Friday, September 15, 2006

Home at last

Well, hi there. Home at last. Yep, it was 2 weeks ago last Tuesday that I went under the knife and after 6 days in the Surgical center and 10 days in the rehab hospital, I am a very happy camper to be home again and sleeping in my own bed. I will try to spare you most of the gory details but I had a complication with the epidural and had to have a blood patch to fix the leak. That was an eiry experience as the OR was closed down on Saturday morning as they wheeled my bed through the dark and empty bays toward a table all lit up...I would have sworn I was in some kind of weird movie and Freddie Krueger was going to be waiting at the end. But thanks to two fabulous anesthesiologists I am all fixed up and was sent on to the rehab hospital.

Reminder: if you can help it, never schedule surgery before a holiday weekend. Minimal staff does not add to your comfort zone. Labor Day all the patients were wheeled into Physical Therapy (hereafter known fondly as PT) at once and it was a major downer for me. I looked around the room and thought "OMG, how did I get here? I have crossed over into the land of the aged and infirmed. Holy cow!" We all got in a big line and wheeled our wheel chairs around the gym to try to get this picture...a parade of wheel chairs. Lovely. That was our Occupational Therapy for the day followed by more group fun with Physical Therapy.
By the next day my attitude had changed 180 degrees and I became just simply so very grateful that I was not struggling to gain movement in a limb following a stroke, or that I had not been in a terrible auto accident. I had just had a wonderful knee replacement by one of the best doctors ever and I was soon going to be much better.

Because Medicare requires 1 hour of Occupational Therapy each day that you are in a rehab hospital, I had to do some really dumb stuff. At 8 one morning six of us were lined up at table in the kitchen doing Chopping 101 on onions, green peppers, tomatoes, ham and mushrooms on paper plates, all with rubber gloves of course. We each put our name on a Ziplock freezer bag, cracked two eggs into the bag, squished them around, added ham, etc and cheese followed by more squishing. The preacher next to me and I got so good at it, we made a bunch for the staff. These bags were all dropped into a big pot of boiling water for 13 minutes and out came omelettes. They just rolled right out of the bags ready to pop into a tortilla. Seemed like an awful lot of trouble and waiting to make an omelette but it was kinda fun.

Talk about meeting some interesting folk, I have never met so many people with missing teeth, not just one or two. It is a terrible mark on our health coverage that it seems that much of our population can't afford dental care. All patients were encouraged to eat in the dining hall which is an effort at 7:00 am when your roommate has kept you up all night. I finally got to where I could tuck my sketch book under my arm while I pushed my walker around. I will share more drawings later.
The rehab doc was great and when I came in, I was greeted with an icy orange mega vitamin drink. A hospital that gives vitamins? Wow!!
I am doing so least a couple of weeks ahead of where I was with the last knee. I go to outpatient PT 3 days a week and had a pedicure yesterday thanks to dear daughter who has delivered chocolate as well...she knows her mama.
I want to thank everyone, especially my husband, for all their incredible support. I had many folk come to visit so I never felt lost or lonely; beautiful flowers and cards; lots of prayers; and some wonderful nurses and therapists. I am so, so grateful to everyone and to the technology that is available. This knee is even better than the last one.
Thank you, Universe. I believed and you delivered.
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Lin said...

AY YI YI !!! That looks mighty painful! The story, Kay!! WOW!! Omelettes and wheelchair olympics! I LOVE your humor here -- and grateful too for the surgery for you!

Linda said...

:-D I can relate, but from the therapist side! (uh, I'm PT, not OT, and we DON'T make omelettes - unless somebody NEEDS to work on cooking skills, or have wheelchair parades and call that therapy where I work... that's just WEIRD) Anyway -- glad you did well, and your illustration is beautiful!