed the tendons on one side (no idea how) and thermally shrunk the tendons on the other side (I have visions of plastic shrink wrap...I think it's a little different). So, I'm currently in a leg brace that's keeping my left leg completely straight and, at least for the next two days I'm on couch/bed arrest. Mary, the very sweet post-op care lady, said that I can get up to use the restroom and that's about it. Which isn't going to be a lot of fun. And, oh yeah, I get crutches too. First time for those. Fortunately I can put as much weight on my leg as I can bear (which right now is a lot...we'll see when the pain meds wear off), so it's not too hard to maneuver around.

I'm not certain exactly what the recovery timetable and such is. I don't get to take the dressing off my leg until Thursday night/Friday morning. I have to keep this brace pretty much full time. Next Monday, at my follow-up visit, hopefully I'll get a flexible brace, but we'll see. After that, yeah, I don't know. And not know is something that I'm never fond of. I've got this idol of wanting to control everything. It's convenient in that it manifests itself in wanting to have lots of knowledge and be prepared for everything. But it's also annoying in that it really bothers me when there's stuff I don't know and don't really have any way of knowing at least for a while. "Wait and see" has never been my strong suit.

So, that's the not so fun news. The good stuff is that I'm not really in a pain. My knee aches sometimes, but it doesn't hurt. I've had some food and tolerated that well, although I didn't eat a whole lot. And I'll have lots of time to catch up on movies and tv shows and books and all sorts of other stuff while I'm stuck on the couch and at home. So, that's something.
Also, my church is amazing. I pretty much need someone here for the next two days...that whole couch arrest thing. People have been mobilized and it's all set-up. So, I'll have lots of company and friends and stuff. And I have a people to call in case I need help with other things. I'm not great at asking for help, but I'm guessing that this will teach me to be better at it.

In the meantime, if you have good movie suggestions (especially if they're available free and legally to stream on the web) I'd love to hear them.

We have the technology, we can rebuild her

Off to knee surgery in a few minutes.  I slept lousy last night and I'm thirsty.  But neither of those is a big surprise.  I'm not as nervous about the surgery as I was yesterday afternoon.  I was doing some not terribly interesting tasks at work and my mind got to wandering.  Often not a good thing.  I recognized that excessive worry wasn't going to do any good...and also that just telling myself not to worry wasn't going to do any good.  So I pulled out my iPod and put on Dustin Salter's sermon on providence.  Excellent sermon and what I needed to hear right then.  No matter what happens today, it is God's plan and I am in His hands.  His are the hands that guide the boat.  His are good hands and there is no better place that I can be.

Thanks to all who are praying for me.  I'll update when I get back and get recovered enough to form coherent sentences and type.  Until then, no news is good news (unless you're Mom, she gets a phone call either way.  :) )