Mr. Neil Liam Kneeson Noonie, welcome to the family!
It’s January 19th and I have received one of the very best gifts this past holiday. I waited patiently all year, for several years actually. Many of you waited with me, watching the struggle in my daily life over the past several months, especially those who I work with at the Opera. The times co-workers would unsuspectingly stumble upon a stubborn and defiant Lori walking down the hallway, on crutches, with a flimsy paper cup, half full of hot coffee tightly clinched between my teeth, bound and determined to get to my office in the morning come hell or high water, crutches and knee be dammed. It is support and stubbornness that gets me through, with some doggie smooches thrown in for good measure.
On December 8th, just 43 days ago I went into the hospital for a total knee replacement on my left knee. One of the best surgeons in the area would do the surgery, but there were some major concerns. If my Rheumatoid Arthritis had destroyed the quality of my bone in my tibia and femur causing the bone not be be able viable to be fitted for a new knee I would not be a candidate for an athletic knee. Instead, I would receive a knee that would be cemented into place instead of basically hammered and fitted into place, a knee that would have less give, less flexibility and feel much less natural and quite possibly never be able to have any additional replacements as I grow older, which at my current age of 45 would confine me to a wheelchair at some point. This scenario terrified me, it laid heavy on my mind and I prayed for viable bone.
My surgery was scheduled for 1:00pm, I was to be at the hospital at 10:00am, it sounded like a dream really, not too early, because it took be forever to get anything done, like showering, dressing so the thought of having a little more time put me at ease. My phone rang at 7:10am, I thought it was my alarm, I kept trying to turn it off and it pompously kept make that awful noise. I finally found the phone to my ear and a very perky woman answered, ” It’s Ginny at the hospital, there have been two surgeries cancelled this morning, would you like to come in early and get started? Can you be here in 30 minuets?” I am trying to unscramble the words coming at me, but the thirty minute thing was not going to happen. I could barley get myself sitting up in bed, feet on the floor in that time frame, but even in my haze, I wanted to be the model patient, so I found a way to clear my voice of the night time gravel and spoke clearly “I think I can be there in half hour or shortly after.” It was such a soft response, so very different than what happened in the next thirty minuets. The still sleepy dogs were up and out the back door to potty before they new what happened and I think poor Tully actually lied back down in the middle of the back yard in an attempt to go back to sleep. I wobbled around, ignoring the pain, no one has time for you right now, I thought as I shoved clothes into my overnight bag. Then I frantically begin calling my friends asking if they can get to the hospital sooner then planned, this had to be similar to the frenzy people experience when giving birth. I might not be having a baby, but I was getting a shiny, new, titanium, bundle of joy who I would name Neil (kneel), Liam Kneesom, Noonie ( new knee).
I chose to have a spinal tap, nerve block that comes with a side of the anesthetic, propofol, instead of traditional general anesthesia with a breathing tube. I have a history of puking on nurses in recovery with the general method, nothing puts a stop to the party like a groggy, puking, crying, hysterical patient right out of a Grey’s Anatomy rerun to get things going. The spinal tap was the way to go, I woke up and the first thing I asked was if my bones were rotting and did I get the athletic knee? The nurse laughed and said she would check, turns out my bones were much better than suspected and I did get an athletic knee! So I ordered an apple juice, ice chip cocktail to celebrate and waited for my room to be ready.
I have to admit I remember little else until I was settled into my room on the 7th floor, which is a whole unit devoted to total joint replacements. Groggy, I drifted in and out for most of the evening, and really don’t remember anything much till the next day. I would spend four days in the hospital, they had me up the very night of surgery walking and I started physical therapy the next morning. I would have PT twice a day, each day I was in the hospital. I worked very hard, the words of my surgeon would play in my head much like my favorite pop song on repeat, “I do 20% of the work in replacing your knee, Lori. You do the other 80%, in your rehab and physical therapy. It’s up to you how well the knee works given there are no complications.” I took those words to heart, and reminded myself often, the power of succeeding was up to me.
Thanks to the help of my fantastic support team, the transition home went very well. I have the kindest, most selfless people in my life, “on call” if I need them for anything at all, my work family started a lovely meal drop off system which has been a life saver. Bob has been a real trooper through it all and thanks to my first two weeks of hard work with Art, my in home physical therapist, I was ahead of the game. After just two weeks I achieved 96% bend back in my knee and was just 3 points from being able to have my leg completely straight. My third week of PT would change from in home care to going to a physical therapy facility. The last three weeks have been a lot of hard work but I am very proud to say that on Friday I achieved 120 degree bend in my new knee, ahead of the game I am still committed to working hard my remaining three weeks of PT. Below are some pics, some are a little graphic, but not too bad, just bruises and glue basically. I was amazed at how good it looked when you think they basically saw your knee off and began prying it out! I am seriously considering getting my right knee replaced sooner rather than later.
The new year is here and with that comes the time I like to open all the windows in my house for just a spell, despite the cold, frigid weather, letting the stagnant, stale air be replaced with a new untrodden, and exuberant breath of life into my world. I wish that for all of us, as we begin another year, may we all find kindness for those around us, happiness and health!
If you are so inclined, and want to make a donation to the fabulous Recycled Doggies, maybe $7.50 in honor of how long my scar is, or $22 for the number of incredible nurses who took care of me during my stay, or go crazy and do $120 because even though I still have 2-3 weeks of PT left I have already hit the goal of 120 degree bend in my new knee, now that is something to celebrate. No matter the amount, Recycled Doggies puts every single penny into saving the dogs who are on death row, giving them hope, and showing them unconditional love. <3
click the link below to make a donation with your credit card using paypal.
Now here are some pics that will tell the story! 😉