Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rainy Day -- and the Beat Goes on

Today continued the long countdown to surgery. It's life in the waiting room -- prolonged and tedious. Appropriately, it rained all day, ranging the gamut from drizzle to downpour.

Cheerful, huh? Hard to squeeze much joy of walking into such a slow day, but a little flitted into view as Superdawg and I walked between the raindrops. It was a flock of bright yellow birds -- little birds. I wish I was a skilled enough birder to identify them with certainty, but I am thinking they were either Hooded Warblers or Common Yellowthroats.

They certainly brought a welcome dash of color into a drab day.

As far as the Countdown to Total Knee Replacement (TKR - minus 4), it occurred to me yesterday that it is too late for me to chicken out. Yesterday, a representative of home medical supply company visited our home and fitted me for a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine to use post-op. Designed to increase range of motion, it automatically moves the new bionic knee at increasing angles of flexion. My instructions are to use CPM a minimum -- minimum -- of 6 to 8 hours a day, for 2 hours at a stretch, throughout the entire day. And I am to start with the knee at a 45-degree angle, increasing at least 5 degrees each day, until reaching a 120-degree range of motion.

Wow. But rigorous physical therapy is key to making all this worthwhile, so I will be serious. I am told a PT will get you out of bed no later than the morning after surgery and start kicking your butt, figuratively speaking. Bring it on. "Dancing With the Stars" is waiting for me. The PT will also follow you home and lead you through more exercise for a week. Then you will do PT on an out-patient basis at a clinic for two months. Wow.

I also was fitted for a walker with front wheels, but I hope I can quickly ditch it for a handsome cane or walking stick. That's my schtick, after all -- Walking Stick, don't fail me now!

Just thinking back over the past few weeks, I've also had a visit with my orthopedist at which an MRI of my defunct knee was taken, along with lots of x-rays of the leg; a hospital testing visit where all manner of blood work, an EKG, and a chest x-ray were done; another visit with the orthopedist's office, during which a PA went over my complete medical history; and another pre-op visit at the hospital, when (after a 90-minute wait) a nice nurse went over all my directions for the Big Day -- when to show up, what to bring, medications to take, meds not to take. . . .

Yes indeed, I think it's too late to chicken out -- not that I would want to do so. I consider this my best shot at remaining a very active old geezer and avoiding wheelchairs, nursing homes, or other snares of old age. I think it is a cost-effective procedure if it keeps you walking instead of occupying hospital beds.

And so the beat goes on. And the waiting.

© Robert G. Holland  2013

(Photo from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

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