Knee Blog: staying a step ahead

My decision yesterday to wean my Norco down from 1-1/2 #2s every 5 hours to a single #2 plus a single 500-mg. Tylenol on the same schedule was not a success.  It was sort of a smackdown by my pain, which sought to remind me that if I wasn't its proactive boss it would usurp the role.  Bob suggested that for the sake of my kidneys I should take the Tylenol only every 6 hours, certainly complicating my meds schedule and giving me one more reason to keep an eye on the clock. I began with the 7 pm dose (forgoing the Tylenol till bedtime), because I knew I'd be out and about (partly), walking the aisles at Target for an hour during the day. I was sore but not really hurting. Last night at midnight,  I took a Norco #2 and a rapid-release Tylenol.  I said my prayers and pulled the blankets to my chin (my A/C set at a pleasantly chilly 71).  I spent the night downstairs again--all my pillows and my blanket are down here, I need one hand free to hold the rail and the other my cane, so bringing them upstairs was out of the question, and Bob had been smoking out on the deck. (Yeah, I know--physician, heal thyself).  I knew if my bedding smelled like cigarette smoke I'd never fall asleep.

At barely 4 am, after having turned onto my right side, I awoke--knee throbbing, back aching, right hand twingeing (I think I slightly sprained it using it to brace myself as I correctly positioned my leg on the pillows to elevate it above my heart). I was shocked--most nights if I had to awaken (mostly for a bathroom break or if a cat unexpectedly decided to use me as a launch pad) it was usually after 5 or 6 (or even 7) hours since the last dose. Here it was barely 4 hours--and the Tylenol did no good at all (might the extra acetaminophen have even diluted the hydrocodone?). I realized that pride and machisma (if such an oxymoronic word exists) had let the pain get ahead of me.  I hadn't noticed during the day, because my morning Celebrex had taken some of the edge off the pain all day. (The 'scrip will run out just about the time I can start taking Aleve again). So a little past 4, I took a Norco and went back to sleep. I awoke at 9, but decided not to let my blood levels of Norco drop low enough for the pain to break through, so I took another and slept like a rock till nearly 11am. I took my morning meds (including the Celebrex) then.  I decided to split the difference: my next Norco was at 1:30 and the next one will be at 6pm. Maybe 4-1/2 hrs is the magic number. Maybe "every 4-6 hours as needed" means exactly that.  

After the agony I was in (despite the regional nerve blocks) the first few days post-op, the pain I'm in seems more like an annoyance.  I like having no pain at all, but I detest feeling sleepy and needing to nap. Most importantly, I need to be as pain-free as possible at the start of a PT session, because I know that my quads, hamstrings, groin and calves will be pushed to near exhaustion (the better to build the muscles and stretch the connectors) and getting that extra degree of flexion each session will not come without a fight.  If that means downing a cuppa joe before showering and getting into my workout clothes to counteract the fog, so be it.  Meanwhile, I can focus well enough to blog and answer e-mails, but complex drafting, editing and bylaw/regulation interpretation tasks fall victim to the fog.  Never mind trying to write songs.

Made my first scratch dish since coming home: bucatini all'amatriciana.  It almost came together, but for the fact that the tomatoes were underripe, I couldn't locate my red pepper flakes (dontcha hate it when someone messes up your nice anal retentive spice cabinet?) and I underestimated how long it would take the pasta to reach perfect al dente.  Package times LIE.  2 minutes past the "done" time it was the kind of "al dente" that sends dentists' kids to expensive colleges. Only a generous ladleful of cooking water and 2 minutes nuke time out of the skillet brought it all together to the right texture--by that time I'd been on my feet nearly 3/4 hr. and my knee let me know it. 

Matthew is alternately puking and begging for treats.  His vet appointment is tomorrow, thank goodness. He continues to break my heart by pleading for tastes of people-food, and it takes all the strength I have to refuse to give in while hoping he still knows how loved he is.

And I got another disappointment: I must continue to sleep downstairs for the time being:  I went up to lay out clothes for the morning and to my chagrin, saw that the bed is WAY lower than I remember it having been. (The daybed down here is the same height as my hospital bed). So I have to hope that Back to Bed still has those riser blocks in stock and can send someone here to install them.  And until Dr. W. or his P.A. says it's okay, I have to sleep in the opposite direction (pillow at foot of my bed, Bob smelling my feet) because the left leg has to be the outside one. Grrrr! Maybe Bob'll turn around too--but how'll we get to the phones (both sides), pager (his side) and alarm clock & remote (my side) in time? Turning the nightstands around would make it impossible for me to get into bed. We could switch sides, but then we'd have to switch nightstand stuff too.....and the location of the jacks & outlets makes that impossible. (Not to mention that, as did his father before him and does our son after, he hates change and might inadvertently out of force of habit get into the wrong side of the bed & fall asleep before I get there).   Logistics are a bitch.

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