Friday, May 30, 2008

Update on Jackie

Uh-oh. I'm referring to myself in the third-person. That can't be a good thing. I want to thank Sydney and all of the commenters for this week's posts and all the activity. Tremendous! But me? Argh, I've been so out of it that I didn't realize last night was the Lost finale and I missed it. Grrr.

I apologize for my absence This is a hard recovery and it's tough to get through. It's definitely a major surgery. It's hard to explain how every little thing I do tires me so even though I still can't sleep more than three or four hours at a time.

For example, my home health care physical therapy visits ended yesterday. So, today I had to arrange for my out-patient physical therapy, dealing with both my insurance company and the PT place. It wiped me out. I promptly fell asleep for three hours.

Yesterday I had my last PT at home visit, had to organize all of my leave of absence and short term disability papers to bring to the doctor's office for my early evening post-op appointment. My friend Barbara brought me to and from the appointment. I managed to sit in the front seat of the car, something I couldn't do when she picked me up from the hospital. We also stopped at a store so I could refresh the juice, beverage, and bread department in my kitchen. I was up and at 'em and on the go from 8:30 in the morning until I gt home around 8:30 at night. I collapsed and fell asleep before 9. I was awake again before Letterman ended.

The knee itself is coming along well even if my energy levels are depleted. The staples came out yesterday and the doctor took x-rays. Both the doctor and my in-home physical therapist are thrilled with my progress. Before the staples came out yesterday, I could bend the knee 75 degrees. Upon leaving the hospital last week, it was only up to 60. I'm more pleased with the strength aspect -- I can see that improving daily. I do exercises three times a day which work on both strength and range of motion. (Then I conk out.)

Good news is that I don't have to pay $20 co-pay for my doctor visits anymore as I'm post-op. I go back in three weeks. The bad news is I have to pay a $20 co-pay each time at the physical therapist and that's three times a week. I know I need it and they have equipment I need to improve, but that co-pay wasn't that much the last time I went through PT. Sigh. My first PT appointment is Monday.

Then there's the Coumadin thing. That's for the blood clot and to prevent more from forming. Like Charlton Heston in Soylent Green yelling, "It's people! Soylent green is people!" -- I want to yell, "It's rat poison! They're making me take rat poison!" Until recent years, the drug (Warfarin) was indeed rat poison. It was the one which used to make the rats bleed internally and die. That's why I have to have blood drawn each week to test in case they need to modify mt dosage levels. I will be on the drug until mid-August.

So I can't get cut or bleed (or have to rush to the hospital) due to the Coumadin. I also have to let them know I'm on the drug. Possible side effects besides bleeding to death include gangrene and something called "purple toes syndrome." I don't dare have any infection or fever because the knee surgery can easily be infected. If that happens, they take out the knee, give you a spacer, then put another knee in within six months or so.

I've had an open scabbed sore on the back of my calf since the surgery. It was starting to look infected over the weekend. I thought of going to the ER, but instead bandaged it and put some Neosporin on it for a couple of days. While I know the Coumadin is slowing my healing, the therapists, visiting nurse, and doctor all thought it looked acceptable, so I guess I did the right thing.

My cat Scherzo (Skirts) has been a blessing through all of this. While she might not have liked being boarded, I couldn't have boarded my cat Teaser (who died in November). Teaser's health was too iffy and he stressed out too much. Skirts wasn't happy, but was physically fine upon returning home. Teaser also always was leaping on me and I don't think I could have handled that. Skirts has definitely grown closer to me since his death, but she still isn't a lap cat. She loves to curl up next to me, perhaps put her chin or her paw on my lap. That is comforting, but not painful.

Well, right now I know I've been in one position too long since my knee is screaming at me. I'm still on the walker although I can do crutches, too. I tried to use a cane in the apartment, but found it a bit unstable. I don't dare fall. But if I'm in one position too long, it definitely makes me get up and move. And ice it down.

I hope I caught all my typos in this and thank everyone once again! Below is my knee without its staples -- I gained a good half-inch of skin space!

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

My friend is on Coumiden (however it's spelled) and he is doing okay. Watch the purple thing even around the ankles, and get that blood tested. You want to be sure the dose is just right and you will be fine. Better get yourself one of those pretty silver medical tags or bracelets just in case. Hope you feel better.

Auntie Leigh said...

Jackie's back!!! Woo Hoo! Since I am a nurse, I am tempted to give advice but I must admit you seem to be doing everything by the book and don't really need any more advice. And all your fans seem quite sensible and realistic with their suggestions. We all missed your comments but Sydney really held the fort.
Oh, and I sure agree that Fri is the very worst night on TV. The only thing I tape tonight is Best Week Ever. That show is a crack up.
So, keep on keeping on Jackie. It is a tough recovery but you can do it!

Anonymous said...

Jackie,
So glad to hear how you are doing! We have all been worrying about you. Isn't it something how that silly little show has brought so many people together? Hope you feel much better soon!

Jennasmom

jef said...

Jackie,

It's okay to refer to yourself in third person, but don't make it a habit or we'll wonder if aliens have gotten our Jackie. You are making wonderful progress it sounds, though I'm sure it isn't fast enough for you!! My mom has been on coumadin since her heart valve replacement 6 years ago, and has her blood tested every week. She says it's like playing blackjack, only she tries to stay between 3 and 4. One week it is too thick, the next it is too thin, and every so often it is just right. Keep up the good healing, and know you have a huge fan club.

Julie

PS: As my doctor would say, "Your wound looks great."

Zoetawny said...

WHOOHOO!!!! ((((Jackie))))
What a great surprise to see a post from you. :) I've been so concerned about you. I understand what you're saying about every small effort wiping you out. Major surgery seems to have that effect on most people. The lack of energy will subside over time and you will be up to speed before you know it. I'm happy to hear that your OS and PT think you are making good progress.

I know the precautions while taking Coumadin is bothersome but you are resilient and will deal with it just fine. You are too funny screaming "rat poison". Just think of it like Botox...a toxic poison...but has other worthwhile effects. And "No!" I don't recommend it. I have every confidence in your determination to get your life back even better than before.

The paperwork is daunting especially since you have to do it all for yourself...not an easy task when you are not feeling up to par. My husband was lucky he had me to deal with all of the endless forms, appointments prescriptions and other issues after his serious back surgery. And, he didn't have to go to the grocery store to get what he needed to feed himself. ;) You are doing amazingly well.

It's good you have Scherzo to comfort you and keep you company. She's just what you need now.

I know it wasn't easy for you putting up a post. It was such an uplifting surprise to "hear" your voice again. Please take care of yourself first.

Sydney has been such a positive energy here on the blog and is doing a great job. Besides, we have such a great community and many posters are keeping things fun and interesting.

Sending hugs and positive thoughts for a smooth successful recovery. Jackie ROCKS!

Sydney...

You ROCK, too! LOL Can't wait to hear what you thought of SATC. A friend of mine saw it today and loved it.

lynn1 said...

Jackie,
It was such a wonderful surprise to find your post and updated photo.
Glad to hear you are making great strides in your recovery.
Listen kiddo you have had a major surgery which is going to zap your strength. Trying to deal with insurance paper work is enough to exhaust anyone.
Please be careful with the crutches. I tried to use them and nearly broke my neck, not to mention put a hole in the wall when I fell while using them. They are a lethal weapon in my hands! I am sure you much better coordinated than I am.
Hope that you will continue to improve and feel less tired soon.

Anonymous said...

i'm so happy to hear you are doing better...please take it easy, tho
HAPPY HEALING!

joyzjenn

dla said...

Great to hear of your progress, Jackie! Take it a day at a time, and at your own pace!

Sweet dreams, if only for a few hours! :)

pepsip said...

Your cats sound exactly like mine. My one cat , Fritzi,( she died last Oct. at the age of 22) was always on my lap.She loved to be held and slept with me every night. My other cat , who was never that affectionate, has been been very cuddly since the death of Fritzi.

Happy to hear that the knee is progressing well! Take it easy and get plenty of rest!

SueGee said...

Glad to get your third person update :o) and to hear how well you are doing. The absolute lack of energy right now has a lot to do with the anesthesia (that can take months to totally get out of your system) so be patient and that too will pass! I think wanting to get back to "normal" is the best motivator there can be!

delee said...

JUST great to hear from you Jackie. Love the Soyent Green reference and rat poison.

Yes, it is an ordeal, being tired is nature's way of saying, "Whoa slow down". Sorry to hear $20 co-pay, but think if you had no insurance. Your strenght will come back little by little.

Pix of healing knee looks good. Did you keep the staples? LOL Take care and heal, also try to get some fresh air when weather allows.

I still have not seen many season finales, have them on tape for boring rainy days.

delee said...

PS...Friday is not the only wasteland for TV. Tonight looks bleak.

Animal Planet
9 Groomer Has It

Sunday many news shows starting will post Sun am.

Susan in FL said...

Good to hear from you Jackie. My husband has been on coumadin for years (and will be on it for the rest of his life) and he goes to the VA every six weeks now to be tested. The sleep schedule probably has something to do with you med schedule - every three to four hours, yes? Continue your amazing recovery.

TerryinCA said...

Oh Jacks! So glad to hear from you girlfriend! I love Skirts and the love she bestows...she could be aloof and that would be hard...and any Roofus sightings at all? He probably senses you not taking pictures of him.
Im so sorry this is such a long daunting process.
At least you do know with following all the docs/pts advice you will get better....
You are loved and thought of so often. You just rock to even send us such a nice,informative note. It was so good to see you in first secondor third person, who cares as long as we HEAR FROM YOU!! Heck I'll take 8th...is that possible?
Im hooked on Bachelorette thanks os much for making a chat space for it.
Laurie and I had awesome times in Alaska...and its good to be back. I did the Zip Line and she did the heliocopter...we both felt we moved out of our comfort zone for sure!
Hugs and love,

sharon said...

A nice surprise this morning,to hear from you,Jackie. It seems that all is going as it should and even though it is tiring as all get out and sometimes the cures are as bad as the ailment,it will just be a distant memory soon.The knee does look good for what it's been through...lol.

I have always been amazed at the sensitivity of animals. When I was sick or sad or depressed,there was my Sadie,curled up and purring by my side. And the dog comes in and lies at the side of the bed. They just know and,to me,they can turn the sadness to at least bearable.Nothing like a warm,purring kitty to comfort one.

Friday and Saturday have always been my catching up on Netflix nights. I am so far behind on those and I've bought about 6 new DVD's I haven't even watched yet.So I guess rerun season will be good for something,I can catch up.It's finally warming up here,thank God!!!

Sydney said...

Wonderful to get a long update, full of info and still -- laughs. When you told me they took your staples out of course I was trying to picture how you looked now, so it was great to see you'd posted a picture of the progress. Did it hurt to have them taken out?

Glad that your PT and doc are thrilled with your progress. It's sounds like you've been really good if you're doing exercises 3X a day.

You'll be up and photo stomping before long. But for now, those tricky crutches...

It was comforting to read so many commenters have experience with coumadin sp) and that your cat has been being a good companion. The sleep thing has to be hard, but like a new mom, getting it wherever you can has got to be enough for now, and hopefully things will get dramatically better as the meds shift.

Anonymous said...

Jackie, I do not mean any disrespect honey for I love your writing, butI had to put my two cents in. Coumadin originated from Golden Clover, a plant. Did you know that? Without it the risk of that blood clot killing you is incredibly high. I thank God for the scientist who figured out that animals bled when eating the plant, and created a way to titrate the effect so we dont die from fairly common things. I know the drug companies are bottom feeders, but 100 years ago, you would have been disabled from your knee. Instead, you are fortunate to get your life back on track with what medicine has to offer. ANd we all benefit from your coming back, for you are pure entertainment....

joy n said...

Jackie, great to hear from you. Loved your side effects list, "besides bleeding to death", etc. Glad to see that "losing your sense of humor" isn't another of them. The knee looks much improved in this pic. Any progress is good. Maybe the pace will pick up a little quicker now that the stiches are out and the skin has knitted together. Hope your energy comes back soon, also.

We're all pulling for you!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie, I dont take coumadin but another blood thinner. I just started to take the blood thinner about 2 months ago and of course the first week home from the hospital I cut my finger. It was only a little cut but it bled for hours. My doctor recommended a septic pencil. Here in California you can find it with the mens shaving equipment at the grocery store or drug store. It only cost 1.39 and is like a big piece of white chalk but it works. You just wet a little and rub on cut. Maybe it could be of use to you if you have a slight mishap and will help so you dont bleed to death. It was a scary thing when it wouldnt stop bleeding. I am glad to here you are getting better. Keep up your good work. Karen

Delee said...

Happy June 1st to all, hope weather is changing for all.

Here are your Sunday new shows and some are NEW:

8-9
CBS- Million Dollar Password/Regis Philbin

8-11
TLC- Running of the Brides
Rock the Reception
Made of Honor
included these as they are NEW

10-11:16 yes 76 minutes
USA--IN PLAIN SIGHT Cristian De La Fuentes and others

10-11
FoodTV--Next Food Network TV Star
this can be seen various times thru-out the week if overload for tonight

10-11
E 2nd week of Denise Richards/L Lohan

Enjoy, we needed some NEW!

meb said...

Good Morning Jackie (and all). I finally got my computer back, so can post again. It took a while to get it acclimated to being in use again I guess, cause nothing would stay on for more than 2 minutes and I couldn't get your site up long enough to read the posts. I finally left the computer on and when to bed and this morning, everything seems to be working fine. YAY.

YAY too that you are well enough to have written that long and informative note to us. Thanks, cause as everyone said, we missed you and we worried. Sounds like you're doing very well, so I won't give you any advice... For one thing, I have NOT been there and I have NOT done that, no surgery of any kind, but I have to say, even tho everyone says your knee looks good, it sure looks like it was painful! Anyway...WELCOME BACK. Write when you feel like it.

delee.. Password and In Plain Sight look like the ones I'll be watching tonight for sure.

Later

Delee said...

Meb, glad you are back on-line, it amazes me how when your puter goes down, how much you miss it.

My lap had to be sent away for 2 weeks for repair, I tried for one day without it. Ran to Best Buy and bought another.

Beautiful here today, sure it is in Jersey too, hope Jackie can get out to a bench to soak up some sun! :-)

RyzandShyn said...

((Jackie))..OMG...what a recovery process you have in front of you!
It sounds like things are progressing though, so chins up :).
A dear co-worker is recovering from knee surgery now also, and those PT co-pays are killing her as well. Thing is, that's the recovery "trick", so you have to get there.
My thoughts and prayers continue to be with you and your recovery.
Remember, I'm here in NJ, Bergen County, and can be of service if you need me.

Donna in AL said...

Jackie, great to hear from you! Glad you are doing so well. I am sure your kitty is such a comfort to you. My friend says her dog has been there when no one else was, thru break ups, wagging her tail everytime she walked in the door and listened to her worries and sobbing. Animals truly are (wo)man's best friend.

I take a baby aspirin a day and I bleed like crazy with just a scratch. I can just bump my arm and blood pools under my skin like elderly people's does. Getting older is not easy for me, I am not used to being careful.

Thank you Delee, I just autotuned my Direct TV to Password and In Plain Sight. I agree with Friday night except I love Ghost Whisper. Saturday night has absolutely nothing on to watch. I even searched pay for view and found nothing last night! I found College Women's Softball World Series on ESPN and since I played for 30 years (retired 4 years ago)that was entertaining. My favorite of course is the University of Alabama. Roll Tide!

I am going back to the Lost post to make a comment on it, too.

Tom`S said...

Good morning to all.

Jackie, we've missed you, its a long recovery process, you sound determined, thats great.

Hang in there!

Tom`S

Delee said...

MONDAY

ABC
10p "What we have been waiting
for..." The Mole
Bachelorette on 8-10

MTV
10p Legally Blonde 'the Musical'
like Grease last summer.

meb said...

Thanks delee for reminding me about the Mole. I forgot it was on tonight! And of course, the Bachlorette, so that takes up my evening.

delee said...

Meb, why I am doing this!!! HaHa

Sydney said...

YAY!!!! The mole and the Bachelorette!!! If Jackie is still resting I will check back in later and will put up the Bachelorette comment area for live bloggers and comments....

meb said...

I did watch Password last night and thought it was pretty good. I'll probably watch it if nothing else comes on in it's time slot that catches my attention.

In Plain Sight... watched also. I'll give it another try. Too much information packed into too little time. And if it's so hot where they are, why is she wearing extra layers of clothes.

Christian (DWTS) did an ok job. I just thought a lot of the whole thing was too silly. Don't like it that her partner seems to do the grunt work while she's out there running all around doing everything else.

Like I said, I'll give it another try, but I hope it gets more serious. Witness Protection is serious business... after all, what one character's line was: "You're the one who lets killers go free". Something like that, and the statement is true. Scary when you think about it.

Nana in the NW said...

Good Monday morning!!! I am beginning a crazy, busy, week! Thanks, delee for the TV Guide...I would have missed The Mole! I meant to record In Plain Sight. Hopefully, missing the first week won't confuse me for the season! LOL In need a few minutes to sit down with my TV and get it programmed for the summer.

Today I'm making "Field Day" T-shirts for 3 classes at school. My grandson comes tonight for the next 10 days while his mom goes to Europe. I'm still working on decos. for my Line Dance event. I spent most of the weekend making native costumes and a 7 ft. giraffe!! Now it's drawing paw prints on clear contact paper, making "native" jewelry, and snakes. Yes, I should learn to say "no" once in a while! Sat. is the big event and then I can rest.

This past weekend was our local Relay for Life. I walked Fri. night with some of my friends from line dancing that are cancer survivors. It's a really moving experience to watch the survivor walk the first lap. The leader was a little 8 yr. old girl who that day had been told she was cancer free after months of treatment!!

Gotta run will check in tonight for The Bachelorette.

How was everyone's Sex In The City movie night??

meb said...

nana in the nw... you just wore me out. I have to go home and rest.

RBennie said...

Hi Jackie! Glad to hear your recovery is coming along so well and so quickly. It might not feel that way to you, but you are doing remarkably well.

Thanks for the Mole reminder Delee, I would have forgotten. I forgot about In Plain Sight, but I watched the new Food Network Star show and it was pretty good. They had a lot of the most popular Food Network people on and its always fun to see them interact together.

I would love to hear what people thought about "Sex and the City". Just don't give away any of the plot, I haven't seen it yet, LOL.

I know what you're thinking MEB, spoiler girl doesn't want to hear any spoilers, LOL

Margo said...

Jackie-

I'm glad you are doing so well with your PT. I know how important it is to keep up with your excercises so I made a donation to help with your copays. Keep up the good work!

Margo

meb said...

Good one rbennie... I like that "spoiler girl". I may have to call you that from now on. Never watched SATC on TV and no desire to see it in the movies. I never cared for Parker.

And Margo, I love that name. My first name is Marge, but I sometimes would get Margo if they couldn't read my handwriting. I never corrected anyone.

joy n said...

Meb, I thought I was the only one who never watched $&TC on TV and for the same reason.