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Archive for July, 2004

I Need to Get Out

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Forgive me for not updating sooner, but I've been in low spirits. The constant scenery of my bedroom walls and the endless drone of nothing-I-want-to-watch on TV had been starting to get to me. In the machines, I was doing great - outside of the machines, progress wasn't what I'd been hoping for. Although I was doing everything the doc said, and more, it still seemed I wasn't progressing much further than where I'd been pre-surgery.

But yesterday evening we had a breakthrough. I was lamenting to Baret about my seemingly non-existent progress and he told me to try walking with him across the room, holding on to his hand. We did this back and forth for some time until the last two steps back to my chair, he just let go. And I walked. It may have only been two steps but it was the first two steps unaided in two years. "I walked," I said, and then dissolved into a sobbing mess. I, for the first time since it all began, felt like this was really and truly going to work - I finally had some concrete proof.

I walk really well with a brace on my leg that keeps it straight, and we're staying with that until the muscles build back up. I may have to get some type of support brace for my ankle, which now feels like it wants to snap - not used to the weight. But I'm doing well - I can make it back and forth across the room a few times using a cane, and sometimes I can even do it without the cane. No crutch shoved up under my arm - it's a weird feeling. Now I've got to come up with some decent exercises to work on the bending/flexion part; I think I need an exercise bike or something. I also plan to start swimming in the complex's pool where I live; we just recently got the pool key card.

Just wanted to let you in on the awesome news - I WALKED!! It's baby steps now, but if I keep doing it, soon it will just become old hat. My goal, seriously, is to be walking by Renaissance Festival. That sounds so geeky, but we went last year and it was my first time. I loved it, except that I had to be pushed around in a wheelchair. It really marred my time there and I vowed that by next year I'd return and be walking. It's sometime around Oct-Nov. so I may just make that goal. I've even found the dress I'm going to buy - sort of my reward to myself for making it. This is it.

On a strange note - my Google ads up top are now for staples. -shudder-


Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Whoever it was that told me having staples removed didn't hurt lied. And not a sweet, innocent little white lie either.

Can we say mother fucking OW?!

The little contraption, that looked strangely similar to a regular old staple-remover, grabs the staple and then pulls it in opposing directions, so that it can easily then be pulled up and out. Unfortunately, there were a few things in the path of the pull - like my skin. The little staples ripped through a small portion of skin on their outward course - leaving me bleeding and on the verge of passing out. But I'm a wussy.

It honestly wasn't horrible, but it wasn't anything I'd ever like to have to go through again in this lifetime. I took a quick breather about halfway through - and then asked him to hurry through the last 10 or so.

It's amazing the difference it has made, though! It doesn't hurt nearly as bad to move around when my skin is not being pulled and torn by the staples.

The doctor said I'm doing well, but he's still concerned about the straightening. I'm not fully straight - and even though when I walk I can now put my heel down (an impossibility before), it's still not straight enough to permit normal walking. I can hobble around on one crutch again, but it's slow going and I need to work past that. He wants me in the rack Dynasplint during the day as well as the night at varying 3 hour intervals.

I ran out of Percocets and am now on Loratabs - my only fear being they won't be strong enough to enable me to stand being in the rack Dynasplint; they weren't two years ago when I first encountered the Dynasplint during recovery. If they don't work, I'll just have to call and ask for something a bit more strong.

My spirits are still high, though, and that's good. I keep thinking of all I'll be able to do and it keeps me going strong.

Thanks everyone for your continued thoughts. It means so much that each of you keep checking back here to gauge my progress and are still sending positive vibes my way; it really does help so!

CPM Machine & A Dynasplint

Tuesday, July 20th, 2004

A quick update.

Things are still going well - every day I can do a bit more. I've been staying in the CPM machine 6+ hours a day and have even been able to top the 8 miserable hours in the rack Dynasplint.

Yesterday, I'm so happy to report, I took my first steps! One crutch, putting my heel down and walking. My leg still isn't fully straight - and it's still up in the air whether it ever will be - but every night in the Dynasplint helps and I'm still only putting 2 lbs pressure at 8 hours/night - eventually we'll move gradually up to 4 lbs pressure; so there's still hope I'll get much straighter. But taking those first few steps really felt like a breakthrough to me. I imagine what it will be like to walk crutch-free - how amazing!

I am also able to lift my leg again - after surgery I wasn't able to lift it or move it much without using my hand to force and guide it. That happened after the first surgery as well, but as of today I can move it, lift it, swing it to the side - it hurts like the dickens, but that will go away.

So all's well so far. Just wanted to let you know. I don't get on here much because it's 6/hours or more a day in one and 8/hours or more in the other - so I'm in bed a lot. But I'm doing well! Keep thinking of me!!

Painkillers Are My Friends

Monday, July 12th, 2004

She lives!

I'd first like to thank the makers of Percocet for my appearance today. Credit can also be given to them if none of this makes any sense.

I hobbled out of bed this afternoon for a change of scenery and to reward myself for all of the hard work I've put into my recovery so far. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I'm suffering from computer-withdrawls like some kind of fiend. I need help.

I suppose you're wanting to know how it went sans all the gory details. Oh, what, you want the gory details? You sick fucks - I knew you wouldn't disappoint me.

I believe I checked into the hospital last Thursday (or was it Wednesday?). Dates and days mean little to nothing to me right now and I've had a bit of morphine since then, so you'll have to forgive the memory lapses. I was at the same time terribly nervous and oddly calm. They knocked me out just before 9 am and I woke up in recovery 40 minutes later all bandaged up and with a morphine pump connected to my I.V. I must've still been in a good bit of pain, though, because they then had me sign something that allowed them to give me a nerve block - which numbed my entire leg for the next 12 or so hours. Peachy.

I was in recovery for over two hours because they have a hard time getting my blood pressure back down after surgery. Nerves. I don't remember much between then and getting my room - other than I had to pee like a mofo and no matter how many times they stuck that bedpan under my bum, I couldn't convince my mind that it was okay to pee sitting in bed. When I finally got my room, I had the nurse help me off the bed and I hobbled to the bathroom with her aid. That's right, hours after surgery I was putting weight on it. Of course, I the nerve block was going strong then.

The entire hospital stay is kind of a blur - did I mention I had a morphine pump? As in, a little button I could push whenever the mood hit me that injected me with a moderate dose of morphine. There's nothing quite like it. They told me the key to pain management was stopping the pain before it starts - that I shouldn't wait until I was in pain as then it would be too late and the meds wouldn't work. I liked this philosphy - and I'm unsure how I didn't wear that little button out.

Before going to a room they set me up in the CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine. I only had to be in it 6 hours/day but I may have taken it the equivalent of one hour my entire time in the hospital (three days/two nights). I still, at home, continue to use it 8-12 hours/day rather than just the prescribed 6.

That's right, I'm going at this with gusto. It helps that the pain isn't as horrible as I thought it would be. Yet anyway.

My first surgery left me with a itty-bitty scar where the scope had gone in and a slightly longer one that was approx. 1 1/2" long. I never considered the newer cut would be any different. So imagine my surprise when they took off the bandages my last day in the hospital. The tube they'd had inserted into a hole in my knee for drainage had come out and she wanted to make sure it'd just slipped out and not left any "extra pieces" in my leg. You can only get so shocked when you're hopped up on morphine, so I only really open my eyes really wide when the bandages and were pulled away to reveal an 8" cut from the bottom to top of my knee held together by 19 staples. Yes, 19, I counted them. There are 20, if you count the one on the smaller 'scope incision (couldn't they have just used a stitch for that - seems like overkill to me). So I have 20 staples in my leg, an 8" cut, a smaller, maybe 1" cut and a hole - just a hole that is still draining (ugh).

Oddly, when I'm in the CPM machine, it doesn't really hurt. I'm terribly swollen and though I can feel the staples pulling as the machine moves me (yes, it's as gross feeling as it sounds), it isn't painful. When I stand to go to the bathroom, however, it's a different story. It feels like...well it feels like I have an 8" gash in my leg held together by metal staples.

But I'm doing well. He was able, during surgery, to get my almost fully extended - he says I likely won't gain back all of my flexion (bending) but enough to live normally. However, he was unable to get back full extension (straigtening) and my leg is still stuck with about 10 degrees left to go at being fully straight. Today or tomorrow another machine, a Dynasplint, will be delivered that will help with that. It's much more painful than the CPM machine and I'm not looking forward to it, but I do what I gotta. In the CPM machine I'm already bending to 90 degrees!! (I started at 60 in the hospital). Doc says no one gets to 110, so that's my goal. 🙂

That's my half-ass attempt at an update. I hope it made sense - I'm a little doped up. I'm really not in terrible pain most of the time, but the uncomfortableness of laying in bed and in one position constantly is starting to get to me. The incisions are healing and they itch. So I'm fairly irritable and uncomfortable - much moreso than I'm in pain. I'm not complaining, though!

My progress is great - and I just wanted to thank everyone for their support and well-wishes. I know it's helped. And a big *hug* and thanks to Rose for taking the time to keep everyone updated.

I'll write again when I can.


Monday, July 12th, 2004

Our girl's home. Settling in and trying to relax. She's still got good meds, and says the scar is a lot bigger than she thought (I think she said 19 staples) but she's doing fine considering.

She was only on the computer for a second or two to send out a quick update. If I hear anything else, I'll be sure to let you know.



Thursday, July 8th, 2004

First of all, I want to thank The Worm for getting ahold of us in such a timely manner. I'm sorry I haven't been able to post this earlier, but I didn't have the login info for Anima at my work computer and had to wait til I got home.

About mid-day Arizona time, we learned that the surgery seems to have gone perfectly well and Shanna is/was recovering in the ICU. We're told she's plenty drugged up so she's not feeling a great deal of pain, and they already have her on a machine to exercise her now-cleaned-out knee.

Hopefully we'll have another update tomorrow. Thanks everyone for stopping by and checking up.


Please, Wish Me Luck

Thursday, July 8th, 2004

Today's the day. I leave the house in about 30 minutes. I should be home in a day or two - in the meantime, Rose is going to jump on in here & give you an update on how I'm doing.

Thanks everyone for the prayers, thoughts & well-wishes. {{HUGS}}

See you soon.