Finally. A bright, sunny day. The weather in HPNC has been so dreary of late that I was beginning to feel a tad depressed. And you know me...I'm NEVER depressed. Too much to do...too many places to go...too many people to see...too many books to read...too many sweaters to knit...too many roses to smell...too many veggies to harvest...too much new stuff to learn. No time to yield to depressing thoughts. Mind you, if I'd had any desire to give way to The Black Dog (as a great-uncle used to call it), the past few weeks might have offered an opportunity. But, just like Annie sang "The sun'll come out...tomorrow...!" And it has...today!
A bit of a recap is probably in order:
I told you about my wrist surgery (DeQuervain's release) in my last post, so I guess an update is overdue. Recovery progressed right on schedule, and here I am 8 weeks later, feeling fine and glad I had it done. Once the stitches were out, healing truly seemed to speed up...and now I rarely remember that I even had surgery a couple of months ago. The scar-tissued skin covering the 1"-long incision is still a bit tender ("perfectly normal and to be expected, as those nerves were severed and must regenerate" quoth the surgeon), so my Mickey Mouse watch continues to be absent from duty and I continue to roll up the sleeve on my left arm a bit to keep anything from touching that spot. I try to remember not to drape my purse or a shopping bag over that wrist. The real test? Knitting again. Tried a little bit after my Dr. gave the go-ahead at my appointment last week; will add a little more time each week until I'm back in the groove. Best news? Dr. W says that once this repair is done and I'm completely recovered, I should NEVER have this problem again. (At least not in the same hand...;-)
In my last couple of posts, I mentioned that Mr. T was getting ready for knee replacement surgery. He checked in on October 7, had a partial knee replacement, stayed overnight at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, was up and walking down the hall with a walker, and came home the next afternoon. Wowzers! And he hasn't looked back. Here's a picture taken just after he got in his room from recovery...along with a "picture" of his new knee. Remarkable!
Long-time readers of our Christmas newsletter (also called The Adsit Adventure) may recall that he had a total knee replacement (TKR) of his right knee in 2005, when we lived in Missouri. So he was somewhat prepared for this one. Only...not exactly. Things have certainly changed in 10 years! For one thing, his relationship with this surgeon was completely different...and much more rewarding this time around. Dr. P called Mr. T at home, after hours, not once but twice in the same evening...just to make sure T understood the procedure and was comfortable with what was going to happen. And "what was going to happen" was completely different, as the surgery was "done" by a robot! Read more about the Mako surgery here: http://www.makosurgical.com/makoplasty/knee. (There's even a link to a YouTube video. Oh, and his scar? Much longer than illustrated. Every bit as long as the one for the TKR.)
Because T had his surgery in a teaching hospital (NC Baptist is associated with Wake Forest University's Bowman Grey School of Medicine) and he was given a nerve block as the main method of anesthesia, he had agreed to participate in research being done on adding additional pain-blocking meds. It was a blind study, so we had no way of knowing what amount, if any, of which "extra med" he received. Well, we didn't know until nearly 40+ hours after the surgery when the feeling FINALLY began to return to his shin/calf. Pretty much a certainty he received the mondo dose of the max concoction.
Sounds great, right? One tiny problem: T had to be checked for "pain response" by sticking him with a sharp object (think: safety pin!) every two hours. So, every couple of hours throughout the night, like clockwork, "Justin" (the unlucky assistant who drew the short straw) would appear at T's bedside to stick him with a sharp point and ask "can you feel that?" Yep...long night for all involved. By 4:00 a.m. I was ready to suggest that T just tell J that he could feel it, so we could all get a few precious hours of sleep before breakfast. (Who am I kidding? I had to get up anyway to dash home and feed the dogs, as I'd done the evening before. I had just enough time for a quick shower, a cup of instant, and another mad dash to get back in T's room when the Dr. came on his early morning rounds. Made it with a whole couple of minutes to spare!)
We were home less than 24 hours before heading back to W-S for T's first physical therapy session. These folks waste no time, do they? And, that about sums up our last few weeks: "Heading to W-S for physical therapy session." They must be working because T ditched the walker after 2 days. He does use a walking stick for his two-mile walks in/around our neighborhood, but more for stability than anything. He can climb the one flight of stairs to his office, although he's doing that much less often than I'd feared. He continues to progress on schedule as confirmed when he was seen by the physician assistant a couple of times, getting his staples removed on 11/9. Since he still needs meds to manage the pain, especially after PT, he can't drive yet, so that keeps him on the DL for now. Fingers crossed for the OK to return to work (and driving!) at his next PA appointment 11/19. We shall see...
When we had a few warm, sunny days at the tail end of October, I decided to get back in the garden...it had been too long! I was thrilled with the late harvest I found!
Since I love to get a third season out of our soil, I decided to plant some lettuce, spinach, turnip greens, and collards in the raised beds. First, of course, I had to clean the jungle-like growth from a couple of the boxes...the result of having been unable to garden for such a good part of mid-to-late summer, going into fall. It all seemed to go well, until...
The following morning I realized I must have aggravated my left foot and caused a flare of the sesamoiditis. Great, just great. Nothing to do but wait it out. So, for the next 10 days I rested, elevated, and iced my aching foot...and indulged in the pain meds the Dr. had prescribed when I had the stress fracture in the sesamoid bone earlier this year...which he had warned often leads to chronic sesamoiditis. (Read more about sesamoid stress fracture becoming chronic here: http://www.foothealthfacts.org/footankleinfo/Sesamoid_Injuries.htm)
Only, I couldn't "indulge myself" on T's PT days, now could I...one of us had to drive, for pity's sake.
Weren't we a pair? Both of us, kicked back in our matching red recliners, T with an ice pack on his left knee...me with an ice pack on my left foot. And neither of us with a wineglass in hand because of pain medication! I even ordered us walking canes from the medical equipment store...but I drew the line at matching canes! (Mine has butterflies on it...;-)
And that about sums up the last couple of months for us: surgery, recovery, and rehab. Rinse and repeat!
We have tried to use our time together wisely, viewing this as a window into retirement, albeit a much less active one than we envision. Let me just say that many cups of coffee have been consumed! I checked several books on retirement out of the library and even succeeded in getting T to open one: "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free," by Ernie J. Zelinski.
We've had numerous "what if..." discussions about: possible dates "to pull the retirement trigger" (we have narrowed it down to 4 possible dates that occur from late 2016 through late 2017); healthcare coverage after we no longer have employer-provided options (since "caring for our health" is a current theme!); and reviewing the 401k balance, allocation, and investments (since the recent market volatility has had everyone on edge). We went to the HP Senior Center to preview a Tai Chi class and had the same initial reaction: liked Tai Chi...felt out-of-pocket at the Sr Ctr. "That's where Nana went!" (Never mind that we are now both in our 60's and certainly qualify to attend. Ahem.)
While we know this pre-retirement respite is just a taste of the real thing, we do agree on something: we are looking forward to the opportunity to enjoy "the real thing!" The question now is, I wonder if we can return to our previous programming without feeling a ounce of regret that we will have to "unretire" for possibly as long as two more years?
Or will we begin to feel like we are marking time? Again, we shall see...