Sunday, August 31, 2008

In today's bandage-fest, I managed to get nearly all the ink off my knee. Yes, they WROTE on my knee. From the look of the marking, they indicated the places to avoid vs. places to use when inserting the instruments. Fortunately, the ink they used is very amenable to being removed by plain soap and water. So except for some small areas that were way too close to the incisions to risk being cleaned vigorously, the ink is all gone.

Even the incisions are allowed to be cleaned -- I just can't scrub those areas yet. But I can carefully wash the knee off and pat it dry, which I did before applying new band-aids.

Then I had another session of "Fun With Giant Ace Bandages". The original application of the ace bandages (there are two of them) was as follows: one started out around my foot and was wound around the leg up to the calf. Then the second one went from there, up to mid-thigh, and then back down until it ran out of length.

Well, have you ever tried to apply an ace bandage to your foot when you're not supposed to bend your knee? I eventually got it done, but not without reciting a lot of Italian vocabulary that I normally employ to describe the drivers who cut me off or the referees who make bad calls. ;)

At least now the bandage-fest is in place and can be left alone for the time being. I'm back to propping the leg up and icing it down. RICE* is good.

* RICE = Rest, Ice, Compression, & Elevation
I talked to Aunt Rita yesterday. She came home from the hospital on Thursday night. She's going to have friends and family rotating spending the night with her, as she really shouldn't be alone for the time being.

I wish I wasn't in Convalescent Mode myself at the moment. If I hadn't just had surgery, I'd be making a beeline back to Brigantine. Unfortunately, until I'm cleared to drive, I can't be of use for practical things like running errands or helping ferry Aunt Rita to appointments.

I'll be in better shape eventually. When I'm able to drive again and I can do a bit more for myself, if she still needs people to stay and keep her company, I'll find a way to fit myself into the rotation. :)

She hasn't started any kind of therapy for the shoulder yet. I know the doc wanted her to start moving the arm ASAP, but I'm not sure when they're going to formalize it and give her a schedule of exercises to do. I hope she's able to maintain a decent range-of-motion on her own, so the therapist won't have flex the joint as much to increase the range of motion. Trust me when I tell you, when I had PT years ago, the part of the therapy that hurt the worst was when the therapist helped my knee bend an extra few degrees past where it wanted to stop. Going through that pain was absolutely a necessary evil, but MAN, was that ever nasty! :( The less Aunt Rita has to feel like that during her own physical therapy sessions, the better. I hate to even think of her having to undergo that particular part of the treatment.

This isn't to scare anybody who's reading this out of getting physical therapy, if it's warranted. Go. Get it done. The pain doesn't last, but the benefit of getting lost range-of-motion back DOES. That's one thing I'll say in favor of that particular exercise -- you really do see the "gain" part of that "No pain, no gain" motto. Being able to detect improvement in your range of motion will make even nasty pain a lot more tolerable. Trust me on that score.

Better yet, DON'T FALL and get hurt in the first darn place. Then you won't have to worry about any of this stuff. Believe me, you'll like THAT plan of action even better.

Lunch

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Welcome to my lunch. Instant Breakfast drink, yogurt drink, coffee with Benefiber, and my afternoon pain meds. Hoping to graduate to "solid" food at dinnertime with some soup.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our A/C unit needs replacing. Phooey. But at least now we know what we're going to do and when.

Thank God we haven't had the Heat Wave from Hell over the past couple of weeks. It's actually been extremely temperate weather in recent days, particularly for August. Mother Nature picked a good time to have a heart.

At least we know that before the week is out, we'll have a functioning A/C agan, and supposedly one that'll lower our electric bills into the bargain. So this is good.
Today is the day when I was instructed to remove the dressing from the surgical wounds.

Well, I'm up at this ridiculous hour (what else is new?), and I was itching like mad under the ace bandage, so I decided it was time to replace the surgical dressing with band-aids, as per my instructions.

Well... OH, MAN. Was that dressing nasty-looking. Everything's clean and dry, fortunately -- it's not the sort of nasty-looking that heralds any kind of problem. But, well... it was dressing over surgical incisions. Said incisions were stitched nicely closed, but apparently they still had some bleeding left to do between the time the dressing was applied and now. Whew.

Off went the surgical dressing and on went some clean, large knee band-aids, per the doc's instructions. Then I replaced the ace bandage, because frankly the compression does help the knee feel better.

Now I'm sitting and waiting for the knee to calm down after my trip to the bathroom. Even with the crutches, if I'm standing for too long of a time, it starts feeling pretty bad. Once I feel better, I'll go reload the ice pack -- it's down to nothing but cold water now.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I just got off the phone with the orthopedist. They removed the torn part of the meniscus, but more to the point, there's arthritis in the knee. That probably impacted what he was able to do while he was in there, as well as the longterm followup treatment.

I can't say I'm surprised in the least, given my symptoms over the past 14 years. Still, PHOOEY. But on the bright side, at least I know for sure now what the heck's going on in there. (And that I wasn't being a wimp all these years when the darn thing got extra-sore for days at a time.) Without getting a diagnosis, I can't get the right treatment.

I'm to continue using crutches until I see the doc again on the 8th. In the meantime, I'm to continue resting, icing, and elevating the knee. (Which, at the moment, feels like disaster struck it -- fargin' meds must be wearing off.)

The good news is, I should be over the *surgery* in six weeks. Unfortunately, the doctor made a point of differentiating between the surgery aftermath and the arthritis, so I suspect I won't be done with symptoms any time soon. Blah on that. But I hope that at least I'll be MANAGING the symptoms more appropriately, now that I know what I'm dealing with. That's got to help.

Still breathing :)

Well, I'm up and awake and trying to stay that way. As long as I don't let the pain meds wear off, it only hurts when I move my leg.

I'm waiting for a callback from the orthopedist, to get a full description of exactly what he did yesterday. As of right now, I don't know if he was able to repair the meniscus damage, if he had to remove the damaged cartilage, or if he had to scrape smooth the back of the patella (kneecap).

I have to say, I don't know what med they used prior to giving the anesthesia, but BOY did it ever work. At one point in the pre-op waiting area -- and I mean REALLY pre-op, as in the last stage before heading into the OR -- they told me I'd have to be shifted from the gurney I was on, to a different one that was narrower that they'd use for the surgery. I thought to myself that it would possibly prove to be quite a production number to make that transfer, as I already had an IV in my hand and the tube seemed to be curled in every direction on the map.

Then they gave the pre-op "cocktail" that was designed to relax the patient prior to surgery. I'm not even sure I noticed when they administered the dose, though I knew it was imminent.

Next thing I knew, I was hearing, "Donna? You can wake up. They're done." I LITERALLY have absolutely zero recollection of anything that happened between thinking that the transfer to the new gurney would be a chore, and finding out that the surgery was over.

Hey, that's definitely my kind of medical procedure. :) Give me those "have no idea it even happened 'till it's over" treatments any day of the week!

For pain, I'm on ibuprofen 3x/day plus Percocet, which I was told can be either 3x/day or 4x/day, depending on the pain level. Tell you what -- I'm going to MAKE it be 3x/day unless the pain turns out to be unbearable, because it will be easier to keep track of what med I'm taking when. I'm a little on the punchy side at the moment (go ahead, say it: "worse than usual"), and the shorter I can keep my list of things to keep track of, the better I'll be.

So far we've only had one "collision of crutch with feline" episode. Stanley walked right into the crutch as I was trying to maneuver my way to the kitchen sink. Then he mewed at me, poor wee guy. :( I'm sure I didn't hurt him, except for maybe hurting his little stripey feelings that I didn't avoid the collision. I'll have to dote on him extra when I'm safely seated and off the crutches. I'm sure all will be promptly forgiven once he gets a good dose of pettin'. Short Attention Spans are Good. :)

It shouldn't take the Kitty Committee long to grasp that they need to be out of my way when I'm in motion and on crutches. Their feline predecessors had to learn this the hard way, too; the only time I ever came close to having bad luck from black cats crossing my path was when Melody and Harmony wanted to help their limping Meowmy navigate the stairs. It took a few explanations that their attempts to do figure-eights around my ankles and the crutches was a hazard, but they eventually figured it out. I think the current Pair of Cats will develop a knack for crutch-avoidance before long, too.

OK, I'm going to proofread this to make sure that I'm not writing utter gibberish, and then I'll post it. My body wants to go back to sleep, but my brain knows I should spend some time awake before I let myself conk back out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Done

All went well -- sleepihg off the meds (or trying to ;) ). Later!
OK, all -- I'll be leaving in a little while for the hospital. I have to be there at 9:30 AM. The procedure is at 11 AM.

Thanks for the well-wishes and prayers! Talk to you all later. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The orthopedist sent me home with a pain prescription for post-surgery. He said I can also take one prior to the surgery, if necessary. I'd rather not, but if it makes the difference between being able to sleep and staring at the ceiling overnight, then I'll take the med.

In the meantime, while I was having the script filled, I picked up one form of pain relief that I *know* won't interact badly with anything else. Let's see how well Ben-Gay works getting rid of the discomfort (which has gradually worsened into the realm of low-level pain over the course of the day).

Pre-op

Pre-op test results are in, and I'm cleared for surgery tomorrow. Still waiting to hear what time it'll be.

It's most likely going to be an outpatient procedure, barring unforeseen complications.

I'm meeting Joe M. for lunch.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 3 without anti-inflammatory meds = Gabey's not feeling so good. Actually, the problem is that it's NIGHT 3 without anti-inflammatory meds and my knee is complaining all over the place. Crud.

I'll look at the bright side. Only one more day (and night) of this aggravation to go, and then actual HEALING can start. Sure, it'll feel worse for a while right after the surgery, but at least it'll get BETTER from there. Unlike, say, NOW when my only options are "stay the same", which is not an acceptable answer, and "deteriorate further", which is even LESS acceptable.

The knee is probably never going to be 100% again. 14 years of living with accident-induced wear-and-tear have probably seen to that, even without the more recent mishap six weeks ago. But if the long-term end result is a better knee than I'm dealing with right now, then I will consider myself to have come out ahead of the game.

Of course, in the really, REALLY short term, what I'd like is to get a decent night's sleep. I hope that doesn't prove too elusive of a goal.
WOW, what gorgeous weather! It's temperate enough to use window fans, which is good because our A/C is kaput. Mark is hoping that the guy from Utility Company can come and recharge the air conditioner tomorrow.

That will be great, PROVIDED that he can get here during the time of day that my Orthopedist's appointment ISN'T. This is the pre-surgery appointment, so it's not something I can reschedule.

Mark's goal, which I can well appreciate, is to have the A/C back up and running by the time I have my surgery, so the immediate aftermath of the surgery doesn't involve recuperating in a house that feels like an oven. (To give you an idea of what it's been like in here, it was 84 degrees in here all day yesterday.)

The only issue I have with this whole thing is I wish we had a bit more leeway as far as scheduling the tech to come see the A/C goes. The house has been hot for a few weeks now. It's a bummer that this particular goal (having a functioning air conditioner in time for the surgery aftermath) wasn't set several days ago.

But what's done is done. At least the weather's cooperating now, and with any luck it won't be obscenely hot in the next few days. The forecasts on weather.com look promising, at least as far as the temperatures for the next week or so are concerned.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Ouch

My parents, Mark, and I went to see Aunt Rita this afternoon. OUCH. She shattered the ball of her shoulder when she fell. :(

The orthopedist came in while we were visiting, to discuss the injury. He said, to make a long story less long, that while this sort of injury is often treated by surgery, in my aunt's case (as an 82-year-old diabetic) they were going to go with therapy. (He wasn't quite as blunt as that, but that was his main point.)

When the ball of the shoulder is injured, it often heals larger than it was before. That means the range of motion is reduced. One way to counteract this is to move the shoulder, because that acts like packing a snowball together.

Hearing this made me wince inside, though I hope I kept the expression on my face from showing as much upset as I felt. :( What a cruddy injury for anyonem let alone someone in her 80s.

Where can I file to have the law of gravity repealed?
Countdown to my session with Dr. Arthur O'Scopic: I just took my last ibuprofen until after the surgery's done. I was instructed to stop taking ibuprofen and aspirin for five days prior to the procedure, and it's now T-minus 5 days.

If the pain starts acting up between now and then, I'll apply ice.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh, boy. What a day. I've been on the phone with my parents several times because Aunt Rita is in the hospital.

She went to the doctor for blood tests, and her blood sugar was so high, they called her to come back in. While she was there the second time, she fell and broke her shoulder. :( So now, between the high blood sugar and the injury, she's been admitted to the hospital. My parents are going to see her tomorrow, so Mark and I are going with them.

Sigh. I was concerned about her blood sugar last week while we were there, but there were so many factors that could have affected it, I kept quiet. For one thing, I'm sure our eating schedule was way different from her normal schedule. Second of all, though she had a houseful of people all week, that day was especially chaotic because we had one additional group of people visiting during the day and a separate group coming for dinner. I know that stress can elevate blood sugar, though I have my doubts that it should have elevated it to the number Aunt Rita reported after breakfast.

Anyway, what's done is done, and now the good news is that she can work with her doctors to straighten out the blood sugar issues. If she needs to tweak her diet or have her prescriptions adjusted, so be it. As for the shoulder injury... well, ARGH, I haven't got much good to say about that. :( But at least it happened with medical personnel RIGHT THERE and at least it's being treated right away. It didn't happen, say, while she was at home alone, and treatment wasn't postponed by her trying to tough it out instead of having a doctor check it out.

DARN all these medical things going on, though. Aunt Rita, John R. (bypass), Joe M's mom (with broken bones in her foot), Joe M's brother (no longer in remission)... and I could extend the list from there, as there are two family friends who are also battling cancer.

Everyone who reads this, kindly stay in one piece for me. I've had FAR more than enough bad news about loved ones in the past couple of months. Better yet, please generate some GOOD news, then email me with it so I can post about it. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Looks like it was one of those "meant to be" things that had me seeing the Other Primary Care Doctor in the practice today. Turns out that Other Doctor has got torn ligaments in his foot, and is in need of a cane. He took one look at the baseball-bat walking cane that I have and went bananas over it. :) He plans to google it and order one by the end of the day.

I told him that I got it at the Louisville Slugger museum/factory in Louisville, KY. I'm sure the factory has its own website, but if it doesn't, then the city itself should have a website with a list of landmarks and contact information.

It's just as well that I saw Other Doctor *before* the procedure, as the cane will be temporarily be replaced by crutches in the immediate aftermath of the surgery. Unfortunately, baseball-bat crutches haven't been invented yet. ;)

At least the pair of crutches I got this morning has padded handles and armrests, not that you're supposed to lean on the armrest for any length of time. I still have the wooden pair from 14 years ago, and I distinctly remember getting blistered hands from the freakin' crutch handles being so hard. Under my arms got a bit sore, too, but I considered that my negative-reinforcement reminder not to lean hard on that part of the crutches.

I don't look forward to navigating on stairs once the procedure's done, at least not until I'm allowed to put a bit of weight on that leg. Even then, early in the recuperation process, I know it's going to be a real source of aggravation.

Then again, stairs are a source of aggravation NOW. I hope that once the recovery's done, they'll be either a lot easier to deal with or, better yet, they'll be a non-issue.

Oh boy.

I have a feeling that my primary-care doc isn't in today, and the other staff are taking his appointments. I just overheard something said at the front desk that leaves me wondering just who I'll be seeing for this flippin' appointment. Stay tuned.

Tests

Today is Pre-Admissions-Testing day. I had an EKG and 3 tubes' worth of fasting bloodwork drawn. Then I got sent for a chest x-ray and for a session where I was fitted with crutches and trained in their use. (In my case, it was more like a refresher course, since I needed crutches for the same knee years ago.)

What's more, I'm still not done. I have an afternoon appointment with my primary care doctor this afternoon so he can fill out a medical clearance form.

I also have some paperwork of my own, given to me by the hospital, to fill out. It includes a Living Will(!).

Dang. All this is for OUTPATIENT surgery. I'd hate to see what the pre-op regimen is for *inpatient* procedures.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

While I was in Brigantine last week, our main desktop computer had what appears to be a hard disk crash. Mark spent two days on the phone with MicroSoft customer support, trying to determine the origin of the error message which would not let the machine boot up.

We brought the computer to a repair shop in Wayne on Monday evening. To my surprise, we haven't heard back from them yet. Or at least, *I* haven't heard from them. Maybe they called Mark at work.

I'd really like to know what's wrong with the machine and what the ETA is to get it back.

Yesterday, my laptop (which, like the desktop PC, runs Windows XP) got the automatic update for SP3. So when the desktop machine comes back, we'll have to make sure that it receives the same updates that were installed on my laptop.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Farfalle

Stories from last week in Brigantine...

Little Connell was awake from his nap, after a frenetic day at the beach, and it was around dinnertime. Aunt Rita was in the process of making a pasta known as "bowties" in English and "farfalle" (butterflies) in Italian.

We knew that he was hungry, and that he was likely to be back asleep before the main course was ready -- the bowties were to be baked with ricotta, tomato gravy (a.k.a. "sauce" for the people who are neither Italian-American nor from South Philly), and mozzarella into a lasagna-like dish. So Aunt Rita said to him, "Do you want some pasta?"

"Yes."

"We have some bowties. Do you like those?"

"No. No bowties."

"How about some farfalle, then?"

"Yes."

So Connell got his farfalle. Three bowls' worth, in fact. :) But make sure you give him farfalle, not bowties. He likes the one, but not the other. :o)

Monday, August 18, 2008

yay

Yay, I just checked the juror call-in number to see what my instructions are for tomorrow.

Turns out that "the number of jurors required for tomorrow has changed. Therefore, you will NOT be required to report for jury duty, and you will not be summoned again for at least one year."

Hooray. I'm not one to shirk jury duty -- witness my decision a few years ago to go in anyway, even though I was excused from service. At the time, I had been looking forward to getting a day's break from the spitework-fest workplace I was in. So I didn't want to know about "you don't have to report" -- I wanted my "one day or one trial" away from those fargin' people and I went in anyway.

This time, though, I'll take them up on their offer to stay home. I have medical testing and surgery scheduled for the next ten days, and if I get picked for a trial, it will make a royal hash of my plans. OK, I realize that if I could provide valid proof, they'd reschedule it, but this was ALREADY a rescheduled jury summons from last spring. They might not be too enthralled at the idea of rescheduling someone twice in a row. So being excused from service outright is a Good Thing for me right about now.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fargin' Gremlins!

Last night, on our way home from Joe M's, Mark mentioned to me that our desktop computer started acting up the day after I left. I haven't tried it yet, as we were out all day today, but the long and the short of it is that the thing won't boot.

Mark spent the past few days on the phone with Microsoft, hashing out the error messages, and it appears that we're having a problem with the hard disk.

Fortunately, we back up the machine regularly, but good luck reloading a backup onto a machine that won't boot.

Mark found an authorized SONY dealer that he'd like to bring the computer to. FWIW, my suggestion was that if we have to have the drive replaced, we should see about getting a larger drive this time.

Oh, and I plan to INSIST on getting the old drive back, if they have to replace the drive. I don't want the drive to be refurbed and resold with our info still detectable. That's not supposed to happen, but it does. I don't plan to have it happen to us.

Fargin' Gremlins.

In other news, the Cote Carnival to fight MS was this afternoon, and it was great. It was nice to wish a couple of our recently-traded guys well (RJ Umberger and Triston Grant). I also got to congratulate Chris Therien (former Flyer and TV studio analyst) on his new job as the Flyers' radio color guy, and Flyers coach John Stevens (former Phantoms player and coach) on his recent contract extension. I'd call it a productive day. :o)

Oh, and as a bonus, who was on hand but former Phantom Dave MacIsaac! That was a pleasant surprise. That man has a *phenomenal* memory -- he hasn't played here in a good 9 or 10 years, but he still remembers Mark and me. I got to congratulate him, too, as he recently retired from playing and will be the head coach of a team in Danbury this season.

And, of course, Riley Cote was there. We wound up talking about arthroscopic knee surgery, since he's had both knees done and I'll be having my own knee done in about ten days. I have a little better idea of what to expect. Unfortunately, the recuperation period might entail a bunch of aggravation, but then again, I have no shortage of aggravation NOW. So my hope is that post-surgery, the end result will at least lessen the aggravation, even if it doesn't remove it entirely.

On the other hand, Riley has had both knees scoped and he's not only able to play professional hockey at the NHL level, he's able to maintain about as physical of a style of play as there is. He'll hit anything that moves. I won't be asking anywhere near as much from of my knee as he asks of his. My theory is that if his TWO scoped knees can perform that well for him, my one scoped knee will be able to withstand the demands of my very ordinary daily life.

I actually took a look through my blog, and to my surprise, I didn't post the results of the orthopedist's visit yet. I mentioned them on my twitter feed (see the upper left hand corner of the blog page), but somehow I didn't add a blog post with the info. So here it is: I have a busy couple of weeks coming up. Besides my rescheduled jury duty on Tuesday, I also have some pre-op blood testing on Thursday. On the same day, I have an appointment with my primary care doc so he can fill out a medical clearance form saying I'm healthy enough for surgery.

This is all because on August 28, I'll have arthroscopic surgery on my knee. The orthopedist will either repair the damaged cartilage, if it's the part of the meniscus that has a blood supply, or remove the damaged cartilage if it's the part of the meniscus that has no blood supply (and therefore cannot be repaired or heal). It's not obvious from the MRI where exactly the damage is, but he'll be able to tell once he goes in with the arthroscope.

He'll also take a look at the cartilage that's on the back of the patella (kneecap). If that needs to be smoothed out, he'll do that as well, which will extend the amount of time I'll need physical therapy. Given the symptoms I'm dealing with -- the specific situations that cause pain and the collection of sound effects that accompany my knee's movements -- I suspect it's extremely likely that the back of the kneecap will need some treatment.

I can't say I'm looking forward to surgery, but I *am* looking forward to putting these constant, annoying-as-bleep symptoms in the past. The past few weeks have been a downright pain in the nether end.

I keep getting distracted by the gymnastics on TV. I'd better hit "send" on this post. If I'm posting with only half my attention, I'm afraid I'll end up writing gibberish. Good night!

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Hat Trick wants to sign autographs when he grows up. :)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

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Little Mary's seashell collection. :o)

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I'm very happy to report that John R. came through the triple bypass with flying colors. I admit that I was concerned, given the other medical issues he is also dealing with (diabetes and kidney failure). But thank God, all went well, so now it's just time to recover.

And to impress upon him that if he doesn't follow his doctor's orders to the letter from here on out, his friends will kill him. ;o) This is nervous-breakdown-inducing.

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Hat Trick likes the half-sized ketchup bottle.

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Michele, Bryen, Mary, Connell and I have headed out to Brigantine to see Aunt Rita. Mark is holding the fort at home with the Pampered Cat brigade.

To my pleasant surprise, there is available wifi, so I can sit in Aunt Rita's den and check email. :o) I'm glad I brought my XO computer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

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Model of a knee. This is what your doc will show you when you do genius things like fall on escalators.



Any time a doc is showing you models of body parts, it can't be a good sign. ;)



DON'T FALL. Or, if you must fall, DON'T LAND. Trust me, your life will be easier.

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Paperwork

Weren't computers supposed to give us a paperless society? Then why did I have to fill out a ream of paper's worth of forms for the orthopedist's office? Doggone!
John needs some more testing done. The bypass might not happen until Thursday. Not sure if he'll have it done in the suburban hospital where he is now, or if he'll get transferred into Philly for the procedure.

Whichever option gives him the best chance of success is what I hope happens. The fact that he's got some other medical issues going on, along with the need for a bypass, should ensure that they double- and triple-check what they're going to do before they start the procedure.

In far less significant medical news, I was supposed to see the orthopedist on Monday, but they called me about five minutes before I was going to leave the house. They postponed my appointment until Tuesday morning.

Monday, August 11, 2008

John

I just got a text message that John R., who had a heart attack yesterday morning, is slated for triple bypass surgery, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

There are some additional risks attendant on surgery like this for a diabetic patient, so do please send all prayers and good thoughts that you can muster in his direction. Thanks.

He's only 46, BTW. Getting this news feels like being smacked with a baseball bat.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

John

Send some prayers for John R., who had a mild heart attack this morning. :( He's currently in the hospital that's near his apartment building.

Argh. A mega-pox on diabetes, heart disease, and the fact that the former can cause or exacerbate the latter.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The good news: the Wilmington Blue Rocks are playing at home tonight. The bad news: their game starts in ten minutes. We're close to Wilmington, but not THAT close. We'd need a helicopter to get to the game on time. Plus, there's no guarantee that we wont' encounter another sellout, because it's PERFECT weather to attend a baseball game. Taking SEPTA to CBP and finding out that the game is sold out is no real inconvenience, other than using up a few tokens we wouldn't otherwise have used. Driving to Wilmington and finding out that the game is sold out would be a downright pain in the rump, not to mention a waste of gas. So I guess we'll be watching some Olympic events on TV tonight.

Maybe we can try the Phillies game tomorrow, if we want to brave the possibility of rain. Probability, actually, since the sky's full of the cirrus clouds that generally mean "rain is on the way within 24 hours".

Darn.

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So much for catching a Phillies game tonight. Even the Standing Room Only seats are sold out. We're going to check to see if Wilmington or Camden is at home.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

The answers are in

Well, the results are in. The knee/ankle x-rays discovered a bone spur in the ankle. Considering the number of sprains that ankle has had, I'm surprised that's all they found in there. (P.S. Where was this diagnosis last December when I had a different set of x-rays on the same ankle?)

But the ankle isn't anywhere near the main source of the discomfort. The knee is, and the MRI found what the x-ray didn't. Torn cartilage, fluid in the joint, and problems with the patella (kneecap). Given the list of symptoms, none of this is surprising.

Frankly, I'm RELIEVED that there are finally names given to the reasons why the darn knee is perpetually giving problems. Next step: call the orthopedist for an appointment. Once he sees the MRI images and the written report, he'll have an idea of what to recommend as a course of treatment.

My primary care doc fully expects physical therapy to be part of the regimen. Been there, done that, and if doing it again makes things improve, I'm all for it. But as for the rest of the treatment options, that could range anywhere from a cortisone shot to surgery. Obviously, I'd prefer less invasive procedures, but I'm willing to consider anything that would resolve the symptoms.

Having answers is good. Coming up with a plan of action is even better. Tomorrow, the orthopedist's office gets a call and I get an appointment set up. Then I'll just take it from there.
God bless the writer of the attached opinion piece. At least someone understands what life with depression is like.

O.O

Chalk up another night of insomnia. But at least I wasn't awake because of the heat. The ice helped resolve that issue. So that's a Good Thing.

Brr

I exchanged the Magic Bullet for a new one on Wednesday. I also picked up an appliance specifically designed for making ice treats like snow cones or frozen beverages.

Two large glasses of shaved ice later, I feel a little chilly. Which is good, because the air conditioner is still not working right. I got zero sleep last night because the freaking temperature in this house was 81-82, regardless of what the A/C was set on. I don't forsee the same probkem happening tonight; if I need to cool off and the house is hot, another glass of snow-cone ice should resolve the issue.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Looks like I'm heading back to Target today. The Magic Bullet motor up and quit on me, eight hours after I bought it.

Aggravation...! I really liked the idea of having a small, one-serving-sized blender with a small footprint. In particular, I like the idea of the "blend it and serve it in the same container".

I hope they have another one in stock. The only one I saw on the shelf yesterday was the one I bought.

Shoot.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ha, I just found an additional use for the Magic Bullet. We had one banana left that was so old, it was getting ready to apply for a learner's permit.

Banana + the last of the vanilla Silk in the carton + chocolate syrup + ice = one cold, tasty, and relatively healthy beverage and no more ancient banana sitting around. And one less nearly-empty carton in the fridge, to boot.

:)
Over the past few days, I've discovered exactly one remedy for the "this house is a sauna because the A/C won't cool past 81 degrees" issue. Eating ice drops the core body temperature enough to make me feel better.

Unfortunately, I was afraid that this remedy would land me in the dentist's office if it caused any kind of tooth damage. So I got something that I've been thinking about purchasing for a while anyway. I got one of those Magic Bullet blenders.

Now I can make a mugful of snow, with or without extra flavoring like juice, and cool off without risking a visit to the orthodontist. :)
ARGH. I don't know what's up with the air conditioner, or the thermostat, in this house. Besides the temperature, that is. It's 81 degrees in this house, no matter WHAT the A/C is set on. I'm MELTING.

Monday, August 04, 2008

MRI

The MRI of what's left of my left knee is done. That wasn't so bad, though there were a few annoying moments. For example, there were a few times when I had a SUDDEN GIANT ITCH THAT I COULDN'T SCRATCH because moving would have spoiled the pictures that were being taken. Also, my knee tends to offer up pangs of pain if I sit completely still for too long, so toward the end of the test it started giving me exclamation points of discomfort. On the other hand, it didn't start aching from the immobility until nearly a half-hour had passed, so this issue could have been a lot worse. My lower back decided, in the final few minutes, that it wasn't all that happy with the enforced immobility either. Again, the test was nearly over by the time that symptom cropped up, so I'm thankful that any real discomfort I had only lasted a few minutes.

In a few days, I'll have an idea of just what's the matter with the knee. It's funny, earlier today I started thinking, "Well, things aren't that bad, maybe they won't find anything."

Then I stopped and thought for a moment. Hello? For years, it hurts in bad weather and sometimes it aches for no discernable reason, it's been murder to go up or down stairs since I fell in Louisville, I get pins and needles in my left foot since Louisville as well... am I that used to these symptoms that I'm starting to view them as normal? Note to self: don't go so far into denial as to forget that some of these symptoms just plain shouldn't happen.

It's time to get a proper diagnosis and a plan of action in place, *before* the symptoms graduate from "annoying on a regular basis" to "causing severe problems on a regular basis".

If you want my advice, though, here it is: DON'T FALL. Also, IF YOU MUST FALL, DON'T LAND. Just keep those two precepts in mind, and you'll save yourself a whole bunch of aggravation.

RX

Priority One: pick up MRI prescription from primary care doctor's office. Good thing I called ahead of time; they're closed from 1-3 today. I saved myself a wasted trip, now that I know to avoid those hours.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Posting from the bank of the Schyulkill River

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We took our OLPC-XO meeting outside. It's a beautiful day.

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wifi

Good GRIEF, the wifi access at 30th Street Station is botched up today. This is making our OLPC XO meeting challenging, as we're tryng to access online information. Tmobile and "Home of the Best CheeseSteak" are flat-out dead today, and Wayport is a fee-based wifi point. So is attwifi. FINALLY, Cosi's wifi became available and we logged on that.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Um, did I say that I wouldn't have insomnia tonight? Ha. Silly me. That was before I was up all night with knee pain. I have yet to fall asleep. #*$@%.

Friday, August 01, 2008

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Skyway ride (not sure why this wasn't sent the first time I tried)

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We're home!

I'm glad to report that the SkyRide was working fine on all counts before we left the park. :)

Boy, is my knee sore. I think I banged it on the Runaway Train roller coaster (one of the few coasters I can definitely ride without risking motion sickness issues). Oh, well, it's worth it. I took some ibuprofen when we got in the door.

I also had to fix my glasses. I'd noticed over the past few days that the glasses sounded funny when I folded/extended the arms, but I couldn't see where the problem was. Well, when I took my glasses off in advance of the log flume, suddenly the right-hand-side arm was VERY loose and I could see quite clearly where the problem was. One of the screws was halfway out. EEEEK! What timing! :P So my glasses made it on a wing and a prayer through the rest of the day, and fortunately, the screw stayed in place and didn't get lost. I needed my jewelry-making needle-nose pliers to realign the arm properly, but between that and the glasses-repair screwdriver, I managed to get the screw back in place. Note to self: stop falling asleep while wearing the darn glasses in the first place, and these things won't happen.

Good news -- this is one night that I DEFINITELY don't think I'll have insomnia. ;)

Off to catch up on mail, etc. Later!

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What's wrong with this picture?



Notice that two cars are NOT MOVING. Not even a little bit. Yikes.

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WHEEEEEEE! :)

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I just realized that the last time I was on this log flume, Joe J. could still walk. :( I don't even think he had started using a walker yet.



It was a deaf-blind group outing on Deaf Awareness Day, I think in 1990. Doggone, it's been a while since I was at this park.

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Whee! :)

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Mark and Hat Trick on the ferris wheel

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Emus

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Referee. Oops, I mean zebra.

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A giraffe walked past our car.

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Ostriches

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Elephant

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Elk in the Safari Park

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Yay

Mother Nature can make up for her Sunday tantrums by cooperating today, when Mark and I head to Great Adventure. Haven't been to that park in eons.