Thursday, January 18, 2018

Preparations, part one

I give my house a thorough cleaning about once a month.
 I go around with this nifty little wand thing and tame the cobwebs.
I get right under the beds.
Surfaces get cleared off.  If you are anything like us, any flat surface has a tendency to get buried under STUFF. It's all important stuff mind you. Beside my end of the couch, there is a cedar chest. It is full of Christmas junk and dead laptops, so I don't lift the lid more than once or twice a year. As a result, the standard stuff does not move. There is a lamp and the telephone base and the internet receiver thing. Modem? I don't know what it's called, the phone company comes and replaces it every time it falls and breaks....
So what else is beside me RIGHT now? A seed catalogue, my headphone speakers, a hardware receipt, a piece of paper with random notes and messages, a toothbrush, a tape measure, yarn scissors, O'Keefe's working hands cream, eye glasses, and a jewelry box, huh? Then there is the shop manual for our dead Volvo. I have to sort that stuff out. Put it all away in it's rightful home.
EVERY flat surface in my house is like that. Coffee table? We won't go there, that's Mike's domain.
Mike, bless him, will take very good care of me while I'm laid up. He will keep me well fed and help me get from point one to point two. But, like most men I know, he's not really big on doing housework or keeping things organized to my standards. And we won't really talk about laundry.
So where is this all leading you say?
I'm putting stuff away. Getting any little bits of mending taken care of. Making sure we have enough clean sheets and towels to last at least a month. Everything will be dusted and polished the day I head to hospital. From that point on things might get a little fuzzy, but we'll live through it.
Mike will shop and cook, and for that I am so very thankful. He also makes a REALLY good cuppa tea every couple of hours.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Physiotherapy consult

My surgery is two weeks from today.
I had an appointment with my physiotherapist today. She did lots of measuring and watch how I walked and took me through all of the exercises on the sheets I was given.
I learned that I was NOT using my cane properly, so that was a big help.
She also got on me about the way I walk, as I literally drag my right leg through life. It is so painful to bend my knee! She wants me to do a "marching" motion whenever possible. I can't see me doing that in the grocery store mind you!

I had a VERY difficult pain day yesterday. My knee was excruciating, then the hip, then the lower back.  I had to take a lot of pain medication and use all my pillows to get comfortable. Once I fell asleep I had a good solid night though. I was also rather groggy when I woke up this morning. Pain or no pain, I just cannot take the prescribed pain medication.

Yesterday afternoon I had a great long chat with a good friend who had her surgery here just a few weeks ago. She reassured me that I would be spending a full day in the hospital here in Pembroke. We talked about the process at our hospital, which seems a bit different from the Queensway Carlton. I feel a little better now.

Next week I have my preOp physical and ECG, yet another set of labs and xrays and another physio consult. All on Tuesday.  I cannot begin to imagine how much this all costs. Thankfully in Canada we don't pay for these services. We wait, but we don't pay.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Not for Squeamish people

The messages and emails I've been receiving have me reconsidering my ideas to go into hibernation.

I think instead, that I will tell you my story as things go along. Some folks might be needing joint replacement and hesitant. I hope my story will help you sort that out.


I have suffered with arthritis and fibromyalgia for a very long time. Despite these painful episodes, I've tried to be as active as could be.
I've lived quite far into the countryside for about 30 years. Part of the appeal has always been the access to walking and hiking trails and close proximity to one of the best provincial parks in Canada Outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, snowshoeing (oh be still my heart!), hill climbing, I've done it all and miss it like mad.
My right knee in particular has always been a little sore, but it never slowed me down....until November of 2015. We were in Ottawa at the museum in Gatineau. Remembrance Day had been the day before and the Ottawa Childrens Choir was performing in the Great Hall. We went down the escalator to the floor of the hall and had a look around. It was getting close to time for us to leave so we had to go back up. Wouldn't you know it, the escalator QUIT, and I couldn't walk up! Something inside my knee just seized up.  It was positively horrible. I remember we finally found an elevator and made it up to the level where we could get to the car.
By Christmas I was still on the couch, barely able to walk. Getting up and down stairs was a trial.
My Dr. was useless. She told me to ice it. She didn't xray or refer me to another doctor. It  took a year of complaining before she FINALLY referred me to a pain specialist. I had a cortisone treatment in February, another in May and another in July. They were quite miraculous for me. The treatment took about a week to fully start working, but at that point I could do pretty much everything I wanted to do. The July shot didn't work out so well. The pain doctor couldn't get the big needle into the space between the knee bones. Something wasn't right. She sent my GP a letter and demanded she arrange for me to have an orthopedic consult.
That took perhaps another 3 months.  I was pretty disappointed when the first doctor told me it would probably be another 3 months before I saw the actual surgeon, then 6 months after that to get surgery. I saw my xRays and it wasn't pretty. I was suffering with bone spurs and a knee joint that was seriously out of alignment. One side has bone right on bone, and the other side has an abnormally wide gap. I don't have any meniscus left,  which is that bumper between the bones in your knee.
Imagine my surprise when I was called to see the surgeon just a few weeks later! What a lovely Dr. He had all the time in the world to discuss my surgery and  answer any questions. He is the first Dr since my old doc left his practice who showed any interest in my fibromyalgia as well.  He said that it has been his experience that us FM suffers tend to have higher pain tolerance than "regular" folks. Well I've always kind of thought that, but it was interesting to hear another doctor address it so kindly.
I went to a pre-surgery meeting last week. The whole process was explained to us. We were told what assistive devices we would need, what pain meds we would get, all the little things. I was kind of shocked to hear that I might be going home the SAME day. Apparently if the surgery is finished by 10 AM you're out the door the same day! I was talking to a friend who had knee replacement 30 years ago. She was in a cast for MONTHS!
Last Friday I had a lot of xRays. I had to hold this wand with a metal ball on the end at different points on the knee. They had me doing contortions! It was crazy but I see the point.
After all the xRays it was off to a lab for my blood transfusion donation. That was a trial. I felt pretty wonky after that. At least when you go to a blood donor event they give you juice and cookies after the draw!
I have another appointment this week with the physiotherapist. I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll be back

Hello friends, sorry for pulling the plug so suddenly without an explanation. 
There was drama...

My blog is going on hiatus for a short while. Only two weeks remain until I have my knee replacement surgery. I am busy trying to get my house organized for my confinement. 

Remember the days when pregnancy was called "confinement". I have a laugh about that. Apparently there was a time when an expectant mother would go into seclusion once she started to "show".

We live in a remote country location and the terrain is rough at the best of the times. Add snow and ice and walking conditions are treacherous. I'll be confined to the house for about 8 weeks (other than dr appointments).  I am bagging up knitting projects and collecting books to read.
Maybe once the boredom sets in I'll think of something I WANT to write about.

See you soon!