Bee’s Knees

bees-knees

 

No, I don’t think bees have knees but I do – and one of them was hurting a lot.  Mine started, I think, the day after DH’s heart attack – January 28, 2013.

Fast forward to January 2016.

I fell in the bathroom in the middle of the night and hit my left knee on the tub. I used a brace for a few days and it seemed better.

Around January 27-28, I was in Walmart and had to get a produce bag that was way over my head.  I had to stand on tiptoe…and my knee felt like something ripped.  Thankfully, I had a cart available to use as a temporary crutch.

Got home, used the brace, took Tylenol but the pain got worse.

Thursday, I drove home from choir at church.  My car is a manual so the act of using the clutch, extending my foot that way, made everything worse again.

Friday, we went to the Limp-In Clinic in Greenbriar.   That doctor was going to prescribe Cortef or NSAIDs but I couldn’t take either due to my history of Cushing’s (Cortef) and kidney cancer (NSAIDs).  He prescribed Vicodin and sent me for an x-ray.

January 31, I got very itchy, presumably from Vicodin so I stopped that and started taking Benadryl for the itchiness.

February 2, I went back to the clinic for the results of x-rays and  I mentioned the itchiness.  Since I have very limited meds available to me, he recommended an Orthopedist.  I called him when I got home and he didn’t take my insurance.  I tried another doctor who supposedly took my insurance but they didn’t.

February 7, I really needed the sleep so I took half a Vicodin.  No pain and no itching.  HOORAY!

LCL-tearFebruary 8, I saw my regular doctor.   She thinks it’s a possible “lateral collateral ligament vs meniscus tear”.  https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001079.htm

I was surprised that she thought my knee was swollen but one of my therapists showed me later that it was.

She referred me to Physical Therapy (PT) and prescribed Ultram http://www.drugs.com/ultram.html.  As of this writing, I haven’t used that yet.

February 11, 8:30 am  My first appointment with PT.  Since my blood pressure was high, we mostly did assessments.  I had a main therapist and a student. They had to use 3 types of BP machine to do this.

I bent my knee and they took measurements with a caliper.  I lay on my front and they manipulated my knee to see what happened. They also concluded that it was a lateral collateral ligament.

A suggestion – to rest my foot on the walker without the brace and see if gravity helps my knee straighten out.

After this, there was more pain than before but I know this is the right thing to do.

February 13.  My leg feels a bit better.  I had the brace off last night and almost straightened my knee out.

Somewhere in this period, I learned how to manually move my knee cap (patella) around.  I saw my day 1 therapist again and he said my knee was angry.  Swollen, angry, whatever.  I just want a normal non-hurting knee!

One of the therapists had me doing a stretching exercise and my hip was out of kilter (everything is attached!) since I’ve been walking with my knee bent.  So she manipulated that back into alignment.

vastus-medFebruary 22, A new-to-me therapist had me do an exercise with a basketball under my knee, pointing my toe to the left.  I didn’t remember doing that before but she said I had.  Hmmm…

That hurt too much so we moved to a foam roll under my knee.  It was still uncomfortable but I did it, a bit too much, apparently.

Turns out this exercise hurt my “VMO”, which is short for Vastus Medialis Oblique.

“This is the most important quad muscle and arguably the most responsible muscle for knee stability. The VMO’s main function is to control knee extension…” Read more at  http://sportskneetherapy.com/the-best-vmo-exercises/

February 25,  My VMO pain still hurt.  I told my regular therapist about it and she worked on it some.  She concurred that my knee was swollen.

February 26,  I went all day with no brace at all!!  A bit of pain but manageable.

Today is February 28 and I haven’t worn the brace since the 27th. I still need assistance to get up from sitting but I can see huge improvement.

I still have 6 more PT sessions, finishing on March 16, but I’m really impressed with what they’ve done for me.  I still have twinges of pain and I don’t plan on stepping on tiptoe anytime soon but I can tell I’m on the right track.

If there are any significant changes (I sure hope not!), I’ll post an update.  When I’m done – and have approval – I intend to keep exercising, walking, climbing stairs, riding the bike.  I never, ever want to go through this kind of pain again.

I’ve learned a lot from PT – lots of new exercises, stretching, how to move manually my knee cap, all kinds of muscle names, that the lateral collateral ligament is attached to my ankle, that ice is better than heat for this kind of thing.

 

no-pain

 

 

 

 

 

Monday – Six Weeks Post-Op

day-mon

Another slow day.  The 3 walking events from last weekend were just too much for now.  In all three instances, they involved parking garages and it was cold.  I remember the visiting nurse saying to put a scarf over his nose to keep the air coming in a bit warmer but, of course, we didn’t have a scarf.

Someone had asked DH to meet at iHop tonight.  I weighed in and said that they should meet at Bob Evans because we knew that there was something there he could eat and we had no idea if there was anything at iHop.

The day slipped by in naps and DH never made the call.  His phone was off and he finally got the message that the person had been waiting for 30 minutes at iHop.  <sigh>

The dog got to go for a ride when we dropped DH off.

Fortunately, DH got a ride home so we didn’t have to go back out.  He said that I was right (of course!) – there wasn’t anything on the menu he could eat.  But he managed to cobble together something with fresh fruit, dry toast and herbal tea.  I thought the only fruit there was in those syrups.

day-wed

We had snow, sort of.  Big, heavy stuff that would have been good for a snowman but we weren’t going out, except for me walking the dog.

I was having a movie kind of day and heard someone out in the driveway, shoveling.  I went out to investigate and found two women from church clearing our driveway.  That was so nice 🙂  In a bit DH came out and said hello, too.

day-thurs

Thursday, I was into day 2 of an itchy cycle.  I haven’t written about that yet, so there’s something to look forward to!  As a result, I don’t do much of anything but itch and be miserable.  At night, I can take Benadryl which helps the itching and makes me sleep.

More on that later!

day-fri

Fridays, I normally play piano duets with an older friend but I hadn’t been since before Christmas.  I decided it was time to go back so I took DH along with me.  We all had a nice visit – we’ve known my friend and her husband for maybe 35 years.  She had a heart attack about 15 or so years ago so DH was able to ask lots of questions.

When we got back, it was nap time, again.  It’s still mostly do something followed by an equal length nap but it’s getting better.

day-sat

I had been awake until 4:30 am so I wasn’t in a great mood when I woke up.  DH wanted to go walking at the Mall – but first, a stop at Staples for more business cards.

I was already tired before we got to the Mall but we walked a bit.  Stopped in the Apple Store to look at iPad Minis, then turned around.  He went into Zales to get the ruby he didn’t get on the first day, the anniversary-heart-attack-day.

On the way out of the mall, he said we could go to Bob Evans for breakfast and I said no way!  Too tired.

day-sun

Back to Staples to pick up the cards from Staples, then on to walk around Wal-Mart.  DH looked longingly at no-salt peanuts.  I showed him the back with the calorie counts and pointed out the size of 1 serving and asked if he could stick to that.  He put them back.

Back home and more nap time.

He says he’s feeling better and better, has lost more weight, no more pain killers.  Hooray!

Other Stuff, Part 4: Fire Ants

WayBack Machine

 

This one is from the WayBack machine.

I’m trying to work out the year – we bought our first time share while I was being diagnosed with Cushing’s so this was some time after 1987.  We never stayed in that time share, just used it for trade.  This particular year, we’d traded for a place in Arkansas (not too exciting, but drivable from home) but they had a fire so they offered us a 3-bedroom house in Hilton Head instead.  Of course, we accepted that offer!

We located a kennel fairly nearby to leave our dog.  We were so sure she’d love the ocean just like the dogs on TV do, running and playing in the water. She was a retriever so she could swim out and fetch frisbees and such.  HA!

We packed up the dog and our stuff and made the long drive down to South Carolina.  We dropped her off at the kennel and found our home for the next week.  Absolutely beautiful, on a little lagoon, in the middle of a golf course community. Our son had the upstairs all to himself and he loved that.

Our lagoon had an alligator and one day the young boy next door was out on the porch.  We could see the alligator eyes watching him…and waiting.  Luckily, nothing happened!

We took the dog out of the kennel and onto the beach and all those years of instincts failed her.  When a wave came in, she tried to bite it – and swallowed.  She was – ahem – sick as a dog for the rest of the trip.  So much for running and playing in the waves.

When our son got out of the water, we realized that he had some sting marks on his leg.  Most likely from a jelly fish someone said.  Great!

Our house had come with bikes and we used them to ride all over the golf course and out into Hilton Head sometimes.  This evening, we were riding along the street and there was a red light.  We stopped and I put my foot down on the pavement.  Naturally, I was wearing sandals.  Naturally, I’d stepped into a fire ant nest.

The rest of the trip was awful. Burning, itching, pain.  The ant bites seemed like they were increasing in number, not getting better.

It was the end of the week, so we headed home.  I was in misery all the way.

First off, I saw my PCP who prescribed something for me.  I think it might have been an antibiotic but I can’t remember.  I woke up that night, red, itchy, broken out in hives.

About 3AM, DH took me to the ER – I was having an allergic reaction to the meds.  Great!  They pumped me full of epinephrine and I started to get better.

The next morning I was back at the PCP for another drug.  I took that for one dose and had the worst nightmares of my life.  I went back to the PCP the next day and he said that no one had reported nightmares from that drug and I told him to alert whoever – one person had had them.

And I got another drug.  This one finally worked and the ant bites and the infection that they’d caused finally started going away.

Will I ever go back to Hilton Head?  I don’t know.  I do know I won’t ride a bicycle wearing sandals at dusk.  That’s for sure!