Wassup, you ask? June 17-25, 2015

Alert -- Knee surgery follow-up photos!

NOTE FROM JIMMY:  Things are going as great or better than I expected, but enough about me ... I would like to tell you about the other side of knee replacement surgery.  The extra amount of work Nickie has taken on to help me recover.  There are a lot of things to do:  Meds, ice, food, showers, and much, much more.  See below.  I'm lucky to have her as my wife and friend, and I appreciate and love her very much.  (he made me insert this )

Ah, wassup? Healing, recovery and rehab, that's what! Can I tell you how busy I've been? Between a half-acre yard and a 3/2 house, and a husband who can't do much ... yet, very busy! 

Jimmy had left total knee replacement surgery on June 10th, and came home on the 12th. A home health nurse removed his 24 staples on Wednesday, June 17th. They were replaced with a "ladder" of 11 sterile strips, and they, in turn, are curling at the edges; some have already fallen off. He's had a great physical therapist come to the house a couple times weekly to put him thru some rigorous exercises. Every time she gives him a new exercise, it causes renewed pain.  Mostly he's focused on getting his knee action back. Mostly I've been focused on him and everything else. The really great news is he has become a lot more independent as his knee heals. You don't realize how reliant you are on someone till you can't use both legs. I didn't realize how much work was involved being a caregiver. Now we both know.

We're pleased that by today, he can ease off and on the bed by himself, exercise by himself, etc., and he sits on the back deck before it gets too hot out, with no help required. Doctor's orders are that he continue to use the walker for six weeks, but he's walking w/o a limp. He can even shower by himself now. These are all things that it's taken him two weeks to "master."  He's still taking Norco for pain, but he's beginning to voluntarily wean himself off meds. I've been feeding him lots of protein and plants, healthy stuff. We have smoothies for lunch most days with everything but the kitchen sink in 'em and he hasn't had the dreaded constipation issue (so common while on these meds). Throw in a glass of prune juice (yum-yum?) in the mornings and he's all set. The slushy ice has been a lifesaver ... after exercising he gets 20 min of icy relief. And, hey, pilgrim, he's watched a few old John Wayne war movies on Netflix, plus other goodies.  What else is there to do?

Photo taken yesterday, 6/25/15, two wks post-op.

Norco is a controlled substance, requiring a doctor's script that must be hand-delivered to the pharmacy. Last week we called the doc's office in Sacramento to get a refill mailed to us, which was done. I waited till Monday to fill it at Walgreen's and was told NO WAY, because it wasn't dated. Jimmy had maybe a day and a half left of meds. Could Walgreen's call the doc's office? How about a fax? NO WAY. The pharmacist said, go back to your doctor. I said, the doctor is in Sacramento. She just looked at me. So? 

Geez.  So, with Jimmy's blessing and with the nurse expecting me, I hauled my butt the 65 miles down to Sac, where the nurse apologized and wrote the date on the script I brought with me, the original one. Geez.  I left the house at 9:30, got the DATE on the script and was finished by 11ish.  Always one to look for a silver lining, I'd called son, Matt, the nite before to see if he wanted to "do" lunch. Sure. We enjoyed a nice lunch at Cafe Bernardo, after which I went back to their place to visit for a few minutes, and then I hauled my sorry ass back up to Walgreen's in Nevada City where the script was filled by a different clerk and pharmacist. No problem!!!  (Could I have filled in the date myself and come back the next day?  Maybe, but I figured I'd get in trouble somehow.)  So, I was home by about 3:45, and that was my Tuesday. Oh, BTW  -- the temp in Sac was 99 stifling hot degrees. BUT, Jimmy was on his own pretty much all day, and he did just fine. 

People say, "don't forget to take time for yourself."  I don't forget, but in these two weeks, spare time has been at a premium.  However, I've been able to get out and walk this past week, a half-hour at first, but this morning I walked the canal path for a bit over an hour, something I enjoy very much.  We're looking forward to getting back on our hikes, all in due time.  I got an early start this morning, 7:15, since today's forecast temp is 97 degrees, whew!  
Welcome to summer!

 Lamb's Ears in our backyard, about the only thing thriving.

Fiery red summertime plants growing along the ditch.  Leopard Lily above, Cardinal Monkeyflower below.

I take my walking stick with me when out walking by myself (I miss my partner!), to chase off dogs and/or predators.  Today I saw a bear in someone's front yard!  I didn't have to scare it away; it ain't going anywhere! (enlarge photo!)


And the band played on ... week two, June 2015

Alert for the squeamish:  This post shows the staples in Jimmy's knee!

The saying goes, "The third time's the charm."  And it held true for Jimmy.  His left total knee replacement surgery was originally scheduled for March 18th, nearly three months ago.  Jimmy's Mom passed away the week before that in Mobile, AL, and he couldn't line up all the ducks to attend her funeral and make the necessary per-surgical appointments. Postponed, the next date was May 4th.  We waited.  A freak accident the morning of surgery canceled that one, too!  More waiting.  New date for surgery was Wednesday, June 10th ... check in Sutter Hospital in Sacramento at 5 am.  He made it.  The waiting was over.

Before, going into surgery.

After ...

He had a private room on the 5th floor, with a distant view of the Sierras. The box in the foreground was hooked up to the "new" left knee, suctioning the excess fluids that build up after such a procedure.  That meant little-to-no swelling, which means less pain and quicker healing.

We were really impressed with Sutter Hospital and can easily understand why it's rated in the top 100 hospitals nationwide.  Equally glad that we live close enough to take advantage of their facility.  (A new state-of-the-art Sutter Hospital being built will open its doors in August.)  A huge thank you goes to son, Matt and his wife, Jen, who live exactly two miles from Sutter (rather than our 65 miles away).  We spent the night before surgery with them, and I happily stayed there the two nights Jimmy was hospitalized.  I'd planned on walking to Sutter, at least once, but intermittent light rain fell on Wednesday and it was too blamed hot on Thursday to even consider walking.       

The hospital kicked him out (figuratively) late Friday morning.  Earlier, the drain tubes from his knee were withdrawn, after which his surgeon removed the old dressing and put on a new waterproof "bandaid."  In between old and new, I counted 24 staples.  It looks painful, but he pretty much didn't feel pain, thanx to the meds.  You see his knee is only slightly swollen.  I left the photo smaller, but you can enlarge it if you want to count for yourself!

When we left Sacramento, the temp was a blistering 100°, but only 94 at our house.  The drive home made me nervous because I didn't want Jimmy's new knee to be compromised by the near-two-hour drive (inc a Walgreen's stop to drop off his script).  Talk about sweating ... for more than one reason!  But, we made it just fine.  The staples come out on Wednesday the 17th, one week after surgery ... the home health nurse will take 'em out, not me. 

And here he is at home on Saturday, three days post-op, walking (with the aid of a walker, of course)!  His leg is straight again and the knee is barely swollen.  Key ingredients to a full recovery are exercise, ice, and elevation. He needs to do exercises three times daily, with me (the helper-worker, aka Nurse Ratched) assisting, at least for the time being.  A big shout-out to Laurie who nursed Odel thru knee replacement surgery a few years ago ... her tips were helpful, especially the tip on how to make a good, slushy ice.  Jimmy will wean himself off his pain meds as his knee/leg grows stronger and heals.  The other thing the medicos stressed were to get up and get moving: from chair to couch to bed to bathroom or kitchen, and then park it with the knee elevated.  No lying in bed all day and/or no trail walking (haha) till he gets the OK.

We have a big trip planned for October, and healthy knees will be required!  If he'd been able to have the surgery as planned three months ago, he would've had those extra three months' worth of healing, but 'twas not to be. Now, he's more than willing to work that knee!  Nurse Ratched is more than willing to help.


Berry good days now in the first week of June, 2015

Our friends at Tumbling Creek Farm invited us to pick strawberries at the farm.  The answer, of course, was yes! We picked for us and for them ... good deal all the way around.  Jimmy and I will probably do it again before berry season is finished.  Don't like to admit it, but we were sore after hours of reaching, picking, and squatting! The haul was worth it, tho ... all those organic sweet, melt-in-your-mouth strawberries.  (I sampled a few as I moved along the rows ... part of my job )

I made "lite" strawberry jam (lots of it), plus we had fresh berries to top ice cream, and then more berries went into freezer bags!  Nice that this opportunity came when it did, as I'd just run out of last year's jam!  Perfect timing.

Here are a few funnies I lifted from one of those paper place mats you find in a cafe:  Sometimes I'll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is. * Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5; I know how to get out of my neighborhood. * Bad decisions make good stories. * I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to. * I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. * How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?  And finally the laugh of the day:  * The first testicular guard, the "cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974.  That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important!

Have a great day, everyone!