He googled "L5 fusion recovery" and found a site/BBS with posts from people with his same surgey and with recoveries that lasted weeks or months and who suffered from pain that he doesn't have.
He now reminds himself how much worse it could be.
Still, it will be a long, slow recovery.
It has been ungodly hot and humid here.
88˚ in the house.
Those of you who live where hot and humid summers are the norm and are thinking "Wimp!", imagine that you had 4 - 6 weeks in the winter where the warmest it got was -10˚F.
That is a rough equivalent of what this summer has been for us Northern types.
Happily, the bedroom is air-conditioned.
Sadly, the drain holes on the window air conditioner were plugged.
I have used a handheld wet vac on the floor next to Smokey's bed twice.
Unplugged the drain holes yesterday.
Set up two fans to dry out the carpet.
Keeping fingers crossed.
A miracle occurred sometime while I was sleeping last night.
When I came out of the bedroom this morning, the house was comfortable.
A mere 80˚.
I opened the window in the bedroom and pulled back the curtains.
Smokey said the sunlight and fresh air were a boost to his spirits.
He generally prefers our bedroom to be more of a cave -- dark and cool.
Even dark and cool can get boring.
Bald eagle just flew over the yard.
Life could be a lot worse.
Blogger note: I wrote this yesterday afternoon but just as I tried to preview and publish it, my mouse stopped working. For the umpteenth -- well, third -- time in as many days. Did you know that without a mouse you cannot do ANYTHING? I tried to publish it from my iPad, but hitting "Publish" there did nothing. (Why not, Typepad? When are you going to put out a mobile blogging app, huh?) My googling for solutions came to naught. Then I mentioned my problem in a comment on Erika's blog, and BINGO! she sent me a link to a troubleshooting page, from whence I fixed the problem! Her google-fu is clearly superior to mine. Thanks again, Erika!)
Found here. The site says this is a bus in Mexico City, but the writing on the bus is either Korean or Japanese according to the comments. Nevertheless, it is an awesome yarn bomb.
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Smokey update: he continues to improve. Occasional slight nausea, cured by small peanut butter sandwich. Pain level on slow decline. The searing leg pain, from which he has suffered increasingly over the past few years, is totally GONE! That was the main goal of the surgery; there was a pinched nerve in his lower spine that was causing it. Surgeon put a 10mm spacer between the two vertebrae that were touching and screwed it in place.
I brought Smokey home from the hospital today. He has a different painkiller and an anti-nausea drug, and they seem to be working. But we had a bucket and a towel in the car just in case...
The dogs were ecstatic to see him again. Right now he and both of them and probably both cats are all snuggled up in the bed sleeping. He has his laptop next to him with an internet phone; he can call our house line when he needs me. (I suggested that I give him a bucket of rocks, and he could throw them one by one at the bedroom door when he wanted me. For some reason he thought the phone was a better idea. Go figger.)
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I would like to say a few words in appreciation of the VA hospital. I was there three times for a total of maybe six hours at most. I met three nurses, a chaplain, and a few behind-a-desk types, plus saw a lot of patients, all of them men. Although I didn't put it all together until I was walking to Smokey's room today to get him, the totality of the place is excellent. There is no arrogance, no prissy professionalism, no fake smiles, no gushiness, no flashiness -- just genuine caring and basic good manners. Underlying it all I felt a foundation of love.
Contrast that with a typical hospital, particularly one with a bottom-line-focused administrator. (I feel I know whereof I speak, having been hospitalized [counts on fingers and toes] eight or nine times in my long life in seven different hospitals, none of them for-profit institutions.) Other hospitals, in fits of consultant-induced fervor, survey their patients incessantly to Get Feedback. Their staff are cheery beyond belief. Everyone is so professional, i.e., impersonal, that the patient is just another body.
The contrast was particularly striking among the non-medical staff -- the cashier, the clerk in the pharmacy, the person in the family help office, even the guy behind the counter in the cafeteria. Everyone took the time to look me/us in the eye and actually listen to whatever we said. Nobody's eyes were glued to their computer screen or their paperwork during an interaction.
Smokey was pleased that I picked up on this. "Now you can understand why I prefer to go to the VA than [our local medical facility]." He also said that there is a deep feeling at the VA of gratitude and appreciation for what the veterans have given. (It also doesn't hurt that there does not seem to be a single *special little snowflake* among the patients.)
This was the Minneapolis VA hospital, but it also holds true for the satellite clinics he has been to here in n.w. Wisconsin. We cannot speak for other VA facilities around the country, but I suspect there are similarities.
Thank you, Veterans Administration hospital of Minneapolis.
When I got to the hospital to pick up Smokey yesterday, he was sitting in a wheelchair and puking his guts out. Morphine and oxycodone make him mega-nauseous in spite of the anti-nauseous drug the nurse had given him earlier. His pain level was still high, and he got nauseous all over again any time he moved.
So he stayed in the hospital for another night. Whew. I cannot imagine trying to drive him home (90 minute drive) with him throwing up every few minutes.
We will try again later today.
Funny story: after I finished talking to him yesterday morning I tried to call a colleague to cancel a meeting later that day; I knew I wouldn't be back in time. But my desk phone wouldn't work. I quickly figured out that Smokey hadn't hit the "End" button on his cell at the end of the call -- like I said yesterday, he was really groggy when I talked to him. I used another phone line to call the nurses' station and ask the station secretary to go end the call for me. She and I both thought the whole thing was pretty funny.
...and now I will have a chance to wash his bedding. Misha The Dog (whom I have not blogged about much) threw up on his bed Tuesday night. The universe sure keeps my life interesting.
Smokey just called. He thinks* he will be released from the hospital today so I am getting ready to drive down and get him. Two days post-op? Now, that is FAST.
* However, he was pretty groggy. I had to call the nursing station afterwards and have someone go hang up his cell phone -- apparently he forgot to hit the END button. Sure hope he had the discharge idea right...
Smokey had his back surgery yesterday morning. I dropped him off at the hospital at 6:15am. He went immediately to the surgical unit, was anesthetized at 7:30, work up in the recovery room at 2:30, and was asleep in his hospital room when I arrived at 3:00.
Did I hang around the hospital all that time, knitting, biting my fingernails between rounds, and waiting for the surgeon to come talk to me?
No, I did not. I drove directly to our rental house in south Minneapolis with the intention of taking a nap (having gone to sleep at 12:30am and gotten up at the ungodly hour of 3:45 for the drive to Minneapolis). But as I pulled up in front of the house I remembered that our new renter -- a true handyman and DIY-type (he built his own cabin in n.e. Wisconsin) -- had, per our request, replaced the lockset on the front door... and I didn't have a key yet.
So I hit up the neighborhood Starbucks for cappacino and yogurt and wi fi, ran some errands as soon as the stores were open, and attempted to attend a required in-office class at work. Which I discovered had been canceled as of 8:04 that morning.
Back to the hospital to check on Smokey (still in surgery, although all I knew was that he wasn't on the unit* yet) and lunch in their cafeteria. Check again at the nursing station on the unit. Find out he is in the recovery room (whew, now I know for sure he didn't expire on the operating table, always a possibility albeit a remote one). Check in at the surgery waiting area (pictured above), knit, and wait to be told he is in his room.
Eventually I checked back at his room and found him dozing. We chatted a bit, him dozing off between sentences. I arranged the bedside table to his satisfaction and plugged in his cell phone within easy reach. Texted both sons to tell them the surgery had gone off without a hitch.**
Ate dinner at Chipotle and stopped at Target for nail polish*** on the way home. Was greeted enthusiastically by two canines who had been cooped up in the house for 15-1/2 hours but who had not done anything bad as far as I could tell.
Glass of wine and read until midnight (Turn Here, Sweet Corn by Atina Diffley, thanks for asking).
So. How was your Monday?
* Unit = what used to be called a ward.
** Elder Son, aka Dr. Jensen, had called me three times during the day to find out how things were going. Such is the burden of too much knowledge of what can go wrong. Younger Son was much more laid back about the whole thing.
*** We have reached high humidity season, the only time my nails get longer than .000001mm. I now look forward to this time of year and celebrate it with colorful nails****.
I picked up the HerringboneCowl again. Close scrutiny of it revealed several things that displeased me. (Scissors are included as a pointer, also as something with hard edges for my camera to focus on.)
First, there was this. Believe me, it is much more obvious in real life.
Then there was this little mess:
But mostly there was this:
The first half dozen rows (bottom) look fine, which tells me that the pattern instructions contain the secret to making a seamless transition from K2tog in one round to K2togtbl in the next and vice versa. Apparently after that first half dozen rows I decided that I knew what I had to do and no longer looked at the directions.
If I were making this for myself I might let it go, since I generally subscribe to the galloping horse theory of knitting. But it is for Alex, and I just cannot give such a substandard piece of knitting to a loved one.
Frog pond, here I come*!
* But I am only going to frog back to the good part. I may have perfectionist tendencies but I ain't stupid.
Actually, I have a perfectly good camera that takes very nice photos. The problem that I just discovered is that it suddenly refuses to communicate with my computer. WTF? Sometimes when I connect them -- the same as I have been connecting them for a couple years -- the computer recognizes the camera and the fact that it has 52 (52!) photos on the memory card. Other times, like now, it simply ignores the camera's existence.
Well, I figured that one out. It seems that one port on my newish 7-port USB hub was bad. Such are the risks of buying cheap electronics from Hong Kong on eBay.
Now that I have photos I can catch you up on what's been happening in The Land Of The Kat™
This was the Tuesday of World-Wide Knit In Public Day, which as we all know lasted for a week this year. Dinner was consumed at a nifty little outdoor cafe across the street from the LYS (owner, who organized this get-together, at far right) and knitting happened.
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This is what can happen when a small city (pop. 2,133) has a volunteer fire department many of whose members work at jobs 20+ miles away.
This had been a gorgeous and well-kept Victorian house. Happily, none of the family were home at the time.
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The annual Fisherman's Party happened in my little hamlet. The library Friends organized its annual book sale, an event eagerly anticipated by the frugal readers of the village.
We initially had seven banquet tables and two double-sided library carts of books for sale, plus many more boxfuls under the tables.
By the end of the sale all the boxes were empty, we could give the carts back to the librarian, and the remaining books fit on two or three tables. When you sell hardcovers and videos for a buck, DVDs for three bucks, and paperbacks and all kids' books for 25¢, they fly out the door. Plus, for the last two hours we said, Buy a bag for a buck! and they flew out the door even faster.
Our village queen is a reader, yay!
Main Street was the setting for a tractor show (Saturday)...
...and a classic car show (Sunday).
Re: those last two photos. It is humbling when the hot cars of one's youth become classics, even as their admirers become merely old.
There was the annual Medallion Hunt. The librarian was tapped to hide the medallion and write the clues, which were posted one each hour until the medallion was found (please ignore the dreadful reflection in the window).
Ice cream in the park...
...and the Boy Scouts sold cotton candy.
Hard to tell who was having more fun, the kids eating the cotton candy or the Scout making it.
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There you have it, the past few weeks. This week the weather is unbearably hot, 100 degrees or so, and today Smokey and I forewent the annual boat parade and pot luck picnic on our lake for the shelter of our air-conditioned bedroom. A couple days ago the electricity went off for 55 minutes and I whined non-stop until it came back on. Those of you in the Washington, DC area have my sympathies. You have it much worse.
One of these days I'll catch you up on my knitting. Please curb your enthusiasm.
Wisconsin may have gone back to the 1950s, but Texas Republicans want to take us back to the Dark Ages.
"Texas Republicans also believe 'controversial theories' such evolution and climate change — which aren’tcontroversial at all — 'should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced.' There’s more: the GOP also opposes the teaching of 'critical thinking skills' because they 'focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.' ”
My sympathies to anyone female, of color, of non-traditional sexual preference, intelligent, curious, or who engages in critical thinking in Texas. (Yes, I know that sentence makes a hash of parallel construction, but at least I spelled parallel right.)