Friday, March 25, 2011

New Knee for Meme

Meme's adventure getting a new knee. 

Meme checked into the hospital on March 22 at 5:00a.m. for knee replacement on her left side.  She had her right knee replaced about 4 years ago and it really improved the pain level that she was living with.  She worked with her left side until it became too uncomfortable to walk any longer and scheduled the surgery.

Day 1 (Tuesday)

"Oh yeah, then they hit you with a big hammer to make sure you're out!" says Meme, explaining her anesthesia for the procedure to Karen.  Karen said that they "were pulling her leg", to which Meme replied; "Yes, but only after the anesthesia".

Let's get this show on the road!

The surgery went well about 4 hrs with recovery, and the doctor said, post op, "I don't know how she was walking on that knee at all".  I know that Meme is a tough girl. She was in her room by about 10:30a.m.

Karen and Heather sat with me through surgery, no scary moments like the last time, thank God.

Karen had to go home but Heather takes the day off and spends it with us. When Meme is settled and comfortable, Heather and I go to a new deli for lunch (about 2:00p.m.), Taylor Center Deli.  She shares my like for reuben sandwiches and they have a good one. The also have great cake and we share a piece of strawberry.

Meme gets to read the menu from a new deli, but eats hospital food.

Mary came for a visit after work. She has been keeping long hours at her job

Harley came to visit on his way home from work.

It was a tough night leading to Day 2. The morphine button was at hand and helped keep her comfortable enough to get a little rest. A hospital is not a restful place as there is quite a bit of activity, checking vitals, arranging equipment, etc. These all contribute to a long night for Meme with only napping.

Day 2 (Wednesday)

Day 2 was a rough day dealing with the pain.  They switched from IV pain meds to pills early in the morning.  The pills last longer but start wearing off before another dose is allowed. She naps whenever she can.  She still keeps her Meme spirits and I know that her pain tolerance is way beyond anything that I could endure.  We know that this is short term pain and when fully healed, will be so much better than the knee she has been walking on for several years. Her right knee does not hurt her and we are expecting the same for this one.

Physical Therapy came in for her first steps on her new knee! Just a few steps in the room but now she can make it the trip bathroom and regain some of her dignity.  

But still feeling good enough for Facebook! (hey I have to keep up with my peeps!)

First steps on the new knee!

Robert and Kiki stopped by in the afternoon for a visit.  A visit from friends takes her mind off the pain and lets her relax.  I think that this helps the healing process and we appreciate the visit.  Meme likes to play "Words with Friends" on her I-Phone and now has a new game with Kiki, making it about 6 games that she is playing concurrently, including one with Jenny McCumber which she is sure will be a challenge.

Heather, #2 and #4 stopped by for a visit. I think that it has been proven that hugs from grandkids speed up healing. We didn't know how it would be for them to see their Meme in bed with wires and tubes everywhere, but they were not afraid.  We know that Heather had to drive from work to pick-up the kids and then drive back to Corpus Christi.  She is superwoman like her mother. The visit really cheers Meme up. #2 was intrigued by Meme's bloody tube.

Later we Skyped with Jeremy, Amy and #5.  Technology is great and the hospital has wi-fi so everything worked for a visit with the College Station bunch. Another spirit lifting time. Meme should be up and walking for the graduation in May.

Between God, me, kids, grandkids and friends, we will love her back to health, and I know that it works.
Day 2 ended with more rest during the night.  Her pain meds were scheduled for every 6 hrs, but she
slept through the morning dose (about 6:00a.m.) and went about 2 hrs over without any meds.  She is already improving. 

Day 3 (Thursday)

Day 3 was a busy and eventful day! The night's rest, hospital rest is not the best, left her feeling better and stronger and the pain levels were lower. Though she say's she is hurting, I can tell that she is feeling better than yesterday.

There have been lots of appreciated calls from family and friends.

The morning sesson with the Physical Therapists had her walking halfway to the solarium about 50ft.

The Physical Therapists

Bill visits in the morning and brings some goodies for breakfast from S&J Bakery.

The CNA offers to wash Meme's hair and she is thrilled. Little things that can make you start to feel normal really help.

"It sure feels nice!"

The doctor comes in and removes her drain tube.  The anesthesiologist removes the nerve block tube and Meme is free of all the tubes and connections from the surgery.  They leave one IV port in her hand in case they need to administer something they wont have to stick her again.

Sandra McCauley came for a visit.  She just had orthoscopic knee surgery, so Meme and her share war stories.  She is always fun.
Granny and Booger came for a visit.  Meme has clean hair and sheets for the visit and is starting to feel better all the time.

She walks 100ft in the afternoon physical therapy session. Though tired and sore she is starting to put more weight on her new knee.  The therapists tell her that she is amazing in her progress. They teach her some exercises to strengthen her leg.

Nice view of the bay while exercising.

They changed the dressing on her incision.  This was our first look at the surgery site.  Lots of staples but looks good.  They replaced the bandages with a very large bandaid.

Harley, Bridgette, #1 and #3 come for a surprize visit.  Meme woke to little eyes looking at her and I can tell by the immediate smile that formed that she was getting better and stronger every minute. More grandkid hugs and she is really soaring toward feeling better.  Jeremy, Amiee and #5 skype in while everyone is here and the cousins get to say hello over the internet.  With Bridgette here, #6 is also in the room.

Digette(#3's pronunciation) and one of Meme's nurses (a very nice one).

The Hewitts came for a visit and told about their travels.  It was very nice of them to come by. They pray with us before they leave and lift Meme's spirits more. 

Meme makes a discovery in the evening. Her old knee hurt all the time and sometimes she would lie awake at night trying to find a comfortable position. Some nights she would not sleep but a few hours because of the pain. Now she notices that her new knee does not hurt when lying still, allowing her to fall asleep quickly.  Even though very sore when she uses her knee, it does not hurt for her to lie in bed.  God is good!

Day 4 (Friday)

Meme is sleeping well and the doctor has to wake us for his visit at 7:00a.m. He talks about her going home tomorrow. She has slept all night, except for the occasional wakings for vitals and lab work, but she goes back to sleep easily and only took half the pain meds during the night.

She woke to a challenge as Ms Kiki played "JAUNT" for 72 points during the night, on "Words with Friends" and took the lead.

Way down the hall with the physical therapist during the morning session.  They wrote down 150ft but I'm sure that it feels like a full marathon.
After the morning session we went for a roll around the ortho wing.

Now is the time that I, Meme, gets to say a few things. My husband is the most healing medicine God can provide. It confuses some when asked if he goes home at night and we both say 'no.' We are a team, whether we are healing from knee surgery or fighting cancer. Neither of us would sleep wondering how the other is doing. I make him eat and he helps me to the bathroom. thank you family and friends for your visits and calls. thank you parents for our healing doses of grandchildren, skyped or in the room. I love all of you very much.

Our friend Allison came by for a visit in the afternoon and prayed with us before she left.  God is the reason for Meme's continued healing.

At this afternoon's physical therapy sesson, Meme walked all the way to the nurses station and back, twice as far as this morning.  The therapist said that she had a natural heel-toe gait, which is something she has not had on her left side in years.  The internal medicine doc came in and said that she didn't need to be here any longer, so all we need is agreement from the ortho doc and we will be headed home to Bishop, probably tomorrow.

It was a long night as the nursing crew that was on, seemed more intrusive than usual and woke her several times during the night. She can't wait to get home to her bed and a good night's sleep.

Day 5 (Saturday)

We slept as late as they would let us. Meme was feeling a little poorly, but after she got moving was in a lot better spirits.  I think good rest without interuption will have her feeling almost normal and go a long ways toward getting her ready for the physical therapy ahead.

The Doc came in and started the paperwork for going home.  From past experience we know that the process will move quickly  once it starts.

The physical therapist came by and Meme walked the same distance she did yesterday.  With a little more rest she will be trying out for a soccer team. He went through his checklist and she completed all the goals that were set for her release.

The occupational therapist came by a little later and made her demonstrate that she could do things like put her shoes on, sit on the potty (lol), and brush her teeth.  She has been doing all of those things for the past few days, but the therapist had to witness them.  Meme thinks that the "brushing the teeth" thing may have been added at the last minute because of her breath.

Meme contracted rabies while at the hospital. Notice the foaming around the mouth.

All the paperwork completed, Meme was released just after noon.  We gathered everything and started our trip home.  Meme was ready to go.

Our camera will shoot about 4 frames per second, so I just held the shutter down and took the following sequence;

And so Meme is home.  All our prayers were answered and her healing will begin now with rest and exercise.  Pretty soon she will have be able to chase the grandkids around.

Sincere thanks to everyone for their prayers and encouragement. 

Even if we had a bigger cup, it would still run over.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Judo Aikido Workout

We try to do something together before a major medical event because we know that one of us is going to be uncomfortable afterwards. Before Beth's first knee operation, we went to a Dude Ranch and rode horses along the Guadalupe. Visiting with Steve and Mel was perfect before my event.  This time before Beth's surgery she told me that she had something planned but wouldn't tell me what it was.  She had to let me in on it a few hours before it was supposed to happen.  After contacting some of our Judo and Aikido friends, she had arranged a workout in our backyard, and prepared a meal for afterwards.  It was supposed to be about her but somehow  it was more about me, she seems to work that way.  With full approval from my doctors, it was my first workout in more that a year. It was great to see the young men and hear how they have been doing.

Adding to my frequent flyer miles courtesy of Nathan airways!

Coy delivering Sumiotoshi.

Just one toe left on the mat! Nathan and Alex.

Many thanks to Emma (self portrait) for the great pictures.

Our cup always runneth over!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Since this is the last free weekend before Beth has to prepare for her surgery, the College Station group came for a visit. I also had weekend call duty and we couldn't venture very far from town. We used our time to the fullest and gave them the grand tour of some of our favorite places.  Mario's, Kelly's and of course the Bayou Wildlife Park and Frobergs.

We weren't sure how number 5 would be with all the animals approaching the open sided tram, especially the ostriches, as they are kind of agressive about getting in your food bucket.  He was not afraid of anything and seemed to enjoy the ride and beautiful day.

The group with a rather tame whitetail.

The traditional "I'm feeding the ostrich" pose.

Look dad, water buffalo!

That is one big watusi.

After the wildlife park, it was on to Frobergs where it is strawberry season.  So we picked our own strawberries.  Can't get any fresher than that. 

Here's one!

Into the bucket.

We had a great visit and can't wait until the rest of the grandkids can visit.

Out cup overflows!