Physical Therapy

I conservatively estimate that I have been to 120 physical therapy sessions over the past 4 years.  That is 4 surgeries, at 12 weeks of PT each, at an average of 2.5 sessions per week.  So very thankful for good insurance!   Last April I had my final surgery and am now on the countdown to finishing my physical therapy.  Over the years I have heard people complain about how much they disliked physical therapy, how it hurts and how some even quit before they finish their program.  I have to admit that there can be pain involved and sometimes it is not very convenient to take time away from work to attend the sessions.  However,  I have been very fortunate to have great physical therapists who talk me through the exercises and encourage me to keep pushing through any pain I am feeling.  I definitely see the benefits and the progression (albeit slow) it has made in my recovery.

Christy

Christy has been my lead physical therapist through both of my knee replacements.  After my first knee surgery, we spent three months talking about the upcoming birth of my first grandchild.  This past three months we have been talking about the birth of her first baby.

updating the chart

I not sure she will be around for my final two weeks!  Warning, my matching scars are showing in this next pic of me working on the leg press machine.

leg-press

Like my first knee replacement, I am struggling with getting full range of motion in my new knee.  One of the tortures stretches I must complete involves the PT pushing my knee to help it bend more.  This is NOT my favorite exercise.

pushing

I still have hard work in front of me to meet my long term goals, but thanks to Dr. L and my very patient physical therapists(Christy and Lisa) my life has changed dramatically in the last four years.  I can walk around the grocery store and go to the mall without giving it a second thought.  I can walk around our neighborhood or local park for 30 minutes and have plans to walk a 5K next spring for the Arthritis Foundation.  Life is good and getting better each day!

 

Bits and Pieces #7

1.  My husband is an enabler………he knows my weakness.  Hello my name is Theresa and I have a problem.  I love PEEPS!  My kids always received PEEPS from the Easter Bunny and they did not even like them very much.  Bad bunny!

Peeps

2.  Went shopping at Joanne’s last Sunday and picked up some material for a couple of new projects.  Here is a sneak peak.  Any ideas what I might be making?

fabric

3.  Everytime I go to Joanne’s I stop by to drool over watch the Husqvarna Viking Embroidery Machines do their magic.   I really, really, really want one of these.  This time I even picked up some brochures and brought them home.  Maybe if I lay them around the hubby will take notice and surprise me someday.  You think?

Viking-Husqvarna-Sewing-Emb

 

4.  Although I have had my spring chalkboard up for a LONG time, it seemed to take forever for spring to finally arrive.  Hopefully it is here to stay now.

Spring-2014

 

5.  In less than 24 hours I will be undergoing the last of my four joint surgeries!  I am very much ready to conclude this journey I started four years ago.  I have many plans and goals to pursue and I am READY to get started.  However, those first 3-4 weeks post surgery are excruciating for me.  Sure, there is pain and mild physically therapy torture but that does not hurt me as much as the dependency on others and inconvenience to my normal schedule and activities.  To say that I have a lack of patience is a little bit of an understatement, so if you hear a little (or a lot) of whining for the next month, please bear with me, I will get over it!  See you on the other side!

Never-said-it-would-be-easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craving Normal

At three weeks post surgery I am doing pretty darn good.  I am walking with a cane more than the walker, working part-time (nothing can stop an accountant and month end close) and started outpatient physical therapy today.  I still have much more pain than I expected to have and still having a hard time bending my knee.  The goal is 120 degree bend and I am at about 96 degrees.  Today’s therapy was more about recording a  baseline of what I can do so they did not push me too hard.  I am a little worried about the next six weeks, I see more pain in my future.

flexMost of all, I am craving normal, at least normal for me.  I want to be able to:

*Take my camera outside and shoot pictures of spring emerging.

110a

*Go to the grocery store, wander leisurely up and down the aisles.  Bring the groceries home and cook dinner.

*Shop for cute baby clothes for my soon-to-be-born grandson, Levi.

Polo

*Move freely between the first and second floors of my house without having to have my “spotter” standing in front or behind me, making sure I do not lose my balance on the stairs.

stairsjpg

*Sleep in a position other than on my back.

*Go out of town for the weekend.

FirePit

*Be able to walk without thinking about how strange my knee feels.

In summary, I am ready for this whole TKR (total knee replacement) experience to be behind me.  Gail, my wonderful in-home physical therapist, told me life would be closer to normal at about the eight week mark.  Five more weeks to go……seems like five years!

New spring look!

I have a new spring fashion to share with you, white compression hose, ace wrap and a built-in cooling system.  Isn’t it lovely?

post-knee-surgery

Let’s break this look down shall we?

1.  White Compression  Hose – This part of the assemble is pure evil.  Although presented by the medical profession as an important tool in preventing blood clots, the truth is they cut off total circulation in your leg.  No blood, no clots, no nothing is moving under these ultra tight,scratchy demons.  Trying to put them on after you have taken them off to shower is, well, no words can describe that fun!

2.  Ace Wrap –  Although this is an optional item at this point, it does play a wonderful role in keeping the cooling system attached to your leg.  This fashion item is just a part time addition.

3.  Cooling System –  Although this would be a bit cumbersome if you were very mobile,  it is perfect for this first week when you are doing very little except trying to articulate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Looking like my own personal beverage cooler, this unit delivers localized cold therapy by the use of a pump that circulates extremely cold water to the desired area.

As lovely as this look is, I certainly do not want to make this a permanent part of my wardrobe.

flowers1

According to the multitude of health professionals that have been traipsing in and out of my bedroom the last few days, I am doing great for a week out of surgery.  My only goals are to see how far I can get my knee to bend and how many laps I can make with the walker around the second story of my home.  I have NO desire to tackle those stairs again for while, although the therapist says we will be working on that by the end of this week.   The knee bending goal is 120 degrees over all, but only 90 for the first week.  I have been having a very difficult time with the knee bending,  but today with the therapist pushing and me breathing like I was about to give birth, the 90 degrees was finally achieved.  YEAH!!

Another issue I will be fighting over the next few weeks is the IMPATIENT MONSTER that lives in my brain.  I know when work and life gets crazy I often dream of a few days of downtime to do nothing.  Of course that downtime is usually more about sun, sand and beaches than pain, immobility and 25 staples.

I want to truly thank all of you for the visits, plants, phone calls, food and warm wishes.  I can not imagine going through this without the support of my family and friends.

Bits and Pieces

1.  Less than forty-eight hours until surgery and another replacement part…..this time the left knee.  Right now I am trying to focus more on the things I need to get done before my mobility is reduced and not so much on the actual surgery.  I am sure by Monday night I will be obsessing over that but for now trying to stay focused.  The “TO-DO BY MONDAY NIGHT” list is long and I am getting things crossed off.  I am also being realistic and know that not everything will be completed, some things will just have to wait a few weeks.

2. That staying focused thing is not working too well for me, take a look at all the shiny new hardware I will be sporting.  Kinda makes me hurt a little a lot.

knee replacement

3.  Daughter #2 and I cleaned out her old room in our house on Saturday.  Given the three years she has been married plus the four years she spent in college, she really has not been here on a long term basis for almost seven years.  Seems like it was time to pack up the “I Love Lucy” collection and give away some of the clothes still hanging in the closet.  Besides that, she has her own house now and has more storage space in her basement than I do!

I-love-lucy-collection

4.  The cleaning mentioned above was in anticipation of daughter #3’s move back home after she graduates from college in May.  She will be attending a nutrition/dietetic internship at KU in the fall.  While working on her nutrition major/food minor she took several cooking classes and catered several events.  She even butchered a pig and took home pork chops!  I am really excited to have her home again and hoping she will use some of the nutrition/food knowledge I paid for in some of our evening meals. (minus the pork!)

5.  I also spent several hours in the kitchen yesterday cooking ahead a few of my favorite comfort foods and freezing them for after surgery.  I made vegetable barley soup that I shared in this post.

017a

I made Black Bean soup that I wrote about here.

Black-Bean-Soup

And I made a double batch of sugu (pasta sauce) that is a family favorite.  I don’t think I have shared that recipe yet, but definitely need to do that sometime in the future.

6.  The best thing I accomplished this weekend was making a decision on the quilt I will soon be starting for my soon-to-be born grandson Levi.  I love fabric and quilting SO much I have a very hard time making a choice on a pattern and the color I want to use.  There are so many things I like!    Besides the three t-shirt quilts I made for my daughters when they graduated from high school, I have not made a quilt for several years and I am very excited to start again .  I purchased all the material and am hoping I will feel well enough during my recovery over the next few weeks to get the pieces cut out.

Not sure if I will be posting next week or not, but if I do, please do not hold me responsible for what I say……I am hoping to be under the influence of some powerful drugs 🙂

Two years ago today….

Happy 2nd Birthday Ruminations and Reckonings!

2nd Birthday                                                           Source

Two years ago today I wrote my first blog post on Ruminations and Reckonings.  To celebrate the day I have decided to give R&R a little facelift.  If you are reading this in an email or an RSS reader, click on over to the site so you can see the new layout.

One of the changes you will see are the new menu items.  I created those a month or so ago and if you looked hard on the old site you could see them…..but now they are front and center.  Clicking on one of those menu items will take you back to all the posts related to that topic.

I wrote that first blog post about two months after my first hip replacement and about two months before my second hip replacement.  Interestingly enough, this anniversary corresponds with me preparing for yet another surgery, a complete knee replacement to happen on April 16.  Although I knew this was in my future, it came about a little faster than expected so I am having somewhat of a minor (ok major) pity party.  I know life will be even better a few months from now, but I do not relish the thought of slowing down to recover once again.

To get past this dark place I did what I do best…….make a list!!!  I am such a structured person that a list provides comfort; check things off, life is good.  I have about twenty things I need to accomplish prior to the surgery date not including a trip to Omaha and an Easter celebration.  Many of the items are related to finishing my basement makeover.

Speaking of the basement makeover, here is an update on the progress.  Remember this lonely corner I showed you…

Before-reading-nook

This is how it looks today, still a few more things to do but it is looking better.

reading-nook-almost-complet

Thank you all for reading these past two years!