Monday, August 04, 2008

OFF TOPIC: The Park, the Ducks, the Health

If you're looking for Big Brother content, please check back later. Right now as I post this, the HG are all still asleep. This post is off topic as far as BB or television goes. Read on at your own risk. ;-)

I can always tell when a delivery truck from Brooklyn is in the Jersey 'hood.

Last week when I went for my weekly blood draw (see below), I went for a visit to Mindowaskin Park in Westfield. It was only a few blocks out of my way to my planned Trader Joe's visit. I had a bottle of water with me, but alas ... no food for the water fowl. It turned out the lack of food didn't matter.

Fake Dog Island

This is apparently an effort to keep the geese off one of the islands in the pond. There are fake dog cut-outs and chicken wire. Um, okay. I'm not sure why it's so bad the geese gather there -- no people can get on the island anyway. They don't allow swimming or boating although I see traces of fishermen.

Look! Ducks! I sat long enough on a park bench that they thought it was safe to emerge from under the bushes. Of course, they thought I might have food for them. But little did they know I just intended on shooting them ... with my Canon PowerShot A560, that is.

This sparrow wants to be a duck when he grows up.

Silhouetted by the water's edge.

Please give me food.

Ducks don't sit down gracefully. They sort of thunk to the ground. It reminds me a bit of fainting goats, but they don't fall over.

Are you happy to see me or is that a duck on your foot?

Yes, this is my operative leg. And, yeah. Ducks kept sitting on my foot. Thunk.

Are you sure you have no food? I'm so adorable, you know.

This is the photo of the day which I think came out best. I know ... I already posted it on a BB entry.

Uh-oh. They're following me!

As the guy on the bench laughs at the ducks following me, I just wonder how my cat would react to a half dozen ducks hanging out in my apartment.

The Health Report
My knee is coming along. The bend is very good -- up to 125 with 0 degrees extension (that means I can straighten it entirely). There remain some pain, instability, strength, and balance issues. Alas, my Blue Cross Blue Shield only covers for 20 physical therapy visits per calendar year no matter if it's a major surgery needing lots of PT to rehab or a minor one or more than one surgery per year. The doctor and PT have sent in medical documentation and information on my case attempting to appeal for more PT. My PT has offered to give me sessions at cost, but I can't afford more than one per week even at that low rate. Hopefully the appeal will result in more visits covered by insurance and a co-payment from me.

My other knee (originally my bad knee, operated on in 1998) has been causing issues. As soon as my orthopedic surgeon thinks the left knee is strong enough, he's going to try to help with the right. No, not another knee replacement -- hopefully something a bit more conservative! However, surgery isn't totally off the list.

I fixed up my old exercise bike and my goal is to do five miles a day on it. I don't do it every day, but I usually get 2 or 3 miles in on off days. I've been trying to do without any pain meds, but fear I'm going to break down and ask the doctor for more. There are other issues besides the new knee itself. For example, I managed to drop a 2 liter bottle of Diet Ginger Ale (it's not any less heavy due to it being diet!) and the cap part struck my ankle as it landed. Due to the Coumadin/Warfarin, I bruise easily and tend to bleed under the skin. As a result, now my ankle is swollen, bruised, and tender. Tylenol doesn't touch the pain. So, it's probably best I get more meds. I hadn't been using them except for PT and occasionally at night.

Although I'm walking with less pain than pre-surgery, I still can't sit or stand for extended periods without going stiff and painful. That's been a problem live-blogging the BB reports and writing the two long show reviews for TVS each week. My knee also gets real hot when it gets mad. I guess it's a bit like its owner, eh? My other big problem is that I've somehow taken to sleeping on my side with my knee bent. When I awaken, I have to slowly and painfully extend my leg before I can get out of bed. With that experience, I know a trip to the movies or long car ride or air flight aren't a good idea.

As for the Coumadin, actually Warfarin as I'm using the generic, bleh. The other week my INR levels were out of whack and my health certainly suffered. They lowered the dosage and I'm feeling a lot better. It still seems to make me tired (although that could be a residual from the surgery, too) and food doesn't seem to taste as good as it should. I've lost 15 pounds, which is good. I'll be happy to get off of this in December. My arms now have track marks and bruises all the time. I'm awaiting the police to stop me thinking I'm a chunky junkie.

On the other hand, sometimes I can just enjoy a walk in the park again. Although I can't recommend knee replacement surgery and a DVT as a way to escape the office ... those times are nice indeed. My stress levels are SO much better!


Sydney said...

THank you Jackie -- I think we all welcome your other news, of all kinds! I am so glad to hear the cumadin has been brought down and that is making you feel better overall... but then there's that nasty brusing at the ankle. Geeze, i bet you will be so glad to get off the stuff, and hey, it's already days into August, so maybe the time will arrive sooner than later. I think you're past the halfway mark on taking it.

I too am glad you got to the park, it's my favorite thing, and nothing brightens my mood more than seeing ducks and squirrels, especially the ones that follow me. Sounds like that, plus sunshine and fresh air, were good medicine.

Thanks for all this, and will look forward to more, when the bod permits.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear your update, Jackie! Hang in there! This growing old stuff is for the birds! Oh, if our bodies could just be 20 again and our minds stay where they are! I'm tired of the snap, crackle, pop every time I get out of a chair!

Always enjoy the photos. I get a kick out of ducks! Any updates on Roofus?


Jackie said...

I only go by the train station one day a week and haven't seen Roofus. I've certainly looked each time. But I'm at a different hour than when I used to regularly see him and I don't even take the train back home, so it's one shot a week not two.

I walk the half-mile to the train station on my blood draw day (Thursday), but end up taking the bus home.

Sydney said...

Also Jackie -- maybe it's not been fun but congrats on losing 15 lbs. That has to be a little from also riding the bike and walking --which is more strenuous than normal. Less wt. has to be good for the leg... and for any follow up with the other knee. My husband now feels it in his other knee too, as is expected. I can't believe you got up to 125 degrees now though. They said most people are lucky to get 90 back!

Jackie said...

The 125 doesn't come without pain. Comfortably, I do about 118. I still have problems with the Baker's Cyst on the back of the knee. My orthopedic surgeon said he was expecting about 110 while the PT set his goal at 120. So, I've exceeded both. Now, to get strength and stability more on track!

Laurie said...

Yeaaah Jackie. You are doing great. I love the duck pictures and I'm so glad you have them at your beck and call. They are so gorgeous. Thanks for all you do and know we are all thinking good thoughts for you.

lynn1 said...

Congratulations on the progress you have made. I hope you insurance company will agree to let you have more PT. I strongly believe that PT is very cost effective and the insurance folks should understand that.

Thanks for sharing your amazing photos. You have an artist's eye for photography.

PlaidChick said...


When I saw the duckies my thoughts was: "I wonder what kitty would think if you brought home Aflac and his friends?!"

Well I can tell you from my FIL's perspective he's on Coumidin and Topamax following a stoke 5 years ago and a few seizures that his taste is out of wack. He too bruises easily, as do I since having gastric by-pass. There's not much you can do.

Sounds like your knee is inflamed, and no, no amount of Tylenol will help that. I don't like taking pain meds anymore than I have to, but take it if you're in pain.

Hey I bet JessMe hits your weight loss this week!

big hugs

RBennie said...

Thanks for the update Jackie. I know it feels like an uphill battle, but you'll make it over the hill soon. I enjoyed your pictures so much. Its amazing how close the ducks let you get. Keep up that great progress and I hope the insurance co. antes up.

Anonymous said...

Its great to hear your doing better Jackie!..I love the duck pictures, by the way hows Roofus the cat?
-Jamie Mae-

Anonymous said...

thank you so much, Jackie. I hope you realize how special you are. I just spent a week in the hospital, thanks to coumadin, and first thing this morning I started reading and trying to catch up on your blog. I don't join in on conversations but do enjoy reading them. Hang in there. All will be better with time or so they tell me. Again, thank you, Pat

sharon said...

Thanks for letting us know how you are progressing,Jackie.Having the surgery is such a small part of the healing process,but your strides seem to be really good.I wish you didn't have that cyst and the blood clot to add into the mix,but all in good time. We just feel very lucky to have you back with us.

I just had the weekend from Hell,health-wise. I was so sick,I thought I might die. Chills,fever,throwing up(dry heaves...yuck)and then to top it off,I just found another lump in my neck,but on the other side. I have a call in to the doctor,he said to call right away if I developed any more bumps. Hopefully they will get me in and I'll not have to wait weeks!!Keep me in your prayers,everyone,please!

monty924 said...

How cute with the Ducks! I can see them following you as you try to get on your way. You obviously have a way with animals... they are drawn to you and your camera. I love it.

Thanks for the health update and keep plugging. Peace, Monty

Laurie said...

sharon, you are in my thoughts.
I just got over a week like that and mine turned out to be a UTI. Hope yours is something that can be taken care of and that the lump is nothing. Meanwhile, you are in our prayers!

becky said...

Jackie, best wishes for your continued recovery. Insurance companies can, pardon my language, suck. I wish Congress had to get by on the same coverage and benefits that mere citizens do. I bet things would change health coverage wise in a New York minute.

Loved the pictures. Oh, and one question -- have you seen Roofus lately? Oh, went on down and see someone else asked and your replied. Nevermind.... LOLOLOL

TerryinCA said...

Lordy,Lordy Jackie...your knees and general situation with the dreaded HMO's are concerning me big time. I worked in health care 20 years and I do know those appeals can work eventually, just hopefully in time for you to benefit from them.
I love Trader Joes's too!!
My daughter is here only two more days then she flies home...also I lost my two day a week nanny job (they cannot afford me now)so its back to the drawing board for me...
Please take care of yourself, and thanks so much for the cool them

Anne said...

Hi Jackie,

Dropped a few bus tokens in your PayPal account - my way of thanking you for all of the time and effort you put forth keeping us entertained, informed and providing us with a safe haven (no matter how crappy you're feeling).

You are one special lady - keep fighting the good fight!


Nancy said...

Jackie are you sure you didn't feed the duck's? The whole bunch was following you I would have caved in and feed them they were so cute. Glad your feeling better hopefully it will continue everyday.

joy n said...

Jackie, I had no idea you would have this long healing process to endure. Sounds as though things are going well, albeit slowly. I hoped you would somehow feel more normal, more quickly than you have been. Knock on wood, I've never had to experience anything like that, and have to say, I hope I never do after hearing about yours. And now the other knee is acting up again. You must feel like you're on a seesaw at times. I really wish for you a speedier recovery.

On the other hand, how wonderful that you have Mother Nature in all her glory within visiting distance. It has to cheer you up a bit to sit (and walk) with ducks and sparrows among the trees and ponds and have the opportunuty to take the beautiful photos you show us. The ducks are obviously very comfortable around you for you to get those fantastic close-ups. You have many talents and we are so lucky that you share some of them with us. Those pix are a definite day-brightener!

Sharon, hope you have good news coming again. I'll be thinking about you.

Meb, still thinking good thoughts for you, too. Miss ya!

Susan in FL said...

MEB, Sharon, Jackie - good grief girls, we sound like a bunch of old gimps instead of the scintillating, sexy sirens I know we all are. Good wishes to everyone for a speedy return to positively radiant good health.

Petals said...


Getting on late, so I ditto all the good thoughts and wishes. And I love the ducks following you!

Prayers to you for a continued speedy recovery. And as always, thanks to you for all the updates.

Quixotic Elf said...

Hey jackie! Iknow I don't write much but I always check the site. I hope you finish healing quickly. I love the duck pics and the photo of the day is a great picture. Keep the OT pics coming. I've always enjoyed your photos. Take care! <3 Quixotic Elf

Judy/JKSP1957 said...

Jackie, sorry to hear abt the pain & problems of the knee. But, it will get better in time. You will be dancing a jig, pretty soon.

Let's name your new ducky friends,, Lucky Ducky's, and your Kitty will just think of them as LUNCH:)

Auntie Leigh said...

Hey Jackie. Haven't had time to stay up with all the coments but I find that I am more interested in you and the ducks and your recovery than the stupid show. Thanks for keeping up this space and sharing your own personal drama.