One week later ... Thursday, May 17, 2017

Warning:  Candid Knee Photos

Hooray, the deer didn't eat the buds.  What a showpiece!

Two years ago (June 2015), when Jimmy had his left knee replaced, the heat was on in NorCal.  This year's different.  The past week in Nevada City has been cool -- our furnace's been on every morning, fireplace toasting us each evening.  That's fixin' to end, according to the weather folks.

Temperature is not the only difference.  Though Jimmy is now an "old hand" at getting new knees, each operation (basically the same) is distinct.  To wit:  1)  The hospital after-care compared to the previous knee was different.  2)  His post-surgery reaction has been different from his first operation.  Two years ago, he had no nerve pain block and needed pain meds immediately.  This year, at home with the remaining nerve pain block still working, he had little-to-no pain at first (got a little cocky), but a few days later and block meds spent, pain brought him to his knees (so to speak). Kidding, kind of.  Now he has to remember to take meds regularly to keep his pain in check. One similarity:  He's been up and walking in the house, using a walker or a single walking stick, and then he retires to his recliner to ice his knee.  Only one week post-op, he's doing well.  We both are.

Linda with Progressive Home Care is preparing to remove staples.

28 staples this year.  24 last time.  BTW, this didn't hurt.

All fixed and covered with long steri-stips.

You can check out the 2015 knee surgeries by clicking here and here.  Use your back arrow to return to this post.

We came home from Sutter Hospital on Friday, the 12th.  The next day, Matt and Jenny and 8-wk-old Everly Rose (and their two little doggies) drove up from Sacramento for a visit. They brought me a lovely bouquet of flowers (below) for Mama's Day or, in my case, Gramma's Day!  Matt and I made pizzas (and a mess) in the kitchen and we all passed a delightful few hours.

Below are a few of Jimmy's favorites ... with Everly Rose, of course!

She was intrigued by the ceiling fan blades going 'round and 'round.

* * * * * * * * * *

While Jimmy has been busy healing, I've been occupied in the yard doing much-needed maintenance, and admiring plants and flowers that are showing up due to the gallons of precip we've received this year.  But, oh, I've been weeding!  I don't remember seeing crab grass in our back yard, but we have a bumper crop this year and I've been slowly and painfully yanking out each small plant before it can produce seeds.  Phooey, I believe the durned pesky weed is winning.    

Love the Iris blooming in our front yard.
The one on the right is ready to pop open.

Little native wild Iris finally in bloom in the side yard.

Whoa, here's a newcomer in the back.  A California native Stickweed, tho I can't identify which one, but it's a perennial herb.  Pretty color.

There's a story behind this picture.  This fragrant rose in my backyard came from Matt and Jen's yard.  Last year, he transformed his yard to drought-tolerant, and out came their roses.  We came by when it was this rose's turn to be removed. I said I'd take it and dug out most of the root, except for the big one.  Matt said he'd get it and jerked it out, minus the root.  Oops.  I took it home anyway, despairing it would live.  You see it lived and is thriving.  I've named it ... (what else?) Everly Rose.

Here now is my dearest Jimmy one week post-op.  He has two new knees and two straight legs!  This evening he's watching Two-and-a-Half Men and laughing out loud at their shenanigans.  Laughter is therapeutic!  He's doing good right now, actually, he says.  Betcha he'll keep on "doing good" and getting better every day!

Go, Jimmy, go!


It's a done deed. Wednesday, 5/10/17

WARNING:  Knee Bandage Photos

Jimmy has known for a long time -- since he had his left knee replaced two years ago -- that he'd have to "go under the knife" again and replace his right knee.  While we were snorkeling (using fins) on the Great Barrier Reef off Cairns, AU in December, the last vestige of cartilage in his right knee pulled/tore loose, and left him walking in pain.  Not all the time, mind you, but nagging pain became his sidekick, even when he lay down to sleep. Bone on bone hurts.  Something about using fins in water can aggravate an already problematic knee (too much strain or pressure?), but we didn't know at the time that snorkeling using fins could land him in the hospital within months.

Jimmy saw Dr. Blumenfeld on February 21st, hoping for an early surgery date, but no such luck.  He had to wait 11 weeks and he counted off every one!  Since his left knee surgery with Dr. Blumenfeld went so smoothly, Blumenfeld was the only orthopedic surgeon Jimmy would use for the right one.  He is the best in the west.  Above, Jimmy is prepped and ready to "do it."  Even smiling!

And here is Dr. Thomas Blumenfeld in his "space suit."  This is what orthopedic surgeons wear during surgery.  Jimmy actually watched true-life knee operation videos and knew the docs wore these hygienic get-ups, so he asked to be kept awake long enough to see them in person.  (don't ask me, I wouldn't watch one of those videos)  An associate took this picture. 

The 2pm surgery went well, and my dearest husband was alert and in a room by 5pm, looking for coffee.  He had to settle for broth, hot tea and a pink sorbet, all of which he dispatched with alacrity.  A nerve block was attached just above the bandage and, consequently, he had no pain.  That's a good thing.

He had a smiley face on his right big toe and a "B" on his upper thigh, like tattoos, meaning, pick this side!  This is his knee post-op.  He spent two nights in the hospital, and came home with a brand new waterproof dressing.  And the new bandage is perfectly straight, like his new knee!  Compression sleeves were on both legs and he wore those till his release.  So amazing, so wonderful, what medical science can accomplish anymore, replacing broken-down joints with new, workable, pain-free joints.  BTW, Sutter Hospital employees also rate a high mark.

Never mind the gown or the IV hose or the messy bed covers,
this photo is iconic Jimmy: With a coffee cup in hand!

The next day, Thursday, he was up and walking and beginning P/T.  Don't worry, he was covered by two gowns -- front and back, no show 'n tell!  Also?  No pain.  He's grinning!

Neither of us could remember the exact measurements for slushy ice.  Either 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 cups of water to 70% alcohol.  I emailed Laurie Brown and she said 4 to 1, but I thought it was 3 to 1, so I compromised by 3 and 1/2 to 1, double Ziploc bagged.  When frozen, it's pliable enough to mold over Jimmy's knee.  Not using bags of peas!  We got this, Laurie!

Everly Rose -- 8 weeks!

Two years ago I stayed with Matt and Jen in Sacramento.  The little tapper above precluded that scenario this year!  I stayed at Jen's parents, Tom and Alice's home in Roseville this time (roughly 20 miles from the hospital), so I didn't have to drive the 65 miles back and forth to Nevada City -- a real blessing (thanks, Tom and Alice).  Not only did I get to spend most of those two days with my favorite guy at his bedside, I had some playtime with sweet Everly Rose at her home, a real bonus.  Ohhhhh, what a sweetheart.

We're home now; he was released Friday afternoon.  He's up and moving around, with a walker, of course.  Saturday both a nurse and a physical therapist checked in, and Jimmy passed inspection!  It's a relief to get this knee fixed.  Life is short and at our age, time grows shorter.  We still have many things we want to do, places to go, trails to hike.  Two new knees give us the opportunity to take off.  Maybe go fishing later this summer in British Columbia.  The past two autumns we've toured overseas ... where should we go this year?


On the eve of ... Monday, May 8th, 2017

We wanted today to be a special sort of day, including a satisfying hike at South Yuba River State Park.  It was perfect, weather-wise, sunny and warm, mid-70's ... a lovely day altogether.  Jimmy picked our route -- the 3-4 mile Point Defiance loop trail.  I was open to either this one or Buttermilk Bend, my hope being to see lots of wildflowers.  Buttermilk Bend is an easy out-and-back, basically flat trail running alongside the South Yuba.  The Point Defiance trail is more challenging with lots of obstacles on the river side, and you're either slogging uphill or easing downhill.  But, it is a beautiful loop trail with views of both the surrounding mountains and the river/lake on the back side of the hill.

Yes, I saw lots of wildflowers!

Including lots of Pretty Faces.

What you see above, as in tall green grasses, is what we saw as we began our zig-zag up the hill.  But what a sight -- healthy, graceful and green, thanks to tons of rain this year.  Jimmy took the lead at this point, so I could hang back with my camera.  Seeing him heading up the trail made me happy, and I know it made him happy to be Out and About.   Today is Monday.  Tomorrow we'll be busy with lots of last-minute "stuff."  Early Wednesday morning, I'll drive Jimmy down to Sutter Hospital in Sacramento where he'll have his Right Knee Totally Replaced.  Two years ago he had Total Left Knee Replacement, for which he's been grateful every moment since.  His right knee has been plaguing him since our Australian trip, and he's ready to be able to walk without pain.

That's why we are stepping out and enjoying the sunshine today.  It'll be a long time before Jimmy can again hit the trails.  Please keep your fingers crossed, maybe offer up a prayer, that his new knee surgery is as successful as the last one.  I'll be updating .... 


We walked alone on this trail, except for a Cal-fire training crew that we encountered further, all of them dressed in heavy orange suits and weighed down with full backpacks.  They were on their second loop go-round and on the third one, they'd also be hauling firefighting equipment like you see below.  We wished each guy the best, and said we hoped we wouldn't need their wildfire services this summer! They agreed and wished us a good day.  We really like this meadow.  Along here, we heard, but didn't see, Acorn Woodpeckers.

Did I mention wildflowers?  I won't name each one (because I can't name some!), but our hike was filled with glorious spring color.  Lucky me!

This is our first sighting of the main Yuba River, before it joins with the South Yuba.

A spring bonanza of color.

This photo shows how high the river water still is, though it's receded enough that picnic tables at Point Defiance campground are no longer under water.  The water was much higher here during all those "atmospheric rivers" of moisture we received in January and February.

Here, at the confluence of the Yuba and the South Yuba (the beginning of Englebright Lake), we parked ourselves on a bench to eat lunch. Three pair of Canada geese heard us unwrap our granola bars, and began to swim our way. 😃 You can't really see it, but the water toward the distant shore is ripping along at a manic pace toward the dam.

Oh, we saw lots of these pretty flowering shrubs on the river side!
  Bush Monkey Flower, a California native.

Continuing down toward trails end, clambering over boulders.

There's the covered bridge in the distance -- still not open (unsafe).  Who knows when it will be fixed and open for foot traffic?  With all the snow melt in the high country, the South Yuba River will continue to flow at a cfs rate not seen in years.   

Raging waters!

It's now Tuesday evening and we've finished all the business we needed to take care of.  In fact, the past couple of weeks we've been staying pretty danged busy with chores, now that those monster rains have quit. And, especially since Jimmy will be OCC [out of commission] for a month or so.  Windows needed washing, blinds repaired, yard cleaned and weed-eated (is that a word?), garden prepped and planted, all things people can't do in mud and/or might put off, and many of them I wouldn't be able to do by myself.

Tomorrow, we're off to Sutter Hospital.  I'll stay with Matt's in-laws in Roseville while Jimmy is hospitalized.  We hope to be home on Friday!


Reminiscing and more ... Sunday, 4/30/17

Jimmy and I maintain contact with several of our fellow Road Scholar travelers.  Nowadays, it's easy to do, via emails and text messages, or even phone calls.  Facebook is another way to keep up with where our friends are today.  Some are visiting exotic places like India and Indonesia right now.  I follow Erin of Two to Travel's blog and she's currently in Dubai.  The world becomes a small place when traveling is made so easy -- all ya need is time and money!  Aside from expanding one's horizons, one of the great pluses of traveling is making new friends.  We have met really nice folk as we go Out and About, and one of them paid us a visit this afternoon.  

Garrett was among the RS group who traveled with us for the month we were in New Zealand and Australia -- last Nov/Dec.  We all had a grand time touring these two DownUnder countries.  Garrett lives in Olympia WA and was in Sacramento for a weekend wedding.  Since Jimmy and I are only an hour away, we suggested a meeting at our place (that's where emails and text messages come in handy).  He drove up to Nevada City and we spent a delightful afternoon rehashing last year's trip and talking about upcoming ones.  It's nice to catch up.

Now that Lefty's Grill has reopened after their restaurant flooded in "atmospheric rivers of rain" (both January AND February), we decided on lunch there.  Sitting outdoors on their patio (above and below) listening to Deer Creek rush past on this warm, sunshine-y day was so darned pleasant.  After all those gray, wet, months, sunny and 70ish weather was heavenly!  As you can see, Deer Creek is still splashing along at a pretty smart clip.

After a muy delicioso lunch, we strolled a bit along downtown Nevada City streets (I think we have three) -- gotta walk off some of those calories!  Garrett seemed to like our old western "Mother Lode" town.

I stood in the middle of Broad Street to take this picture; can't do this in very many cities without getting run over!  Jimmy and I planned to return to the Nevada Theater (dark bldg/far right) at 7pm to see the Indie movie, "Chasing Niagara." [terrific flick about kayaking over Niagara Falls]

We turned around at this point in our ambling.
I love these pink Dogwood trees.

Well, okay, here we go.  Butter pecan single, in my hand and soon in my tummy.  Jimmy (left) and Garrett, make their choices at Treats in Nevada City.  Heck, it WAS a warm day ... ripe for ice cream!

Lots o' color in town.

They've finished their cones.  I'm still working on mine!

Still on foot, we stopped to Look at the cool old mining equipment displayed in Calanan Park.  The sign above is enlarged below.  You can enlarge it again to read it easier.  After this, we piled in the red Prius and returned home.  Garrett took his leave of us then, so he could head back to his cousin's house where he was staying.  Thanks for coming to see us, Garrett, we enjoyed your visit very much!