Friday, October 23, 2015

23 October 2015 - part 2

Several people have told me I have the best view in the hospital. Only the night crew got to see the Halloween snow live. It was fun. Today has been gorgeous with a cloudless blue sky. The sun filtering thru the changing trees has been especially lovely. 

The chaplain stopped by today. She's sweet. 

Another woman visited this morning with, for me, odd questions. Among other stuff she said three words which I had to repeat. The words were sock, blue, and bed. I didn't say anything, just pulled my feet out from under the blanket. It took her several seconds to catch on.
I think the woman was evaluating my mental condition.

Once again I was in agony with gas pains. I skipped the morning therapy. Eventually I got a pill for gas which helped a little. Meanwhile I figured out that I could upend myself without hurting the new knee. That got everything moving. TBTG. I could power several days of the new London bus.

Bronnie stopped to deliver my laundry.

I still can't get my leg flat. Still 6°. Bend was 118° tho. We walked down to the chapel so she could see how well I handle carpet and single steps with the walker. I have permission to take 2 strolls per day without an escort. Yea. 

23 October 2015

No, I didn't vanish or move to the other side or croak. Tuesday was a zoo. Among phone calls, visitors, therapy, nurses, aides, meals, meds, the machine, etc. I was tugged in all directions. And I'm not sure what happened when so I'll leave this as it is, a compilation.

The highlight of the day, or night, was my elimination problem. Not. Monday night I was in absolute agony. A case of almost but not quite had me extremely uncomfortable - actually in great pain for several hours. Sitting or even lying was a literal p.i.t.a. Warm prune juice, some bubbly stuff from the doc on duty and lots of effort eventually remedied the situation resulting in a plugged toilet and flooding the next day. Wow. I'll spare the details but it was spectacular.

Trying to get my Percocet settled was a nuisance. I was arriving at therapy already in pain. Nurses were arguing with me and everyone else about the dosage and times. Lying about the pain level didn't work because it panicked the nurses. It and I were a mess. Finally the therapy people got together with the nurses and got it settled. Percocet certainly doesn't make life painless. Sometimes I wondered if it is helping at all. I'm unwilling to try without it. For now. I might be crazy but I don't think I'm stupid.

Meanwhile the therapy people decided I would go downstairs at 9, 11 and 1:30. So when could I do the hellbender for two hours? I settled that. 5 1/2 hours out of 24 wasn't that big a dent. Of course the machine doesn't bother me. I go to sleep.

Thursday was relatively quiet. After therapy they decided I should stay a few days longer. I still can't get my leg to lie flat without intense pain. Not surprising to me since I have been babying it for a year or more, especially since July. I will go directly to Dr Anderson to get the staples removed then, assuming all is well, home. I can't say I was disappointed. I would rather be in their care as long as necessary. Besides the food is good and friends visit.

Bronnie was here when I got the news and took my laundry home. Jim B visited for awhile. Jim D brought me some cider in the evening. I kept falling asleep on my visitors. They really aren't boring. I just can't stay awake very long. When I wake up for meds at 3 am I have no trouble going back to sleep.

Meanwhile I've modified my eating. I don't need a full meal three times a day when I'm mostly just lying around. The choices are tempting but cereal for breakfast and soup for lunch are more than adequate.

And then there is the toilet paper. Just getting a new roll started takes enough for a couple of wipes. Strings of tp really don't do the job. If you don't get enough, you might poke a finger thru the wet paper. Icky! Apparently everyone complains. I can't see the economy in cheap toilet paper. What should take a half dozen or so sheets often requires many times that. Is cheap paper really 60-80% less than good paper?

So on to the day. Apparently Friday is team spirit day. Lots of Steeler stuff.

Monday, October 19, 2015

19 October 2015 #2

Lunch is yummy today. Fruit and cottage cheese. I'll munch away on the salad all afternoon. They forgot the coffee tho.

The importance of keeping a regular regimen for meds is obvious today. My Percocet was an hour late. At least they gave me two. The attempt at therapy may have made it worse. I don't think there is much less pain two hours later than there was before. Frustrating for me and for the therapist. I seem to have at least as much pain now as I did several days ago. That is discouraging. Yet yesterday morning I had far less than now. I don't understand.

It doesn't matter if I'm trying to press the leg down or not. Lying with it extended hurts. The muscles on the back of my leg are being stretched and they hurt - both up and down. The muscles at the outside of the knee hurt. Everything about the knee hurts and makes me cry involuntarily eventually.

I did three steps today. No problem except whatever pain.

Jim is coming this afternoon and will take my laundry home with him. I think I'll ask for a gown to sleep in tonight. I don't expect him to walk it back this evening.

A dietitian came in earlier wondering why I was on a low carb, low fat diet. I explained that the diabetic diet had too many carbs. They will let me choose what I want to eat as my choices are at least as healthy as the prescribed.

19 October 2015

Happy Birthday, Ginny in North East.

Up and on the machine a little after 5 am. I wish I slept this well at home. But then, maybe I would if I could shut my head off. Getting meds with the midnight gang is easy. They know what they are doing. And with the exception of Jenn who is off today, they are my favorites so far.

100° on the machine. 20 to go. One of the night gals said I'm to up it 5° every day. I'm doing it every session because that's what I understood from Edgewood. At my rate, the max will be reached tomorrow. From here I think the swelling is keeping me from much improvement. There now are outlines of a knee visible. The colors don't seem to be in any hurry to disappear however. It's hard to keep ice on it.

I have to call and cancel one of my two Anderson appointments today. I'll find out about the new knee. I'm curious to know what it is and how heavy it is.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

18 October 2015 evening

I have so much to learn! After the machine my calf was sore - muscle soreness - and tense. So when the nurse asked my pain level and I said 4 or 5 she got all worried about a blood clot and went to get help. Fortunately in the 15 or so minutes it took for someone to come and look, the knot in my calf went away. Apparently it was a cramp which is quite ordinary for my legs and feet. It seems I have to be in serious trouble before they will give me 2 pills as the therapists think I should have. Another thing to mention when I call the doc tomorrow. I was warned by Edgewood to call them if I have anything unusual happen because MMC will throw me in the ER and we'll have all sorts of other problems.

So I finished my lettuce salad bit by bit while on auto-exercise. I had saved graham crackers from lunch and milk from supper too so I've been munching all evening. I also have some ginger ale from this afternoon. Come tomorrow I suppose everything will change as we go on a "normal" schedule. I'm enjoying the vacation from dishes and choosing what to nuke from the large selection of stuff in the freezer. I just circle what appeals to me and it appears the next day as if by magic.

BUT I don't enjoy the politics. The therapists don't want me to have any pain that will interfere with their work. One pill every four or five hours wasn't adequate so they told me to take two. Getting the nursing staff to give me two is almost impossible obviously. If I say I have enough pain to warrant two they get all frantic. For the life of me I don't understand what is so great about Percocet or plain Oxycodone. They dull the physical pain but they certainly don't seem to affect my mood. Why anyone would jeopardize life and/or freedom to get the drug escapes me.

Meanwhile sad that the Cubbies lost. Tonight doesn't look any better. Baseball should be over by 1 October at the latest. Having football, baseball and hockey going at the same time is financially wise? Actually having separate facilities for football and baseball is a massive boondoggle usually at the taxpayers' expense. The leagues are playthings for their owners. Taxpayers shouldn't be buying toys for the people who can afford them otherwise.

There is a man on the corridor who has been coughing loudly for 15 minutes. First patient I've heard. Hope they can take care of him. I haven't gotten a roomie yet. The bed runs regularly even tho there doesn't seem to be anyone in it. Haven't noticed a ghost either. Doesn't bother me but seems a waste.

I miss Tim snuggling next to me on the couch.

18 October 2015

Grea-at day! So far. Big goal met so I'm a bit lighter. And my leg bent to 102 and straightened to 7 which was so much better than the 15 last night. So 18° and 7° to go. Hopefully swelling is part of that. There are finally the outlines of a knee. There is still much muscular pain. And according to the therapist a lot of blood to be eliminated. The extensive bruising reminds me of my encounter with the bird feeder years back. I can probably find that photo if anyone is really curious. My entire lower leg and part of the upper are covered with "bruises" which are actually just leaked blood. Pretty impressive.

The sun has revealed itself again. Pretty trees outside my window. Weatherpeople say the temperature Tuesday will be 20°F warmer than today. Northwestern Pennsylvania fall. Means nothing to me I guess. All night there were huge snowflakes illuminated orange by the streetlight just in time for Halloween. At one point I really wanted another photo and had the nurse close the door which was reflected in the window. Of course it quit snowing then and for the rest of the night when I was awake. I didn't look to see or ask if the white stuff had accumulated at all here in town.

Breakfast included a bagel on which I could put real butter thanks to Shirley. Bronnie brought some too so now I'm set. I don't eat the phony stuff. And there was a real serving of eggs this morning. I wish there were some sort of breakfast meat on the menu but there isn't. The meals are good.

I rarely order anything with gravy out because the stuff is usually very salty and sometimes full of MSG. I suspect the kitchen got complaints about this meal. I wrote them a note saying how pleased I was. The gravy was tasty and the pork was fork tender. The asparagus was just right and so were the potatoes. The taste is good to me but probably not to others who prefer the taste of seasonings to the taste of the real food. I wrote a note to the kitchen people. Then just now the dietician came to collect the menu and it is a gal who used to sing in my kids choir. I've been thinking about her but I was under the impression that she had moved away. I had supper with her cousins in San Antonio in June.

The local priest visited and brought me communion even tho she isn't my priest. She witnessed a disagreement with a nurse and taught me what I need to do to get around that. We don't know if there is a communications problem or a staff problem but I had to ask three times and wait half an hour to get the pain pill. Then she only gave me one. I now know how to work around her. She just introduced me to the next nurse. 

A therapist came around about 1:30, suggested I go on the machine at 2 and said she would come back. She reappeared at 2:40 but I had done what we had agreed to. She seemed surprised and pleased. I'm learning to not wait for these people. I wish I didn't have to be escorted to the bathroom.