Sometimes… Strange Things Show Up in the Mail

When one hits a certain age, strange things start showing up in the mail.  Apparently, I’m not just going deaf but my eyesight seems to be failing too.

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

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I’ve Graduated

Yes they set me free from Outpatient Physical Therapy. No more forced marches, no more time on the rack. Kelly, my therapist, who initially said that I’d hate her but then love her was right. She forced me to get my new knee to a -3 extension but just making me do it. Not minding if I whined or groaned. I’m still shooting for 0 but that’s on me now. She handed me a sheaf of papers full of exercises that I now must do on my own to get that knee to straighten out. And I have to learn not to listen to my whining.

This one below works with gravity. You just hang there as long as you can stand it. Looks easy? Try it, gravity can be your friend or not. Ankle weights optional. knee-stretch She told me to get a strap to tie around my foot so I can pull my leg back and work on the other half of what your knee should be able to do, that is, bend. Can’t you just hear me groaning? and cursing? and swearing?using-strap-for-knee-rehab All I need is a willow switch and I’ll be ready to join a secret society of fitness monks.

Medieval Marginalia. Probably depicting 14th century physical therapy for knee extension and bend.

Medieval Marginalia. Probably depicting 14th century physical therapy for knee extension and bend.

All joking aside, this is really all good stuff. Bending my knee before the replacement, I was lucky if I could get it 45 degrees before extreme pain from bone spurs brought me, literally to my knees. On graduation day I got it to 123 degrees, 125 with a strap, woo-hoo!

So, where do I go from here? Lots of home work and a membership in a health facility. Mostly because it is winter and too cold and probably too slippery for me right now to do much walking. But also they have bikes and ellipticals and weight machines. Cause this baby is going to get straight. After all there are only 94 days till Spring!

I Had a Little Adventure

Hello there. I’ve been off having a bit of an adventure. Well if you can call knee replacement surgery an adventure. But after numerous cortisone shots, repair of torn meniscus six years ago, more injections ( this time some stuff made from cock’s combs that helped lubricate all those bone-on-bone moments ) and finally bone spurs that did me in, I had to have the whole darn thing replaced. It was the last resort.

Here’s my leg, the afternoon of September 20th, almost two weeks ago.

About three hours after surgery

About three hours after surgery

I was propped up on a machine I called the sled (I guess it looked like a one-legged toboggan to me) which was slowly pumping my leg , moving it up and down. My feet had little pumps on them, keeping the blood movin’ and the big blue thing is an ice pack. The tube on the far end is attached to an ice chest on the floor. Icy water is flowing through that tube and into that honeycomb pattern. It is very effective. I have spared you all of the wrapping and ace bandages and staples and ripe red plum bruising and I promise you won’t see any further down the line.

I am home now with my crutch, my walker and my exercise plan. But three nights in the hospital and eight nights at a rehab facility have certainly provided the fuel for a few more posts. Food, definitely, will be at the top of the list.

So as I continue to heal, stay tuned for reports from the field. A few from my fun time away and a few from my homecoming. Hey, If you can’t complain and laugh about a situation you don’t have any business going into it in the first place. See you soon.

And the Scores are In!

And to Jeanne, competing in the Total Laproscopic Hysterectomy with a Bilateral Salpingo-oophoectomy:

We have a winner!

We have a winner!

Thank you, thank you all. This is a great achievement but I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of family, friends, doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, patient navigators and chocolate.

But I hear you saying, “Ones? She’s excited about ones?”

Damn right, I am!

After my “Coming Out Party”, I met with my local pathologist. Well, parts of me did. I can’t help it, when I think of pathology,  Monster Mash starts playing in my brain, ” I was working in the lab late one night, when my eyes beheld an eerie sight…” I wonder if they ever play that on the hospital lab muzac during Halloween?

Anyway, I digress…..things were sliced, diced, microscopes were employed and I got this print out at my follow-up meeting with the doc.

resultsIf you’ve had cancer, known someone with cancer, or have watched ER or Grey’s Anatomy or Doogie Howser: MD, you know that in the C world, the lower the number the better. A Stage 1 is what you want and mine even got an A. Stage 1 is the early stage, the opening act, the first bad note, an amateur!  Get the hook!!

HookSo what now? More rest, more healing. Can’t drive till next week!!! And don’t make me cry, but major housework is still on the off-limits list. Doing jigsaw puzzles, knitting, reading and online games are the current activities I am competing in these days and I am striving for all 10’s in those.

My “Coming Out” Party

There were gifts, bag

party hats, hat

games, puzzeles

door prizes and parting gifts.mug

Well wishers in abundance. Everything a girl might want but geez, why am I so sore on the morning after? I know I did a lot of drinking, that’s about all I did…and there were drugs involved so there’s a clue.

But mostly it is because I have four new entrances in my tummy from having a date with a robot. And I am missing some major lady parts, (that I really have no use for anymore), and the cancer that decided to move in with them. Yes, you heard that right, cancer, the big C, or in this case maybe a little c. As cancers go, this one is a mopey, slow-growing under-achiever. As my doc said (to lighten the mood, no doubt), “If they put a gun to your head and said, pick a cancer, go with endometrial.”

However, cancer is still cancer. Slow-growing or not, it still grows and is greedy, and if you let it, will remodel your whole house to its liking. So it was eviction time and fortunately we got to it before it started picking out curtains. From the first red flag on Sept 15, it was a quick journey to the day of the party on Oct 15. The main man, the gynecological oncologist said I was slender, thus a good candidate for a laparoscopic procedure, that would be a three-way with me, the doc and Mr. Robot. All I heard was “slender” and I was in. Whatever, do it, fine. Slender? Really? Me? Oh you jest.

After that, things are a bit of a blur. The worst part was the two weeks up to the surgery. Your head does nasty things to you while you wait. Even with all of the assurances of a successful outcome, you still worry about possible party crashers.

But I am home now. All went well. The little c had only just moved in and hadn’t even started unpacking his bags yet. Yes, I’m sore, I’m moving slow and will move slow for a bit and who doesn’t want to be told NOT to do housework, not to lift, push or pull stuff for a while? Also if my homecoming dinner is any indication, my Sweetie, being a great cook, will undoubtedly spoil me.

Bean & beef Tostadas

Bean & beef Tostadas

Final note: Cancer is not a joke and I only make light because that’s my coping tool. Mine was caught early. If you see a sign of any kind…a lump, blood, whatever…don’t think it is nothing. Sure it might be but if it isn’t, seeing a doctor in the early stages will make a big difference. It did for me.

Got a boo boo?

When I was a kid and I got a scraped knee or a minor cut, out came the mercurochrome. Part of the application included blowing on the wound, to cool off the burn once the mercurochrome was dabbed on. Oucheewawa!

NOTE TO JEANNE:::::  Mercurochrome didn’t sting nearly as much as Iodine!!!!!  that was a real ouchee!!!!!   Love, Curt

Bactine was another item in the medicine cabinet used mainly for sunburn and minor scrapes that didn’t bleed a lot. There was Vicks VapoRub that went on my chest when I had a congested cold and finally a shot of whiskey in some hot tea was the soothing drink I was given when the cramps from my period sent me into the fetal position. (it put me to sleep, the best medicine of all).

But when we had a burn, out came Gramma’s Salve. Well it probably really was Uncle Henry’s Salve. He was Gram’s brother and when my Mom’s Dad died (Grampa), she and her brother and Gram moved into his house. This was their magic cure-all but nobody ever knew what was in it. This past Christmas my Mother (she’s 88) brought over the jar she still has to show my son. Brownish in color, in a Wyler’s Beef Bullion jar, with a hand written label that said,

” SALVE – USE SPARINGLY. COVER WITH A BAND-AID” 

It looked nasty. We opened and took a whiff. Sort of medicinal, sort of industrial greasy, sort of animal fatty but not rancid, sort of what?????  Hard to identify.

Gramma's Salve

Gramma’s Salve

My Mother said when the salve got low Uncle Henry would go down to the butcher shop to get it refilled. That might explain the animal fat smell, maybe. But whatever the butcher added is lost in the past. This jar she brought at Christmas must have been over fifty years old because Uncle Henry is long gone and my Mom is no spring chicken. But she swears by it, says it has taken the sting out of burns and healed them quickly. Cuts and scrapes too. I do remember, far in the back of my brain, situations where I was the recipient of its healing powers but I am not able to give you any details.

After the holidays Curt went off on one of his junking days. That’s where he and his friend Carol, spend the day hitting up flea markets and antique stores. He came home with this.

Dream Salve

Dream Salve

The printed can said:

WONDERFUL DREAM SALVE. Hannah D. McDonald
Prepared only by
Wonderful Dream Salve Co.
Detroit, Mich. U.S.A.

Price 30 Cts.
An effective remedy if used as directed
The Great Healer
FOR MAN or BEAST

For Burns, Scalds, Cuts, Bruises, Fever Sores, Chronic Sores, Chilblains, Felons, Ivy Poison, Bites, Scald Head Barber’s Itch, Etc,

Directions: – Always spread the salve on oiled silk or wax paper and apply.  Cleanse the sore and renew every 12 hours – See special directions on circular for various uses.

Wow! Chilblains and felons (those little tears at the edge of your fingernail) and that pesky scald head barber’s itch! And we can only guess at the ‘various uses’ since the circular was no longer in the box. We opened it up and there were tiny traces of something brown, it smelled medicinal, industrial greasy, animal fatty, maybe. Interesting.

So my questions are, did Hannah know the butcher, did they go into business together, or did she seduce him and then run off to Detroit with the miracle formula for salve? Was Uncle Henry really visiting the butcher or was he going to Hannah’s house? Was Uncle Henry and Hannah an item? We will never know but we still have the salve. Lucky us.