Thursday, December 27, 2012

What You Do...Does Matter!

Do not despise...small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.  Zechariah 4:10

Against a towering giant, a brook pebble seems futile.  But God used it to topple Goliath.  Compared to the tithes of the wealthy, a widow's coins seem puny.  But Jesus used them to inspire us...

Moses had a staff.  David had a sling.  Samson had a jawbone.  Rahab had a string.  Mary had some ointment.  Dorcas had a needle.  All were used by God.

What do you have?  God inhabits the tiny seed, empowers the tiny deed....  Don't discount the smallness of your deeds.

Max Lucado in Cure For the Common Life

The above was my devotional for today.  It made me think of several of my friends that feel their current "calling" in life doesn't mean much. 

Whether it is wiping noses and butts, cleaning an office after hours, picking up trash and so on, if God asked you to do those tasks....don't discount the smallness of your deeds.

I think all of us that have a personal relationship with God, wonder from time to time what in the world our purpose on this world is.  As in how could He use little old me to change His world?

But David didn't question his purpose when he went after Goliath.  I truly believe the widow didn't move the coins between her fingers trying to decide if she should give her final monies...she just did it because she knew God.

Friends, EVERYTHING you do is important.  Every sock you wash (you know who you are when you read this....), every trash can that gets emptied, every coffee cup you fill as a server, all of it is important.

You are being used by God.

This is a good word and full of truth.

So Amazed that once again....God speaks words of love and encouragement!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Knee Surgery: Pics and What You Need for Rehab

Night before surgery: my right knee is marked by the surgeon at the pre-surgery appointment.
At home, I had a sterile gauze over the incision with this fish-net stocking to keep the gauze in place.
Twenty-five staples held my 6-inch incision closed.
 I have really thick calves and knees so I was surprised the incision wasn't larger.

My mode of transportation for about two weeks was the walker.
  Actually, it held me up and my legs did the transporting.
Ultram, Extra-Strength Tylenol and Oxycodone were on board for pain during the first two weeks at home.
TEDS stockings to prevent blood clots.
I wear these every day and take them off at night.
Another preventive measure against blood clots is Fragmin (medication). I was not forewarned that I would be giving myself injections of this medication for 12 days. If Kidlet Three can give himself insulin shots in his belly every day, I can give myself a shot for 12 days. It hurt and my belly looked like a bruised battleground at the end of the deal.
We kept my meds and instructions in a container on the cupboard.
My mom stayed for two weeks and was so good at keeping track of my meds and giving them to me on schedule.
I have to say that I really didn't have a whole lot of pain and I believe it was the good nursing care I had!
This is a physical therapy belt.
The first couple of times I went up and down our 14 stairs,
this was tied around my chest and The Husband
held me from behind to prevent a fall.
  I also use the belt to lift my foot when getting into the car
(and for the first 2 weeks, to lift my leg in and out of bed).
This is a wonderful aid when your leg doesn't lift by itself!
Ice packs. Two of these nifty ice packs were sent home from the hospital with me.
They slide into the blue cloth bag pictured under the pack.
I continue to ice several times a day even one month after surgery.
Two wonderful-I-can't-live-without aids in the bathroom:
 an elevated toilet seat and a shower chair.
Flowers, cards, phone calls, emails, text messages,
and meals mean so much during the rehab after surgery.
Here is my 'thick' leg one-month after surgery.
 The staples were removed at two weeks and steri-strips
were placed over the incision. Only one strip has fallen off.

 I'm to leave them alone and let them fall off as they get loose.

It was extremely hard for me to look at my leg with the staples in.
 It made me queasy for some reason!
Now that the staples are out, it isn't so bad to look at.
After surgery, the knee doesn't want to bend.
The whole rehab process is forcing the knee to bend (ouch, ouch, ouch).
 One of the exercises I've started is sitting in the glider rocker
with my feet on the ground and I rock....
forcing the glider to bend my knee.

I also sit at the edge of our bed and let the knee
and lower leg dangle. This really causes a stretch.
 After a couple of minutes I try kicking the leg a little.

Laying on my back with legs straight, I try to bring
my heel to my butt. It only moves a couple of inches now.
You know the has to bend more!

There are other exercises, too.
For about a week and a half I've been using just one crutch.
 I walk, walk, walk around the house with the crutch.
In the kitchen I have set the crutch aside and
 use the counter for support as I do dishes or cook.
  I don't want to lose my balance so I keep the crutch close by.
I also continue to elevate my knee higher than my heart.
 All pillows in the house are stacked on my bed and
 I pull my leg up onto the stack. I lay back with no pillow under my head.
 If there is any swelling in my foot or knee, it all goes away after this procedure.
There you have a one-month look into total knee surgery rehab for me.  I know other people may be further along or behind where I am in my bending, but this is what is up with me.  In another month I'll be returning to work so I have a lot of exercises and bending to do to be able to even drive.

Happy New Year!
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Black Cloud

A black cloud came rolling in last night.  Tears, frustration, and hopelessness came in that cloud.  It has been three weeks since my surgery and I've been attached to a walking device every single day.  I am unable to bend my knee without tension nor can I completely straighten it.

For some reason sleep evades me.  In the past, I'm the one that can fall asleep anywhere and at anytime.  Not now.  When you have a leg that doesn't move when your brain asks it to, getting comfortable is hard.  I think fatigue is a huge factor as to why that black cloud came rolling in.

Thankfully I am not one that normally has black clouds roll in.  In fact, this is probably the lowest my mental attitude has ever been.  So it is unnerving to me and I decided to fight it.

I've downloaded the Bible to my iPod and as I go to sleep, I play the audio Bible.  So far I've listened to the entire book of Psalms.  Last night I started listening to Proverbs.

This morning as I realized the black cloud was still with me, I decided to make a thankful list.  With tears streaming down my face, I made a list that started with this:

  • I'm thankful I have legs that will walk normally in the future
  • I'm thankful I am not paralyzed
  • I'm thankful that I have made progress since the day of surgery
  • I'm thankful this dependency on a walker or crutches is temporary
  • and so on...
Once I got started on the list it was easy to keep going and list several dozen things I am thankful for.

Here is the really good part.  And I promise this is the truth.  As I was working on that Thankful List, the doorbell rang.  I was in my pajamas (yes, even at 11 am) and my hair was sticking up all over.  Grabbing my crutch I hobbled to the front window to look out and a flower-delivery-truck was sitting in the driveway.  Now the person at the door started pounding on the door.  See, there was a blizzard today and this poor delivery person was freezing outside my house.  There are nine stairs that I have to go down to get to the front door so as I started hobbling, I yelled as loud as I could "I am coming!!!"

Opening the door I could see icicles on the man's eyebrows!  I apologized for taking so long with my crutches, he handed me the package and quickly ran back to his van.  Somehow I got that package up the stairs with my crutch! 

Inside the package was a beautiful Christmasy flower arrangement with a card from a friend.  This woman knows I had surgery three weeks ago but she sent the flowers today.  The card read

I hope your recovery is going well.  Take your time.  Merry Christmas!

Oh friends, I believe God gave that friend a little nudge this morning to send me flowers.  On the day that I needed HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT the most.  God has done this for me in the past and I just know He was involved in this today, too. 

The black cloud has been replaced with a new desire to do my exercises and pursue complete use of the new knee I've been given.  I have hope and a vision for the future.

If you have a black cloud, I'm praying for you.  Praying that you will have an experience with the Loving God that I know.  He loves you like crazy!

Today, I again was...So Amazed!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hobble-Fest at Our House

Kidlet Three's surgery was successful yesterday.  In less than an hour, a small plate was screwed into the growth plates on both knees.  This plate will prohibit growth on that side of the femur, forcing the bone to grow on the other side of the leg.  His knees are growing together (knock kneed) and this procedure will correct that.

Coming home from the hospital, Kidlet Three's knees are ace-wrapped.  He cannot bend either knee. As soon as we got into the house, he grabbed my walker.   The walker I've been using to hobble around the house in my rehab!  He is so much stronger than I so arm wrestling to determine who gets the walker isn't an option.  I gave him the walker and I graduated to crutches.

Last night we both were up walking around the house in what can only be called a Hobble-Fest.  Walker and crutches, hobble, hobble, hobble.  No one exceeded any speed limit.  No one tried to pass in the no passing zone.

We just hobbled. 

We hobbled around the table, down the hallway, turned around and repeated the hobbling.

This morning we've hobbled together once already. 

Kidlet Three and I think we should make a video of our Hobble-Fest.  We could sell it as a comedy DVD for post-surgery patients to get them laughing.

Wise words state:  "A cheerful heart is good medicine..."

Watching our Hobble-Fest would definitely give a cheerful heart and possibly bring a quicker healing. 

So Amazed at how God is healing the knees in our home!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kidlet Three's Surgery

Kidlet Three is having surgery on Tuesday, Dec. 17.  It is the month for knee surgeries.  He'll be having plates placed by his knees to straighten his legs as he continues to grow.

Please pray for a quick recovery for him and no complications from his diabetes.

I'll be hobbling along with him using my walker.  He'll be coming home using crutches. 

Too bad we already had our family Christmas picture taken.

Thank you!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vacuuming - Helmets are Required

The following account is true and can be verified by witnesses.

The Husband accidentally tipped over a poinsettia plant and dirt spilled onto the carpet.  He began trying to scoop the dirt from the light-tan carpet.  In unison, My Mom and I screeched:  Don't scoop, you'll rub it into the carpet...get the vacuum.

Begrudgingly The Husband got the vacuum, plugged it in and quickly cleaned the carpet.

I bet you are wondering why I stated in the title that helmets are required?  Here is the answer.

Switching off the vacuum, The Husband grabbed the cord and gave it a quick, hard tug.  The plug flew out of the outlet and right up to The Husband's forehead as if there were a target there.

In the blink of an eye there was blood running down The Husband's forehead. 

For the past week The Husband has a sore on his forehead as a reminder of that vacuum cord.

He thought it would be funny to send an email to friends giving his side of this story.  His moral to the story was that he should never vacuum again.

There were several people that encouraged him to walk to the outlet and unplug the cord. 

Many opinions and suggestions were given to the The Husband, none of which confirmed his I shouldn't vacumm anymore...

My favorite answer will become the moral to this story:  Vacuuming - Helmets are Required

**Just a funny, true story to bring a chuckle to your day**

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2-week surgery appointment

Today was the second day of leaving the house.  I had a 2-week follow-up appointment with the surgery team.

But before I tell you about that appointment, I have to give a shout out to my parents.  They live in the Northern Frozen Tundra and came down while I was in the hospital.  Dad left my mom here and Dad went back the North Country to hunt.  He calls several times a day to check on my mom and us.  I know he misses my mom and I am so thankful for their marriage and their relationship.  It is really precious (and sweet)!

My mom has been staying with The Husband, Kidlet Three and I.  She has done our laundry, cooked meals, wrapped Christmas presents, kept track of the many meds I take, cheered me on, warned me when over-doing, and much more.  We have prayed together many times and I will cherish that forever. 

Dad and Mom...THANK YOU!!!  Thank you for sacrificing your time and activities in your lives to help us out.  I cannot say thank you enough!!!

Highlights of the 2-week checkup:

  • The physician's assistant held my heel and pulled my leg up in the air and he said it was almost all the way straight.  He seemed impressed with that.
  • My knee will bend to 90 degrees, which is exactly where it should be at this point in time.
  • The next month is critical for me to keep doing exercises to prevent the scar tissue from like freezing the knee in a certain position.
  • Sleep has become a problem.  I just cannot get comfortable with a leg that I cannot move.  I admitted to the PA that I took an Oxycodone last night just to sleep.  He kind of looked at me and asked how much Oxy I'd been taking.  I told him I'd quit taking it three or four days ago because the pain wasn't that bad. He kind of chuckled and said...take the Oxy!  Most people need it for the first month post-op.  As my leg/knee continue to gain strength, my ability to move in bed will get better and I won't have the discomfort.  He felt getting sleep was important right now. 
  • The nurse came in to take out my staples.  She said, "Oh you have such a small incision."  First thing that has ever been called small on my body..ha! ha!
  • The staples were removed (yes this hurts.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise but it is a quick procedure).  Steri-strips were placed over the incision until they fall off.
  • The nurse went looking for my wheelchair at the end of the appointment.  I told her I walked to the appointment and she looked at me dumbfounded.  Her words:  No one two weeks after surgery has ever walked up to their appointment.  They all use a wheelchair because this is a long walk!  My whispered answer:  WAY TO GO, GOD!
After the appointment, Mom and The Husband and I did some Christmas shopping.  It took a lot out of me to walk more but I did it.  We were gone about three hours.  When we got home, I needed a nap and I slept 2.5 hours!  Without an Oxycodone!  Thank you, Lord God!

As you have read this blog and perhaps have prayed for me, I want to say to you:  THANK YOU.  Thank you for partnering with God in my recovery. 

I remain, So Amazed, at the God of this universe.  For His compassion, mercy, healing and love in my life.  May you know Him in this way, too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Walker Bells - A Knee Surgery Song for Christmas

(Sing to the tune of Jingle Bells...)

Today I left the house
For the first time in over-a week
Since my knee surgery
And my leg that will not bend.

Slid down the stairs on my butt
My mom took several pics
Bent that knee till it hurt a bit
To get into the car


Walker bells
Walker bells
Went to get some soup
Pushed that walker into Panera
Collapsed into the chair.

My walker holds me up
Keeps my balance so I don't fall
It has green tennis balls
And has become my friend.

I know our time is short
As crutches are calling my name
After that a cane I'll try
But for now I use my walker


Walker bells
Walker bells
Got me out of the house
I'm thankful for the time I had
My songs are really bad!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Total Knee Replacement

Today is day eight since my right total knee replacement surgery.  I have had such peace through the whole adventure.  Here are a few of the I-Know-God-Is-With-Me-In-This tidbits.
  • I was the first case of the day. 
  • The anesthesiologist that came into pre-op had been personally contacted by a friend of ours that worked in the Department of Anesthesiology and he wanted me to have the best care. 
  • Went into the OR at 7:30 and was sleepy by 7:45.  I woke up at 9:05 as I was being wheeled into the recovery room.
  • I could move my toes and feet immediately and the recovery room nurse had never seen a patient be able to do that.
  • My total time in recovery:  40 minutes.  I got the "quickest patient out of recovery" award from my nurse and she called me amazing (credit to God for that).
  • Bed pans are a great therapy...after using one a couple of times you REALLY want to be able to get out of bed.
  • To prevent blood clots, I had to learn to give MYSELF a shot of clotting-prevention medicine. 
  • The physical therapist met with me two times on Friday and I was up walking.  S-L-O-W-L-Y
  • The nurses and I had great fun together.  I had the same nurses during the day and nights.  The night nurse called me Spunky.
  • Pain medications do wild things.  For me it was waking up with songs going through my head. I kid you not.   Here are the song phrases I remember waking up to:
    • Burn, burn, a ring of a ring of fire
    • blooded, check it and see.  I've got a fever of a 103..(the nurse sang it all night after I told her I'd been singing it)
    • Call me maybe...
Now that I am home, the real work begins.  My quadriceps (the thigh muscle) is like a cement block.  I look at my leg and say "move" and nothing happens.  There are exercises that I do two to three times a day to encourage my quadricep to wake up.

Today I put a cake pan on the floor and put my right foot into the pan.  I'm trying to use my foot/leg to push the pan.  This really works the quad and exhausts me!  I can barely push the pan from my kitchen to the TV in the livingroom without collapsing to catch my breath.  Isn't that weird!

Also, my knee bends to about 75 degrees.  It needs to be 90 and better to be 'healed'.  This is accomplished by bending and holding the knee several times a day. 

Swelling.  This has started to be more of an issue to I sit with ice packs.  I've also started elevating my leg way up in the air (trying to get my leg higher than my heart) and ice the knee for 20 to 30 minutes.

I was going to post pictures but Blogger tells me I've exceeded my photo limit.   Once I've figured out how to add photos, you'll get to see my 25-stapled knee.

More updates to follow in the next days.

Thanks for praying for me...I have certainly experienced the answers to those prayers!

I Remain...So Amazed