I was surprised that I haven't posted since the middle of 2016. But, a friend of ours mentioned to Dave that he missed reading about the garden and my view of travels around the United States and various parts of the world. So, I dug out the 2017 calendar and thought I'd give an overview of what happened in 2017.
While January winter was a mild and pleasant one, the first part of the year was a very demanding one physically on me. In the fall of 2016, Dave and I traveled around the Northern Mediterranean, and Dave noticed that while I started the trip with lots of big smiles, as the trip progress, (an my knee pain progressed), my smiles faded and eventually you could see I was just tolerating the trip. On the flight home, I told Dave, "It's time for my knee surgery". After several visits to a couple of orthopedic surgeons, January 10th, 2017 was scheduled for my left knee to be replaced, (it was the worse, with no cartilage left and much arthritis).
We went to the doctor's office, and in just 2 days, the knee was getting worse. The doctor took one look and asked, "When was the last time you ate?" He then left the room for about 15 minutes, and when he returned, he proposed 2 options - stay on antibiotics and hope for the best, or open up and knee and get a good look at what's going on. After discussion, it was decided to undergo surgery again. So, that day, (Feb 2nd), I was admitted at 11:00 for surgery again. 2 nights in the hospital and home again. Tuesday morning P/T started bright and early. The doctor said he cleaned out the knee and put a strong antibiotic in the knee. This meant, again learning how to walk and use the knee again. But, my brain had finally learned the first time to trust the new knee. So, I was determined to meet my range of motion again, (this time it was set lower to 120, but by end of month I reached 130). The second time wasn't as much of a set back as the first, other than relying on people to get me back and forth to P/T. Dave went back to work after a week at home with me. By February 27th, once again, my therapist said, "I think another week, and we can release you".
But, by Thursday, March 2nd, my knee was hot, red, and swollen. My visiting teacher was over at my house and I mentioned to her about my knee, and she looked at it and said, "That's definitely an infection. Call you doctor!" That evening when Dave got home, I told him about my knee, and he immediately called the doctor. Of course they were closed. At 7 AM, the next morning, he called again, and told the answering service about the problem, and asked to be put through to the doctor, and they did. Dave explained the problem. The doctor said, get her in the office at 8 AM, but first stop by the hospital and have her blood drawn, (there was an order waiting), I want to see her results. By the time we got to the office, the doctor walked in and said, "Have you eaten this morning?" Dave and I both knew that meant a 3rd surgery. Withing 2 hours I was in the OR.
Finally by April 18th, the pic line came out and I would start going back to outpatient physical therapy again. I would only need 1 month, since I had made fairly good progress at home. My range of motion was set at 100. I was still doing my exercises everyday at home to build up my knee. On the last day, I was taken for a P/T walk outside to evaluate how I could do on grass, rocks, uneven surfaces, stairs, etc. I mentioned to my therapist that I was very depressed that I was only able to reach a range of motion of 124 degrees, I had been hoping for 130. He stopped, looked me directly in the eye, (and I will never forget his words), he said, "Barbara, that's remarkable. most people after 2 surgeries on 1 knee only reach 120. You've had 4, (counting the one to remove the wound vac). When we, (the P/T team), met with your surgeon, we told him you would only reach a range of 100 at best, and you would most likely walk with a cane the rest of your life. And look at you. You haven't used a cane for the last 3 weeks. You are remarkable. But, please use a cane for a couple months when you are outside, just for safety.
Some people after hearing my story have said, "I'm not getting my knees replaced". And I tell them, don't let my story be the reason you don't do it. I am just the 1 in 1,000 that got an infection. My surgeon said he had done thousands of replacements, and I was the first to ever get an infection. He was so apologetic, and felt so bad about what happened. I was officially released by the surgeon and all doctors on May 17th. But I must say, the one person who really helped me through it all, and was there for me was Dave.
I did manage to get just a few plants in the garden during those last 2 weeks of June. I knew that my new knee wouldn't allow me to kneel and I would have to bend at the waist to do most of the work. But, Dave tilled the boxes, I bought 6 tomato plants, some carrot seeds, green beans, squash seeds and called it good for the year. We did have a pretty good yield. Things came on very quickly, (due to the hot temperatures and the daily watering). I told Dave, "Maybe I've been doing things all wrong, getting my garden in early in the Spring. It seems to really like a late planting better."
We also attended a couple of Broadway Across America plays. Dave really loves those.
Overall, I felt like I lost the first 6 months of 2017 due to so many surgeries, various doctor appointments, physical therapy appointments, nurse visits, and so forth. The cruise was just the thing that Dave and I needed to get away from everything that had happened at home. And, we didn't mind the 28 days on a ship. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, that we've talked about doing more of these long duration cruises.
Well, that ties up the first half of 2017. I'll post July to December in the next post.
Hope this wasn't too boring, or too much information.
Hearty Minestrone Soup
1 week ago