Do better, be better

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I really intended on documenting my recovery on here, but well that didn’t happen obviously. That doesn’t mean I’m recovered by any means, it just means things got complicated and emotionally I couldn’t deal. So short rundown on what’s happened.

My bf and mother got into a huge fight about 10 days post op surgery. She needled him to the point of breaking, he’s a jackass who thinks everyone is racist. Big blow up, she refused to stay and help if HE was going to be there, so he packed his bag and walked out. She still refused to stay and left anyway, so I called him to come back so therefor I “chose him over her” and she would not be back to help unless I break up with him and kick him out. He came back and helped, offered to move out so she’d come back. It sounds like I’m defending him a little bit but I’m not because he’s a big giant asshole who won’t back down. She refuses to ever come to my house if he’s here and everything is just weird between not only me and her but me and the entire rest of my family because she of course told everyone.

2 months post op, he and I got into a huge fight the night before his birthday, over what? Who knows now. But that night I noticed my calf on my surgery leg was swollen and it really hadn’t been before. Middle of the fight I mention I think I may have a blood clot based on the size of my leg. My bf told me if I went to the emergency room it would break us and to not expect him to be there when I got home. So, I didn’t go. Instead I laid in bed with my leg elevated worrying about having a stroke in the night and never waking up. Finally about 3am, I said screw it and went to the Emergency Room. Sure enough, blood clot, in a weird vein and at a weird time, by two months out I shouldn’t have really been at risk for it anymore. So, on blood thinners and as a woman of child bearing age, let me tell you, it’s not fun in any way shape or form. If you know what I mean.

Prior to me having my blood clot, like 3 days prior  I think, I had my 2 month follow up at my surgeon’s office with his PA. My biggest concerns: 1. I’m still having to use a cane to walk because I have this weird limp where I hike my non-surgery leg up into the air every time I take a step with it and 2. my non surgery leg hurts like the dickens and I wanted to see if they’d do a cortisone shot in it to help ease that until I’m fully recovered from surgery. It’s always been kinda known that eventually it’d need replaced but I was hoping to put it off because I really thought it was the better of the two legs. Well guess, what? It’s not. After the X-ray I discovered not only is the kneecap on that leg totally subluxed outside of the groove JUST like the frickin other one but the joint itself is collapsing on itself. So the PA came back, said “your legs are shit, you ready to do this one too?” and poof I’m in the process of basically trying to get it done too before the end of the year since I’ve paid all my out of pocket maxes and this would save me about 10K. But now the blood clot may have put the kabosh on that and I won’t know until the day before thanksgiving. I basically have to go get ultrasounded again and if it’s not worse or if it’s gone, they’ll switch my blood thinner before surgery to a shorter acting one and do surgery. At least that’s what I THINK they said, because honestly anymore I’m not sure what’s in my head anymore and what’s not.

But I am still going through the steps like I am having surgery so this week I went and got my pre-op physical, MRSA test and blood work done. I still have to do a pregnancy test but that has to be right right before surgery but at least THIS time I know it’s a blood test and not the pee in a cup kind and I won’t show up all bursting at the seams this time.

Work… seems ok with it. They said they’d make it work. I feel horribly guilty asking so much of them, especially after all my boss has given me this year already. But he said to do what I got to do and he’ll try to make it work. Last time I came back to work 3.5 weeks after surgery. I was driving 2.5 weeks after surgery. But this time it’s my right leg and I’m not sure when I’ll be able to drive, and with it being winter getting around is SO much harder because of the ice and snow despite me having a handicapped permit sometimes I just can find a close spot so I have to shuffle slide across work’s horrifically maintained parking lot (not my bosses fault, we don’t own the building) and pray to god I don’t fall. I literally have so many “don’t fall down” aids it’s ridiculous. Spiked shoes, spiked cane, I sometimes even carry ice melt with me. Like a crazy lady, sprinkling shit out of her pocket onto the ground. But we have been REALLY lucky this year, we’ve had snow once, and ice for about a week, but two days ago it warmed up and most the snow is gone and it’s not gotten cold enough to freeze again so no ice for the past two days. Now that’s supposed to change and I still really  don’t know what I’m going to do for the rest of the winter because I’m so terrified of falling that it’s insane.

I miss Kane like hell. I fight with depression and suicidal thoughts more now that he’s gone and everything has happened the way it’s happened. I don’t feel as obligated to stay anymore now that he’s gone. Everyone/everything else can take care of themselves, except Stormie, who honestly has turned into a doll and would be fine if I were gone. Don’t worry, I’m not in quite that dark of a place but considering how every relationship in my life has deteriorated it’s been thought about more and more. I needed to be around because no one could or would care for him, but he’s safe now, and I’m no longer needed in the way I once was.

I feel broken. I feel unfixable.

 

Still kicking

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There used to be a saying, something about not kicking someone who’s down. It seems like that’s not relevant anymore, or at least no one abides by it.

I am 7 weeks post op on surgery #2. I’m still struggling with the left leg feeling weak and wobbly. The right has felt stable since day one. The left not much pain, the right way more and still painful. The left, range of motion came back quickly, the right much slower and I’ve had to work a lot more to get and keep it. It’s winter now so I still use my walker because I’m terrified of slipping and falling on the ice and snow. I just recently started using a cane indoors again. Things have been slow, I’ve been scared. I try to talk to people about that, people I’d think would support me. I think that was a mistake.

the kicking when down is relevant here. My surgeons office called me yesterday, I’d been in last Wednesday and expressed a few concerns but was assured everything was fine. My X-ray looked wonky but again was told it was fine. Anyway so they call yesterday and say the surgeon wants to see me Monday. I questioned if it was maybe a mistake as I was just there. So I’m confused and a bit concerned maybe something is wrong. I asked that they verify I need to come in. They called back today and said yes, they want to see me, but still can’t answer as to why. So now I’m left to worry for like 5 days. Anyways I tell my mom this and she informs me it’s because I whine and cry at every dr and or appointment I go to and they’re probably concerned about my mental state. So I pretty much apologized for even bothering her and gave up on that conversation. Yes, I have voiced concerns about my knee still feeling weak since it’s the knee done it August, yes I’ve been scared and told people that, yes I’ve had moments of panic and cried. But to have someone just flat out tell me I’m all but crazy. I’ve about had enough. My relationship with her has been tumultuous at best and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it anymore.

1 week post op

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feeling a little less regretful on my decision to have total knee replacement at 41. I truly enjoy physical therapy. I would go everyday if I could afford to. My physical therapist has a way of pushing me without me feeling like she’s being overly aggressive. They have the policy of no physically pushing my knee or forcing movement that isn’t there. She will help by putting her hand against the bottom of my foot while doing heel slides so I don’t lose ground, or supporting my foot while I do leg raises.

I am working on walking correctly, balance and learning to trust my new knee. I’ve had a few meltdowns because I was certain my new knee had subluxed or dislocated like my old one used it. But so far it hasn’t and it likely won’t. So mentally I have to learn to trust it and learn to put more weight on it because I’m not doing my other knee any favors.

First PT appointment I had 0 extension, 82 flexion. Second appointment I had -1 extension, 97 flexion. So seems like pretty good progress. But I still can’t sit comfortably in a chair with my knee bent.

I still have to wear my brace but in a way it makes me feel safer. I do worry about it becoming a crutch for me (haha). Same thing with the walker, I much prefer it but I am starting to use my cane more to get around. I get a bit panicky if there’s nothing else to hold onto just in case. I only use my can when wearing my brace. I am sometimes using my walker without my brace. I hope that eventually I will be off everything but I think it’ll be a bit before that happens and it might be longer than most people.

My sleep is ok but I despise only being able to sleep on my back. I haven’t figured out how to comfortably lay on either side though I’d really love to. Pain has been pretty tolerable, I take 2 different anti-inflammatory medications but I have an opioid pain killer as well. So far I’ve only ever had to take 1/2 of those at a time and the most I’ve taken in a day is one pill. So either my pain tolerance is pretty high or I hate how opioids make me feel so much that it’s worth a little more pain. 1/2 a pill doesn’t seem to have any of the nasty side effects that an entire pill does for me. So win/win.

My first post-op appointment is next Thursday, I assume they will take out the staples and if I have enough quad control at that point he may discontinue the brace. Kind of excited about the staples being out. Though I’ve seen worse injuries on myself for some reason the staples freak me out.

The worst thing about all this: the dynamics between my mom and my bf. My mom keeps making comments about my bf’s marijuana usage (it’s 100% legal here). She also is like me and never sits down so she’s always cleaning stuff, doing laundry, cooking. He’s more uhhh lazy?!?! And does nothing in turn. But she never gives him a chance too. I 100% need her help so I’m trying not to rock the boat but the tension sometimes is horrible. My mom’s talking about going back home after next week which scares me a bit because right now I’m still not doing any of the day to day tasks I would normally be. I have been working a few hours from home everyday which will hopefully help keep me from being bored and keep me from getting too far behind. My boss has been awesome and is basically fronting me vacation time I don’t have for this.

But overall I feel ok. I have my moments of why did I do this and I cry sometimes because I feel helpless. But I’m starting to feel a little more hopeful that I may be normal someday.

4 days post-op

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So I had a total knee replacement Thursday morning. Everything went well according to both the surgeon and his assistant. I woke up 2 hours later in a bit of pain but they took care of that right away. I also had some nausea which I totally expected because I always get it from anesthesia. Spent a long time in recovery because apparently there wasn’t a room for me. While waiting for a room I decided I felt well enough to try some food. Ate a little bit and got moved to a transitional unit rather than the ortho unit. Which turned out to be fine because I got my own “room” which wasn’t really a room but a curtained off area. But whatever it worked. A few hours after getting to my room Physical Therapy showed up, got me up and walking. I walked to the bathroom 4-5 times that night with my walker. After a mostly sleepless night I had a visit from OT who softened off on sending me home then another two visits from PT who made me walk the length of a football field, with a walker of course, and do a flight of stairs. So like less than 36 hours post surgery I was headed home. Getting into my mom’s truck proved a bit of a challenge because I’m required to wear an immobilizer brace for two weeks. But made it home nonetheless.

A few things: I’m concerned because I have an immobilizer brace and no one else I know had had one.

I suck at sleeping on my back but they so much emphasized “don’t twist” your knee that I’m afraid to try any other position resulting in me being tired and my sciatica is acting up so my ass hurts something fierce.

So far I’ve only taken my anti-inflamatories, none of my pain pills yet. But my pain ball rain out today so I make no promises.

I feel like I’m having to relearn how to walk. Also I’m so used to not trusting my knee to stay in that I had a meltdown this afternoon because my leg “popped” and of course I associated that with my kneecap subluxing. So I freaked out and assumed it was broken and now I have no knee. I have physically therapy tomorrow so I’ll ask then

i totally expected to be walking unaided by now but between the brace and my trust issue I’m not and I’m not sure it’s even close to happening. Just because of my history it may take a good long while to actually trust

but I’m doing ok and my pain has been fairly minimal so I’m thankful for that. I’m looking forward to staples not burning being able to bend my knee and being able to walk like a human again

Missing my angel

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Last Tuesday we made the decision to let Kane go. He was my baby for 12 and a half years. I fought like hell to keep him alive most of his life. Then one day, it just hit me… He wasn’t having fun anymore. He wasn’t able to walk around the house even, he was having accidents which upset him. He wasn’t able to stand to eat, Monday he wasn’t able to stand to drink. He panted almost constantly, he coughed more and more, he got up and down a lot like he couldn’t get comfortable. I didn’t really plan on doing it Tuesday, I thought I’d have more time but there one thing that was super important to me:

He NEVER have to go back to the vet again, so we’d do it at home. He’d be surrounded by us, and know he was loved.

I’d called a mobile vet back in November when he was first diagnosed with a lung tumor and we decided not to operate. So I called her again. She said she was booked and leaving town, no way she could do it. I was super upset because I didn’t know of anyone else that comes out and I really didn’t want him to have to go back to the vet. A few minutes later she texted me and said she’d had a cancellation and could do it at 1:30 that day.

I wasn’t prepared for that, but I told her yes. I immediately bailed out from work, I didn’t care. I wanted to spend the last few hours with him. He was thrilled I was home, we fed him cookies and goodies. He napped and slowly followed me around. The vet showed up and our other dog freaked out, she barked at her, I kind of wonder if she knew what was up. But I’m probably just projecting.

We let Kane go, I don’t know if it was the right choice, if it was too soon, or if I was being selfish. I do know I hurt. I hurt in a way that’s indescribable. I’m lost, I’ve lost my shadow, my companion, my heart. But I know he’s not in pain anymore and any amount of pain for me is ok, because it means I loved him that much.

I like to imagine he’s with my dad now, able to run free and eat whatever he wants. I like to imagine he’ll be there when my time comes as well, waiting for me.

Total Knee Replacement at 41

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So after meeting with the surgeon yesterday and updating my pain levels. He immediately went to you need total knee replacement mode. Which makes me happy because it gives me an answer. We did discuss a Fulkerson’s procedure a little bit but I already have arthritis and because my kneecap is so far out he’s not sure he could get it to hold. He also said it’d just be buying me a few years before I’d need a total knee replacement anyways. Yes, I’m young, but I have serious deformities to my knee(s) and serious damage caused from that as well.

So now is my time to freak out. I have SO many questions. Apparently there’s a boot camp (ironic name right?) that he’d like me to attend.

I’m waiting on the surgery scheduler to call me and pick a date, it sounds like it could happen pretty quickly which is scary. I’m also a bit lost on getting my insurance in order etc. as I’ve never had insurance when needing surgery and I’m not entirely sure how all that works. I am glad that I previously found out they’ll only cover one hospital in town and none of the surgery centers, so at least I know that. The down side — it’s the hospital my dad died at. So some mixed feelings about that. I had my MRI there a few weeks ago, walking into the hospital alone is weird, brings back a lot feelings that I thought I’d mostly processed. So being stuck in there for 2-3 days… I’ll live but I’m weird about it. Probably being overdramatic.

Now it’s a matter of getting everything in order before surgery, and hoping my old boy doesn’t decide now is the time because he’s not been doing great lately. I toy with letting him go before surgery…. I don’t know how he’s going to fare without me. That sort of seems unfair, but I don’t know if he’ll survive and I’d rather do it while I’m home than have it happen while I’m in the hospital. So there’s that too.

I got very little sleep last night, my knee hurts, I had dreams about surgery and bank accounts and other weird things. So I’m living on coffee today. All I want is to curl up back in bed and pretend my life is perfect.

Nothing much to report

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Nothing much to report really, I go back to the surgeon on Wednesday. I had an “OK” weekend mood wise. I am in considerably more pain, and with the pain the feeling of instability is increasing too. I attempted a walk down to the mailbox without my walker (but with my bf in tow, just in case). I made it there but my knee was really wonky on the way back. It was achy and there was some shooting pain on the inside of where I’d imagine a normal person’s kneecap would be. I can’t hurry so I just had to tough it out and slowly make my way back. I tried several things this weekend to see if this is all just in my head or what, because I feel like I’m being treated like it is. I’m not just scared to walk, there is something wrong with my knee and now, day 7 without Aleve, it’s actually quite painful at times. I guess that’s maybe a good thing.

Mood wise I don’t feel quite so depressed, I feel more angry now. I’m angry that all my life I’ve been put off, that I’ve been blamed for my knee problems, told it was my weight and if I’d simply just lose weight it’d be better. Then to find out over 30 years later that there’s actually a pretty severe deformity in my knee… I’m having a hard time with that. I know it is not the current surgeon’s fault, but I feel like he has similarly put me off. Though being 100lbs lighter, I’m not sure I can really blame it on my weight, but I am still overweight, so maybe it is. But if not, what is it about me that makes people think not important? I guess that’s what’s really been messing with my mind lately.

Dealing with some insurance woes as the physical therapy clinic didn’t pre-authorize my sessions despite me telling them they needed to and them assuring me they had. So now I may be on the hook for about $600 in physical therapy. So this is something I am going to have to watch very carefully in the future. And when I called the doctors office (PT is an extension of the same place), I was told I have an outstanding bill, to which I responded I had mailed a check earlier in the week so they should have it shortly if they didn’t already. But then was told I had not paid “any of my co-pays.” I informed them not only had I paid my co-pay prior to every single appointment, but they had double billed me twice for them. Upon a closer look into my account they see where I have but for some reason whoever is applying my payments isn’t applying them correctly. Also not a super great confidence building experience. I have a friend who works at this facility, in billing none the less, and another friend asked why I hadn’t talked to her about it. I simply responded because she seems annoyed when I ask her about things, especially when I’m having issues with them. And that’s the truth, the last time I asked something of her I got the response of “well what do you want me to do?” So I no longer ask for help, nor do I really blame her, I am hurt by the response, but maybe I ask too much of people.

My older boy isn’t doing really well, I’m scared I’m going to lose him soon. He doesn’t seem to want to eat without coaxing, he’s coughing more. I just pray if that’s what’s happening if happens before I get surgery or after I’m home if I end up having surgery. We’ve already kind of made arrangements for it to happen at home, it’s just such a difficult thing to “plan”, so that’s our plan for right now. It’s like when one thing happens 5 other bad things happen too, though his decline isn’t completely unexpected. We’ve had him around a lot longer than I expected. I really didn’t think after they told me he had a lung tumor in October that he’d make it through the holidays. But here we are 9 months later. I do sometimes wonder if I’m doing the wrong thing, but everyone says I’ll know when it’s time. I just pray I do.