Surgery success!

Total Knee replacement : Lateral view (Xray).Image via WikipediaI made it through my knee replacement surgery! It’s been a rough few weeks of recovery, because knee replacements are about as painful as they come in the surgery world, according to my physical therapist. I almost asked for a psych eval the first week after surgery to determine if I was insane for having chosen to go through with it, and then the pain started to calm down a bit.

It’s been emotionally challenging along with the physical challenges. My sister had a huge surgery to remove as much of the cancer in her chest cavity as possible about 10 days ago. They took out her entire right lung, part of her diaphragm, the pericardial sac (which goes around the heart), and a tumor off the top of her heart. I think she wins in the severity-of-surgery department for the family this year. I still ‘win’ the PT pain award, however.

My friend, Karen, passed away last week after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. The docs had finally gotten her most painful tumors shrunk to almost nothing about a month ago, and I was beginning to have some hope that she might make it a little longer. However, God wanted her home in heaven sooner than we all wanted. The one remaining tumor in her liver didn’t respond well to treatment, and about 2 weeks ago, her liver just gave out and quit working. She died about 4 days later. Her family had a memorial service last night at our church, and I was able to go to it. We don’t have a small church–the sanctuary can hold a few hundred people. It was absolutely packed. It was wonderful to see so many people coming to show their love for Karen’s family. I’m going to miss her dearly, but I’m so thankful she’s out of pain.

With my sister-in-law having breast cancer, my daughter dealing with ADHD and being diagnosed with both soy and dairy allergies a week before my surgery, seeing funnel clouds the night of my surgery out of my window, going through PT, my friend dying, my sister having surgery, and having a red area on my knee that we initially thought was an infection (turns out it was a hematoma), I think I kind of understand what Job must have gone through. I told a friend of mine at one point I was just thankful God hadn’t given me boils. I’m hoping God doesn’t get any funny ideas in that department.

I did use my phone and DS during my hospital stay, but didn’t actually sign up for internet access via Skylight. The evening I got out of surgery (my operation didn’t start til about 2pm), we actually had tornadoes go through Milwaukee county (where my hospital is located), and the city got drenched with 7 inches of rain. I got back to my hospital room on the 11th floor around 5pm and to my delight I was able to see funnel clouds out the window. Naturally, I thought this was awesome, despite the fact that I had absolutely no place to go if we had one land on top of us. The staff apparently are instructed to close the blinds in the event of a tornado warning. I pointed out to the gentleman who was following these instructions that would have little effect at keeping debris out of the room should the tornado decide the hospital needed some re-decoration. He noted that this was an astute observation, especially considering I’d arrived from the recovery room only 15 minutes earlier, but he closed the blinds anyway. I suspect it’s to keep us patients from freaking out at a tornado coming, but it ruined my perfectly good view of some lovely wall clouds and funnels. I was going to ask Trusty Hubby to open the blinds back up for me after the hospital worker left, but apparently the Good Drugs kicked in right then, and I fell asleep. I find it completely ironic that I joked about needing access to the Storm Prediction Center on my phone in my post just prior to surgery, and then having a tornado actually show up not too far from the hospital doorstep.

Over the next 2 days, I discovered that I had about a 9.2 minute attention span, so it just wasn’t worth paying for the internet service. With my phone, DS, a special about tornadoes airing on The Weather Channel, and the fantastic light show put on by Mother Nature two nights in a row with fabulous storms, I had more than I could handle anyway. The hospital kept me busy with PT twice a day, and when I wasn’t doing that, I fell asleep, usually in the middle of a Pokemon battle. It did not help that I got woken up in the middle of the night for shift changes, vital sign measurements, blood tests, and, believe it or not, changing my trash. The gals who came in every night to police the garbage cans tried to be quiet, but I sleep light, so I woke up the moment the door opened. I’d say hello and thanks to them, and they’d both reply in very chipper voices, “You’re welcome, have a good night!” I never knew it was possible for someone to be that happy at 4:30am, but they were.

Now I’m staying busy with figuring out how to geek out in physical therapy and home recovery and surviving the use of a walker. I’ll share some of my tips with you in another post later.

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