Friday, February 5, 2016

Knee Surgery MY Point of View

(Avon Park, FL) Lo 48 Hi 54--  This blog is going to cover the daily activities of having knee surgery but we must establish something first. I'M not normal. For those that know me, you'll understand. My body chemistry doesn't like to be messed with, no drugs, nothing more than an Advil for pain and nothing that's going to change the integrity of getting well.The pills that a lot people take won't work with me. For instance iron can cause constipation, in me it's the opposite. Pepid can prevent ulcers in surgery patients. I can't keep it down. There's so many meds that I can't take, so I had to stay on top  of every med and know exactly what was given.

When did I know it was time to have knee surgery? The MRI showed lots of damage to meniscus and arthritis. When taking a step, the knee gave out. I'd try to stand from a chair and it wouldn't be there so I fell a lot. The bone on bone was painful to walk, it helped with  a knee brace (over the counter), but it was beginning to hurt in bed at night just rolling over, another sign it's time. The cortisone shot lasted 18 months, so that helped, but it was beginning to let me down again.

The knee surgery starts with consultation with a surgeon. Our primary doctor sent us to Dr. Tahri Chaudry in Sebring, FL. He has great reviews and the best results reviews. I thought surgery would be mid February but he made an appoint for preop for the following week.. At Preop there's tons of paperwork,  all the blood work, the chest xray, and lots of background history. I had to discuss prior surgeries and anything they needed to know to prevent something happening. One thing is the anesthesia always makes me sick and I also have a problem with a locked jaw. There's also exercises to do before surgery, I wish I had more time to do those looking back. Try to get at least a month of exercises before surgery.

The surgery was at 7am Monday, January 18. There was a team of four doctors that came up to ask questions and they all took note of the paperwork they had from preop. They wheeled me into surgical  but after that I have no idea what happened. I didn't have a mask put on, no needle for drugs but I was out cold before I realized it. I normally remember the dreams when I'm put under, I sure didn't this time. I also didn't get real sick coming out of recovery, another first. It was 11:30 by the time they woke me. The nurse said I was very hard to wake me up. That's normal. The rest of Monday I don't remember. I used the pain meds too much on monday thru the night and got very sick, so no food on Monday or Tuesday. Nothing stayed down. The feeling from the knee is interesting. There's no feeling and you can't pick up your leg. You have to use the other foot to pick it up and swing to the other side of the bed. The pain wasn't as nearly as bad as I thought it would be.You're not to press the button for pain unless you're above an 8 level. I learned that the second day. My tolerance is high, so an Advil worked well.

The little circle is the drainage tube. That came out on Wednesday. .

The cryonic is for cold compression. It was to be filled with ice every 4 to 5 hours. Keeps the nursing staff hopping. The swelling was kept to a minimum and I really never had a high level of pain except when on the CPM.

On Tuesday I was on the CPM (Continuous Passive Machine)  for a couple hours twice during the day. I had to be up to 90 degrees before they let you in rehab. It moves the knee very slowly up to the degrees set. This is a deal breaker, but I did find out I did a little more pushing then required, but I also got thru it faster. I got the machine to 0-56 on Tuesday.

Wednesday I took no pain killers so I got to eat my first meal. I sat on the side of the bed. The first session on the CPM machine 0-65 and second time was 0-80 but couldn't take it so pulled back two degrees to 78.

Thursday I was walking across the room and got up for bathroom breaks all alone. I did exercises most of the night to strengthen the quads and the back knee muscle.  The CPM machine was 0-100 with NO PAIN at all and by evening I was up to 0-112 with moderate pain, but nothing excruciating.

Friday was a turning point. I got up in the middle of the night and the floors and walls were moving.  I really felt bad and very weak. It was determined my potassium was way to low and with several blood test, that was the culprit. Potassium thru and IV really hurts, it's very thick. The level was 2.2 and it has to be at 3.5 to 5.3.  They blew  the vein in the right arm and no one here could find a decent vein in the left arm so they called in a specialist. He got here by midnight and put in a new line. I had eight bags of potassium. It took all day and night Friday and Saturday. I was feeling decent by Saturday evening, but then the fever would appear every afternoon and break in the middle of the night. . I would have 99.9 fever but when it comes to 4:00 in the evening it would spike to 101 or 102. All kinds of tests were done. I  also have shortness of breath and labored. I had  CT scan of the chest checking to be sure no blood clots in the chest area. They checked the heart for anything possible. I was going thru all kinds of prods pokes and urine samples, along with cultures. The cultures were little bottles that look like hot sauce. They grow after 24 hours if you have infections. They start at 24 hrs and takes up to five days. It was determined I had pneumonia right out of surgery then bronchitis.

Saturday, the surgeon came by and wanted to know why I was still in the hospital. He discharged me on Friday for rehab. The hospital lung Dr wouldn't let me go till the fever was normal for 24 hours. He didn't want me to go to rehab then back in hospital so I had to wait it out. I had antibiotics and nebulizer to breathe. I was trying to cope with the knee and trying to breathe. I had to appetite and very labored breathing.

I have a couple pictures not for the faint of heart, but I want a reference point. I'm laying the knee sideways to show the back part black and blue area.

Straight out.

My first walk in the hallway.

The leg feels funny, very heavy and very hard to lift. Once in rehab that is what they work with.

I finally got to rehab on January 22. More to come.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Update On the New Knee

(Avon Park, FL)  Hi 68  Lo 43 -- I was hoping Dee would be writing this week's post, but unfortunately she's still not up to it. She's battling a bout of bronchitis she developed soon after she arrived at the rehab center. Breathing difficulties and fatigue has tormented her for the last 5 days. We just have to wait for the virus to run its course. Meanwhile she's still been having rehab sessions, and she's doing very well in that regard.

Another update will be posted next week. Hopefully by a rejuvinated Dee. See you then.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Knee Replacement Surgery

(Avon Park, FL) Lo 47  Hi 58 -- I want to give everyone a quick update on Dee's knee replacement surgery. Last Monday we headed to Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring at the not-fit-for-humans hour of 5am. She went through the pre-op routine and was in surgery by 7am. The surgery went extremely well and she spent the rest of that day recovering from the anesthesia. On Tuesday morning she sat up on the side of the bed and later that day had her first session on the continuous passive motion (CPM) machine. (We call it the "torture" machine.) This machine attaches to her leg while she's lying in bed and slowly moves her knee up and down (about 45 seconds per cycle). This first session she her range of motion was 0-56 degrees. It was pretty painful for her physically, and painful for me emotionally. No one likes to see their loved one suffering. She had two-hour sessions on the machine twice a day on Wed and Thu, and the pain level subsided a little each time. By Thu afternoon her range of motion was 0-112 degrees, which is only 3 degrees below what's considered full motion. And she's walking around the room with a walker. Yay! She's very motivated, and I'm so proud of her!

Unfortunately overnight Thursday she developed a mild case of pneumonia and they also discovered she has a potassium deficiency. So all day Friday she had antibiotics and potassium pumped into her via IV. She was feeling pretty miserable all day, but started to perk up by Friday evening. She was scheduled to be released Friday, but that was initially delayed until today (Saturday). However, they want to make sure she has a good day today before releasing her tomorrow (Sunday) for a two-week stay at Oaks of Avon Park rehab center.

So that's a short review of our week. Hopefully Dee will be at her laptop to give you an update next week. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. They're working!

See you next week.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Busy Week - Tampa RV Super Show

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 74 Lo 61 -- It's been a very busy week. I've been going to pre-op appointments getting ready for my knee replacement surgery on Monday. Blood work, chest xray, EKG and tons of paperwork. With all that done we spent the day Thursday with Harry and Jessica at the Tampa RV Super Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds. We had free tickets that I won in a photo contest here in the park.

The Tampa show advertises itself as the biggest RV show in the world. The folks at the Hershey, PA RV Show argue that point, but the bottom line is the show is HUGE! This was one aisle in one of the two vendor buildings. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

The place was packed, and it was only around 10:30 at the time. More and more people came in throughout the day.

There are many street entertainers as you walk around the fairgrounds. This was a couple that showed off their rope tricks. It was fun watching them, especially the guy on the stilts.

Harry and Jessical were looking at class A motorhomes, and we looked at class C's and van conversions (class B). One new trend in class B's is sliding screen doors on the side. It looks like Jim's in jail and wants out. :)

The show was great but we were all tired after five hours of walking around. We headed home around 3:30.

I haven't posted much about the fun we're having in the park this year. We have a cards group that meets every Monday and Friday night.

I also play cards (Hand and Foot) with another group on Tuesday afternoons. Thursday is crafts (which I missed this week) and Friday is crocheting. That's my week.

My latest crochet project. A lady asked me to make three mice under a mushroom. The mice are about an inch and a half tall, and the mushroom is about three inches tall.

Jim will keep up with the blog while I recover from my surgery next week. He'll also do a facebook post to let everyone know how I'm doing. Thanks for all the good luck comments. It seems everyone I meet lately has had knee replacement surgery. They've all been very encouraging.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Movie Day - Knee Surgery - Visitors

(Avon Park, FL) Hi  74  Lo 63 - It was a cool couple days to start out the New Year, but but cool weather never lasts long here in Florida. We started off the new year by going to see the movie Star Wars, The Force Awakens. We went with our friends Harry and Jessica, who arrived at the site next door to us on New Years Eve day. We all loved it. It was a great throwback to the original three Star Wars movies (not the "prequels" that were done in the 90's), and it was fun to see the original stars playing their characters at an older age.

We attended 36 movies in 2015. (Yep, we keep lists on just about everything.) We enjoy going to movies. It's good entertainment, and very inexpensive because we go to matinees.

I had a girls day out with my sister Doris, her friend Jody, and Jessica. We went to downtown Sebring and ate at a little restaurant, McLane's Garden Cafe. They had really good food and we'll go back again. We all had something different. The food tasted as good as it looked.

Doris, Jessica, Jody and Dee

We walked around the circle of downtown Sebring and found a boutique with something very interesting, wine clutches. It's got an insulated foil type insert to keep a bottle of wine cool, and a pocket on the outside with it's own corkscrew, for $25. All different kinds of colors and patterns.

Jessica liked this one.

Jim's aunt and uncle stopped by on Thursday on their way from their home in Maryland to Ft. Lauderdale to visit their son. We try to see them once a year or so. We only had time for a nice lunch at the Jacaranda Hotel and a short visit before they had to leave in time to get to their son's place before dark. But it was so great to see them, even for a short time.

Adele and Dick

It's been a busy week. I'm still working on an afghan for a friend, but I did take time to make this little bulldozer for my daughter in law to give to one of her daycare kids for his birthday.

I also made another little owl.

I've been having trouble with my left knee for a long time. A cortisone shot last year helped but it's now at the point where I'm in constant pain. I'm now scheduled for knee replacement surgery on January 18. I'm not looking forward to it, but it has to be done. We'll keep you updated on this.

See you in about a week.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Review of 2015 - RV Friends Get Together - Happy New Year 2016

(Avon Park, FL)  Hi 84 Lo 69 -- Another year has passed. I thought I'd take a few minutes and review the highlights of our travels, which were more low keyed in 2015 than in past years. We stayed in the midwest and spent more time with our sons and their families in Illinois. Jim also checked a few more major league ballparks off his list, by attending games in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Detroit.

We enjoyed the Dog races in St. Petersburg, FL (we even won a few races). We saw a Beatles tribute show at Universal Studios Orlando, and a bluegrass festival in North Carolina. A place we really enjoyed was the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN. We're big auto racing fans, so we had a ball at the World of Outlaws "King's Royal" Sprint Car races at Eldora Speedway in Rosslyn, OH. While in Pittsburgh, PA we happened to hear about the Pittsburgh Banjo Club and got to attend one of their practices at a local Elk's Club. It was a wonderful evening of great music.

Another "find" was the Early TV Museum near Columbus, OH. We enjoyed seeing all the old TV's, especially since my dad was a TV repairman. They even had some working color TVs from the 50's and 60's, which really brought back memories. One of our favorite Christmas movies is A Christmas Story, and we got to see Ralphie's place at the Christmas Story House in Cleveland. We wrapped up our summer fun in Nashville, TN, where we attended a show at the Grand Ole Opry, and walked around the beautiful lobbies of the huge Gaylord Opryland Hotel. That place has to be seen to be believed! Also in Nashville we stood in the rain for two hours for the chance to see Donald Trump at one of his campaign rallies. I don't know if he'll be our next president or not, but he sure knows how to put on a show. His one hour speech was very entertaining.

We had a good time, but by the end of the summer we were ready to get back to Florida, which we consider our home state. A new year is starting and it's going to be a big life change for us as we prepare to settle down in a permanent home. We'll continue our weekly blog posts at least until we move into our new home next spring, then we'll post only when we do something interesting or otherwise have something to say. We've done the blog a long time, we can't just give it up completely, We have a button on the right side of this page if you'd like email notifications of new posts. I'll always also post on my facebook page when we have a new blog post.

Yesterday (Wednesday) we had a get together at our place. Jill and Paul, some old NC friends of ours who are staying at a park about 10 miles from us, drove down. Also Terri, Mike, Joe, and Donna drove up from the Ft. Myers area. We had fun socializing under our awning, then went for a tasty lunch at the Jacaranda Hotel in Avon Park. The Jacaranda is a 1920's hotel that has been completely renovated to look as it did in the 1920's. We love to take our guests there for some "white tablecloth" dining. It's fun to dine in such a formal environment while in our shorts and t-shirts. :)   Their Christmas decorations are beautiful!

As if we weren't stuffed enough from the all-you-can-eat buffet, we went to Maxwell's Grove for some of their excellent orange ice cream. We also stocked up on some of their fresh squeezed orange juice. We enjoyed the wonderful weather sitting in rockers on their front porch eating our ice cream. Ah, good ice cream and good friends... it doesn't get any better!

In the front yard of the grove is a large tree with some unique squirrels stands. They're little chairs with a corn cob for the squirrels to munch on. We saw one sitting and eating. He was so cute! (click on the photo to enlarge it.)

We came back to our place for some more socializing. We had a lot of laughter and great stories about life on the road. Finally we had to say goodbye with hugs all around. Thanks everyone for coming.

Mike, Joe, Jim, Jill, Donna, Terri and Paul.

We ended 2015 by joining Jill and Paul at the movies to see Joy.

It was a funny and uplifting story of the lady who invented the Miracle Mop back in the 90's. Very entertaining, inspiring, and highly recommended.

Jill and Paul

My latest crocheted critters.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our wonderful readers! May your 2016 be fruitful and blessed.

See you next week.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas! - Family Time

(Avon Park, FL)  Hi 85 Lo 76
We had a great time with family this week. Jim's mom Alberta, sister Sharon and her boyfriend, Jimmie came for a few days to visit from North Carolina. On Monday, Jim drove his mom to south Florida to spend a day with her close friend Karel in Margate. Margate is near Ft. Lauderdale, where Jim grew up back in the 1960's. The trip was almost three hours each way, so it was an all day event. They had a great time, and while they were gone me, Sharon and Jimmie went out to lunch at Red Lobster and visited our favorite orange grove for some fresh fruit and some orange ice cream. Since the last time we were they've started selling wine, so we also enjoyed some wine tasting.

We had a cook out while they were here, which made for a crowded RV.

Jimmie, Jim, Alberta, Sharon

They left to head back north on Tuesday. It was a wonderful visit; thanks for coming guys!

During a recent visit to Walmart we saw the Grinch. I hope he wasn't there to steal Christmas.

I've been working on an afghan, I take frequent breaks to work on my critters. Here's my latest, an owl and a few snowman ornaments. The ornaments are easy and fast to make, and I sell them as fast as I make them.


Today (Friday) we went to Okeechobee to spend Christmas day with my sister Doris and her hubby Herm. She cooked a wonderful dinner of turkey and all the trimmings, and had two other couples from the park joined us. We had a great time.

Jim, Pat, Phyllis, Herm, Jim, Judy, Doris

Our plates were full at the beginning, and we were full at the end. :)

After dinner we relaxed for a bit, then we took my little drone out to a nearby field to try it out. It was a little breezy and hard to control, but we had a great time running after it after it came crashing down. :)  There's been a lot of news recently about having to register drones, but mine is small enough that it doesn't require registration.

I'd like to update on the eye situation. I'm keeping the new lenses from cataract surgery with the left eye as closeup and the right eye for distance. The left eye isn't real clear because the astigmatism is back so I need glasses to help out. I also can't see to read so reading glasses are needed. The solution is trifocals.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. See you next week.

Monday, December 21, 2015

We've Made a Big Decision!

(Avon Park, FL) Hi 82  Lo 61 -- There comes a time for everyone on the road to make the decision to hang up the keys and settle down into a permanent home. That time has come for us. We've been to all 48 states during our six years of full timing, and we KNOW Florida is the state we want to live in permanently. There's no single reason that caused us to make the decision to end our full time travels, but an accumulation of many things tells us it's time. It all came to a head this past summer while visiting my nephew in Indiana. We mentioned we plan to eventually settle down in Florida. He said his in-laws plan to sell their place in Auburndale, Florida after this winter, and the more he described the place the more interested we got. We made plans right then to see the place when we arrived back in Florida in for our winter stay. The owners weren't down from the north yet when we got to Florida at the end of October, but their daughter showed us the place.and we immediately fell in love with it. Fast forward to this past weekend. Jim's mom, sister Sharon, and Sharon's boyfriend Jimmy came down from North Carolina for a visit. Jimmy has been in construction all his life, and he used to be a house inspector at one time. Jim and I took them to see the place, and we got to meet the owners. Jimmy gave the house a quick inspection and determined everything was in fine shape. In fact, he joked to the owner that if we didn't buy the place, he would. :) The house is a 1,500 sq ft double wide with an added screened in porch. It's in a 55-plus community and is right on a beautiful lake. Here's a few photos:

This side of the house faces Lake Juliana.

This side is on the street.

The view of Lake Juliana from our yard.

This is the wet bar with places for wine bottles and a sink, even enough room for a small wine cooler.

We've always wanted a place on the water, so we're very excited! The park it's in is called Lake Juliana Landing in Auburndale, just south of I-4 and about an hour north of us. It's right between Lakeland and Winter Haven, and Tampa and Orlando are both only 45 minutes away. The park has many amenities, with activities year round. (Here at our current park, Adelaide Shores, everything shuts down from May to November.)

We'll continue with the blog until we transition into our home, which will be around the end of March. (I'm planning on having knee replacement surgery prior to that and I want to get it done here in Sebring before we make the move.) Once we get moved in we plan to sell our RV and truck. If you're interested, or know anyone who's interested in a 2010 Carriage Cameo 36FWS (full wall slide) and 2007 GMC Sierra Classic 3500 diesel dually, let us know by email (our email addresses are at the right of this page).

We'll get back to our normal blog this Friday. See you then.