Knee blog: Friday the 13th

In less than half an hour, Fri. the 13th will be over.  It's been a suitably weird day.  I took my pain meds last night at 10:45 and fell asleep while watching a DVRed episode of "NYC 22." Turned off the TV to sleep, and then about 1 am Gordy came in from a long night of rehearsals and wanted to shoot the breeze. Fell back asleep about 2. Next thing I knew, Heidi jumped on my bed just as the insanely loud clock-radio-CD player Bobby had set as an alarm woke me up....at 6:45. Ruh-roh:  I wasn't in a lot of pain (except for a bizarre shooting burning pain along my OTHER thigh, which happens if I sort of get pinned into my blanket while sleeping by Happy, the 16-lb. superkitten), but 8 hours between doses this early in the game is asking for it. So I took my Norco and fell back asleep...and didn't wake up till 11 am.  Took my regular morning meds & vites, had coffee and made breakfast: my first BLT in over a month. Trouble was, Matthew was watching eagerly, salivating and eyes widening as the bouquet of the bacon (gourmet foodie brand, no less) bloomed in the microwave. My heart ached as I realized I couldn't give him any. Normally, I'd make 4 slices and overstuff the sandwich, feeding him little bits of bacon that fell out of the sandwich. (Any kitty that doesn't like bacon is a pygmy Hasid disguised in a cat suit). He stood there, eyes pleading, tilting his head this way and that, forepaw held bent in the air just like the ceramic Japanese bobtail cat statues advertising sake at sushi bars. I told him it was breaking my heart to break his heart, but I didn't dare risk breaking his little kidneys any more than they are already. I felt like an axe-murderess. But it was a great sandwich. At noon I took my Norco.

Braved my first trip upstairs to use my balance-beam scale.  The morning of surgery I was 225, empty stomach, in my unde....TMI.   The day I left the hospital and checked into rehab (3 days later) I had so much edema that I weighed in at 234 (in shorts & tee, having eaten very little in the hospital). Last Thurs., upon leaving rehab, wearing shorts & tee, after 2 meals, I was back down to 225. Today? 216.5. My goal is to get down below 200 before the cruise Sep. 13.  Exercise and stopping coumadin (7/19, with it out of my system 7/23)--which means more green leafy veggies so I can cut back on carbs--will help. 

At 2 the PT called to ask if he could come over early, since it was starting to storm and he didn't want to get caught in it.  I quickly washed, dressed and followed his earlier advice to precede our session with a few minutes of moist heat to limber up the knee. It worked--we were able to get 114 degrees of flexion! Iced and tried to nap but had to go online to order groceries instead. Had some Greek yogurt/honey/granola (which I seem to like better now than ice cream or pudding). Took my Norco promptly at 5. Caught up on e-mails and did some online research, and then made myself dinner: the Copper River sockeye filet that had just about defrosted, one stalk of broccolini (more than that would've been too much vitamin K) and some multigrain country bread with French butter.  Marinated the salmon in a soy sauce/agave nectar/sesame oil/ginger mixture, nuked the broccolini, preheated the flattop and sprinkled it with a few drops of rice bran oil (which is low in vit. K, neutral in flavor and aroma and can take high heat). Put the fish on, enjoying the sizzle.  (The sounds and smells of cooking are almost as satisfying as the tastes and textures of eating).  Had the same steak knife out I'd used to pierce the seal of a vitamin bottle, so I rinsed it off and used it as a butter knife.

To my horror, I felt an ever-so-slight nick. I panicked and looked--at first, I didn't see blood, but I immediately tore off a piece of paper towel and applied direct pressure till I could find the bottle of alcohol gel sanitizer. Lifted the paper towel, on which there was a tiny blood spot, and squirted a dollop of alcohol gel on the nick. As I'd dreaded, the nick began to bleed again--and no amount (seemingly) of direct pressure could make it stop. It's not like I was dripping blood, but I am SOOO paranoid now about infection (which would require removal of the knee replacement) that in my mind it was tantamount to an accidental needle stick in an ER. (I know this is a little irrational, as whenever the nurses in the hospital did a finger-stick for blood sugar and the visiting nurse did one for my INR/pro-time all I'd get was a little alco-wipe). But I made Gordy bring me a band-aid and Bacitracin ointment.  I could swear I felt my finger pulsing beneath the bandage, which is silly, as I don't seem to have oozed through it.  Soldiered on and finished making dinner--damn, that was one PERFECT piece of salmon!

It was 10 pm, so I took my Norco and night meds, and realized why I was bleeding: yesterday was my last blood draw: 2.8 INR and 30.6 sec. pro-time, so my 3/4/3/4 Coumadin dose was cut back to 1mg last night and 3 each night through 7/19.  So I know the Coumadin is working. Only hope the alcohol-gel and Bacitracin are too.  

Anyway, my research indicated that alternating numbness/burning on my lateral left thigh is "meralgia paresthetica.", caused by nerve compression. In most cases, it's due to sudden weight gain (nope, not here) or too-tight clothes (again, floppy yoga pants). In mine, it was most likely caused by bearing more weight on my left leg than on my right. My body isn't used to having both legs the same length and both hips the same height--I'd had lousy gait for so long that transitioning to proper gait is gonna hurt for awhile.  After elevating my right leg for about an hour, I sat down to the computer again--and I felt a familiar pain down the front of my right shin. For the first time since a few months before surgery, the neural pathways along the scar were reawakening--and the muscles over the lower (remaining) hardware in my tibia were twitching. "Bad muscles!" I scolded (and made a mental note to make sure I wasn't skimping on my potassium--must eat more fruit). OK for now.

Other big news is that the Granville Red Line station reopened today.  Good thing (assuming I can soon walk that far and take the CTA instead of cabs), since the Thorndale station always creeps me out (there's been increased crime there lately). Still gonna sleep downstairs tonight--strict rules are no more than one staircase round trip till instructed otherwise. Want to be able I can answer the door quickly enough, which I can't if descending stairs one at a time with a cane. I hope I'm resting enough--if I lie down, feet elevated, as much as the websites are saying I should, I feel like a sleepy slug.

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